Matt. 26:14-15 says,

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. (KJV)

We know from Zech. 11:12-13,

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (KJV)

that it was foretold this was the price of Jesus's Betrayal.

Is there any significance about the price being 30 pieces of silver?

  • 1
    Zech 11.12-13 does not mention Jesus or him being betrayed, so this is not something 'we know' was 'foretold' in Zech 11.12-13 except from a specific theological perspective. That aside, your question is unclear: are you asking about the text in Matt or the text in Zech?
    – user2910
    Mar 2, 2018 at 22:19
  • Is this a rhetorical question? You seem to be pointing out the possible connection.
    – user33515
    Mar 3, 2018 at 13:13
  • 2
    Exodus 21:32. If a slave was gored to death, 30 pieces of silver was the damages to be paid. The Jews 'bought' Jesus from Judas (Judas treacherously 'representing' the disciples and family of Jesus). It was a transaction - money for a life. And the price agreed was the worth of a slave to a master.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 3, 2018 at 14:36
  • 2
    @NigelJ Your comment is what I was considering-could you expand that into an answer?
    – Tau
    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:55
  • 3
    @MarkEdward The 'suggestion' that Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver is more than a coincidence, seeing how the Gospel of Matthew brings this out. The Potter's Field has already been discussed in previous posts-but the significance of the betrayal for 30 pieces hasn't.
    – Tau
    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:58

4 Answers 4


I would not presume to comment on much of Zechariah's profound prophecy, couched as it is in language that is mysterious and, I suspect, that has given translators problems in expressing it in English. But this much is fairly clear to any reader from Zechariah 11:12,13 in the KJV :

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver

And the Lord said "Cast it unto the potter : a goodly price that I was prised at of them".

[Young's Literal gives the same sense in reading and differs only in the use of 'Jehovah' as against 'Lord'.]

Here it is quite clear that the Lord himself is conveying to the prophet that it is he, himself - the Lord - who is being assessed or prised at a figure of thirty pieces of silver. There can be no sensible doubt about this.

And the prize, the assessment, is to be 'cast to the potter in the house of the Lord'.

These words were written about 550 years before Judas cast thirty pieces of silver down in the restored temple in Jerusalem and the Jews decided to buy the field of a potter with it, in which to bury strangers, as Matthew reports in Matthew 27:7,8.

Matthew does not mention Zechariah, instead choosing to quote Jeremiah's prophecy, made 650 years before the event, a prophecy which Jeremiah spoke (reports Matthew), but did not necessarily write. For more detail on the apparent discrepancy see such reports as "Answers".

[It is clear from the genealogy written by Matthew that he had access to Jewish documentation other than what is recorded in scripture.]

The other mention of thirty pieces of silver which stands out in scripture is the prescription made, in Exodus 21:28-32, for the decease of someone caused by the goring of an ox. Oxen in scripture are often figurative of those who labour in some kind of ministry, instances of which are too numerous to mention but the law provides, Deuteronomy 25:4, for such in that the ox is not to be muzzled when it treads out the grain and this is referenced in the New Testament, by Paul, regarding ministers, in I Timothy 5:18 :

For the scripture saith "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when it treadeth out the corn". [KJV]

If a son or a daughter is gored, then the sum of damages is negotiable, Exodus 21:31, but an absolute lower limit is set in respect of servants, which is thirty pieces of silver.

Thus we have a person pierced (gored) by ministers (oxen) and the absolute lower limit for the price of this event is thirty pieces of silver. This is the paltry sum that was offered to Judas for the betrayal of the one who went about doing good - who healed the sick, cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind and even raised the dead.

A goodly price, says the Lord, via the prophet.

Thus was the Lord prised of those who would crucify him, who would have him nailed to a tree by his hands and feet, thence to be pierced in his side such that blood and water freely poured out.

This is what Israel did to their Lord when he came to visit them.

And it is clear from the prophecies and the allusions already laid out in scripture that he was fully aware of what they would do to him before he came.

A good question to ask; I hope you are satisfied with my answer.

  • 2
    Thank for for your answer! I hadn't considered Jeremiah. The price of a gored ox.......or a crucified Savior.......Thank you!
    – Tau
    Mar 4, 2018 at 19:38
  • @Tau Glad to be of service.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 4, 2018 at 19:41


Under the law the price for a slave was thirty pieces of silver,(Exodus 21:32) so the price offered by the chief priest showed their contempt for Jesus. Likewise for Zechariah he was paid this lowly sum, suggesting that he was not worth more than the price of a slave.

According to Law given to Moses by God ( Exodus 21:32) the price for a slave was 30 shekels,so the price offered by the religious leaders indicated that they viewed Jesus of little value.

Exodus 21:32 (NIV)

" If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels[a] of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death."

As a shepherd of the people of Israel, Zechariah was paid by the religious leaders the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver , for the work done as God's representative. (verses 11- 12 below)

11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord.(NIV)

12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.(NIV)

God saw the meager amount paid to his servant Zechariah by the faithless people with contempt . The estimation was viewed as an insult by God to himself. Verse 13 reads;

13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord. (NIV)

The religious leaders in offerring 30 pieces of silver for Jesus , was in fulfillement of the prophesy in Zechariah 11:11-12 . By doing this to His representative "Jesus" they were actually treating God of little value.

Matthew 26:14-15 (NIV)

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

" Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver."

  • Thank you for your response! Could you expand this into an answer, and I will make sure it gets an upvote-Thanks!
    – Tau
    Mar 14, 2018 at 0:13

The question as to why Judas betrays has never been answered, and yet it's not difficult to see. For wheras all the disciples protested that the expensive perfume used to anoint Jesus should have been sold and the money given to the poor,only one backs up the plaint with action by going out immediately afterwards to speak with the Jewish authorities about betraying the master. Hence, there's nothing else to conclude but that he was so seriously upset about the slighting of the poor that the anointing represented, that he damned his own reputation to make his point. Judas as messiah? It's just a question of time.


eric sachs makes a good point here.

The story of the wasted jar of expensive perfumed oil is first told in Mark 14:4-5:

4 Some of those present, however, expressed their indignation to one another: “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her.

When Matthew later redacted the story he divided the price of over 300 by 12 to calculate a disciple's fair cut of the loot. That is how he arrived at a rounded sum of 30 as the reward money for Judas, probably thinking about a full month's wage. Interesting to note that Mark did not mention the amount of silver promised to Judas or even that it was paid and Matthew did not mention the full sum of the oil's worth.
The story of Judas bringing back the 30 pieces of silver and the purchase of the potters field is a clear invention by Matthew and an ingenious afterthought, Mark doesn't mention it at all but instead makes an arresting officer kill Judas at the spot of the arrest, Judas was that mysterious servant of the high priest and gets the just reward of a traitor.

47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

There never was an ear cut off, ὠτίον or ὠτάριον are diminutives of οὖς, but in Greek this word for ear is also metaphorically used to denote a spy, the diminutive form conveying disdain. So the henchman of the high priest was killing a traitor and unwelcome witness, i guess the silver never got paid at all. Mark never mentions Judas again, so it makes perfect sense.

  • "he divided the price of over 300 by 12 to calculate a disciple's fair cut of the loot. That is how he arrived at the sum of 30" — So 300 ÷ 12 = 30 ? Apr 13, 2023 at 12:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.