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Matthew 26:24

Woe unto the man by whom the son of man is betrayed it would have been better for him if he were not born.

The question is better for whom: The son of man or the one who betrayed the son of man?

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  • I added a source and tried to clarify the question. You can edit if you need to make any changes to the post
    – b a
    Aug 24, 2018 at 7:52
  • Isn't it pretty obvious? "Woe unto .. better if he wasn't born" ? Is there really ambiguity? Aug 27, 2018 at 20:31
  • After reading all the books near my hands and after thorough searching I asked the question.A bitter relationship grew up between lord Jesus and Judas who betrayed him were going on for quite some time."Jesus with a heavy heart proceeded to the mount of olives.(john). but there is no place for self-pity in the west.I am new in the gospel,I apologize and I am sorry.
    – user26375
    Sep 14, 2018 at 6:31
  • Also I thought after so many years" of teachings The replies Jesus found from disciples were not worthy.Perhaps then He Thought he the teachings were in vain.This is question and answer site.I again apologize.-User-26375
    – user26375
    Sep 14, 2018 at 6:45
  • After the same Jesus appeared,They again asked "Wilt thou at this time RESTORE the kingdom to Israel? What kingdom they were referring to,Was Jesus who Had risen from death HOLDING BACK SOMETHING?.But the story did not end here.It continued for 75 years.
    – user26375
    Sep 14, 2018 at 7:31

2 Answers 2

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While you didn't ask for this specific question I will add it free of charge (I'm being facetious). The next verse identifies who the man was -- Judas.

Matthew 26:24-25 (KJV) 24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

To answer the specific question, the answer is given in both the King James and in the original Greek text. In the KJV it is "that man" who it would have been better if he had never been born. In the original Greek it is just a little more complicated, the answer is through a series of pronouns that can't refer to Jesus.

  • First Clause has οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ (but woe unto that man). Here it is a demonstrative pronoun "that".
  • Second clause has διʼ οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται (by whom the son is handed over). Here it is a relative pronoun (whom) that goes back to the previous clause -- that man.
  • finally in the next clause there is the phrase that you are interested in -- καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνο (was good for him if that man had not been born)--this links back to the original "that man" of the first clause.

Granted, this is actually not a simple answer when one looks at the original language. It is a series of pronouns in different clauses. On a theological basis it is clear that it does not refer to Jesus because the Godhead had planned before the foundation of the earth that God would take on human flesh and God would die as the perfect sacrifice to wash away our sins.

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  • This answer covers the question well (+1), but the last paragraph does not belong (-1). In fact I would go so far as to say it discredits the rest of your interpretation to to to state that is obvious from this passage. I would recommend removing the paragraph entirely, then if curious ask another question on this site about whether these verses can be interpreted to say something definite about that, then if you want to have your interpretation on that matter vetted, self-answer the other question with your reasoning. I'd like to see that, but I think it detracts from this Q&A pair.
    – Caleb
    Aug 25, 2018 at 10:03
  • I took out the paragraph but it was related to the question as it answered why it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born. Double predestination makes this statement by Jesus to be meaningless or hyperbole as that scheme insists that Judas was created for the purpose of showing God's wrath.
    – Ken Banks
    Aug 25, 2018 at 14:15
  • If you don't allow for talking about different aspects of an issue or the hyperbole then your beef with double predestination should extend to single predestination as well — and never mind this issue with Judas, it would render most of the Bible meaningless. There is a logical inconsistency in singling out one side of a two sided coin and allowing linguistic facilities on one side but denying them on the other direction. Hence why I'm saying you should pose that as a separate question to be addressed on it's own merit without tangling this answer up in a different hermeneutical issue.
    – Caleb
    Aug 25, 2018 at 15:11
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2 Samuel 17:23 KJVS And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.

I believe, Ahithophel betrayed David and led to this Psalm being written which was a foreshadowing of Christ betrayal. Ahithophel was too ashamed to face David so he hung himself or he knew he would be put to death no clear explanation is given. He is the only other person in the word who betrayed a friend and hung himself.

Psalm 41:9 KJVS Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Acts 1:15-16,20 KJVS And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) [16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. [20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

According to Peter Judas fulfilled this scripture where the psalmist states let there be none to extend mercy to him let him be condemned when he is judged.

Psalm 109:6-16 KJVS Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. [7] When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. [8] Let his days be few; and let another take his office. [9] Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. [10] Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. [11] Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. [12] Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. [13] Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. [14] Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord ; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. [15] Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. [16] Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.

And here we see it fulfilled. So to answer the question Jesus was speaking about Judas not himself... who would want to be this guy! It would be better not to be born!!!

Matthew 27:3-5 KJVS Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, [4] Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that . [5] And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

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  • For whom it would have been better if he were not born/had not been born? whatever little understanding I have this is a part of his preaching,not accusation.it would have been better for lord Jesus and for general mankind including his disciples.Betrayal,what seems to be betrayal and the conspiracy was not imagination.Judas betrayed Jesus for perpetual threat against them knowing what was in store for them. old conspiracy ,the birth of Jesus announced by Gabriel , everyone believed.Jesus agreed, conspiracy started Jesus,studied books in Jewish church to receive the promised Gift of god..
    – user26375
    Oct 23, 2019 at 14:27

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