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I am confused about the verses in Matthew 27 :9-10 :

⁹Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel. ¹⁰And they gave them unto the potter's field, as the Lord appointed to me.

I researched and found that the prophesy is close to that in Zachariah 11:13 . But shouldn't it be exactly the same . And moreover why is it not in Jeremiah because Matthew quotes Jeremiah

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This question is another of the "old chestnuts" that has been observed by many commentators for many years, even as far back as Augustine.

The solutions to this problem fall into several categories:

  • A transcriber mistook Zecharias for Jeremiah [This is possible as described below; there is some evidence for this, see UBS5, but it is weak]
  • The original text has no name of the prophet [there is some evidence for this, see UBS5, but it is weak]
  • Matthew's memory was faulty and listed Jeremiah instead of Zechariah. (I personally do not subscribe to this theory if we understand that the Scriptures are inspired)
  • "Jeremiah" stood for the portion or section of the Jewish OT which contained Zechariah [possible but at a "stretch"]

Here is a sample:

Barnes:

Spoken by Jeremy the prophet - The words quoted here are not to be found in the prophecy of Jeremiah. Words similar to these are recorded in Zechariah 11:12-13, and from that place this quotation has been doubtless made. Much difficulty has been experienced in explaining this quotation. In ancient times, according to the Jewish writers; "Jeremiah" was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the "Book of the Prophets," thus: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor prophets. Some have thought that Matthew, quoting this place, quoted the Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the "first" place in the book, that is, Jeremiah; and though the words are those of Zechariah, yet they are quoted correctly as the words of the Book of the Prophets, the first of which was Jeremiah. Others have thought that there was a mistake made by ancient transcribers, writing the name Jeremiah instead of Zechariah; and it is observed that this might be done by the change of only a single letter. It was often the custom to abridge words in writing them. Thus, instead of writing the name of Jeremiah in full, it would be written in Greek, "Iriou." So Zechariah would be written "Zion." By the mere change of Zinto I, therefore, the mistake might easily be made. Probably this is the correct explanation. Others have supposed that the words were "spoken by Jeremiah," and that "Zechariah" recorded them, and that Matthew quoted them as they were - the words of Jeremiah. The passage is not quoted literally; and by its being "fulfilled" is meant, probably, that the language used by Zechariah on a similar occasion would express also this event. See the notes at Matthew 1:22-23. It was language appropriate to this occasion.

Benson:

Matthew 27:9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy — The words here quoted are not in any copy of Jeremiah extant. But they bear a strong resemblance to the words of Zechariah 11:12-13. One MS., not of great account, has Ζεχαριου, of Zechariah. Another adds no name to the word prophet, and there is none added in the Syriac version, the words being only, which was spoken by the prophet. And it seems, from a remark of Augustine, that some copies in his time named no prophet. Indeed it is not improbable that the name Jeremiah was inserted by some officious transcriber. Or we may suppose, with Bishop Hall, that in copying the words, Jeremiah was put down for Zechariah, a blunder which transcribers might easily commit, especially if the names were written by abbreviation, Ιριου for Ζριου, as the bishop says he has seen in some ancient MSS. But if the present reading is retained, we may allow, that, as the Jewish Scriptures were divided into three parts, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, what was found in the prophets might properly enough be said to be in Jeremiah, if his prophecies stood first in the collection, just as our Lord affirmed that whatever was in the Hagiographa concerning him, was contained in the Psalms, because the Psalms stood first in that division of the Scriptures. Or, we may adopt the solution offered by Grotius, who observes, that the Jews had many prophecies handed down to them by tradition, such as the prophecy of Enoch, Jdg 1:14-15, and the traditionary prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem mentioned by Josephus, and that the later prophets often allude to and repeat the words of the former. He therefore declares it to be his opinion, that the prophecy concerning the thirty pieces of silver, recorded Zechariah 11:12-13, which represented symbolically, according to the manner of the prophets, the things that were to befall the Messiah, was originally acted and spoken by Jeremiah, as Matthew affirms; but that Zechariah, who in many particulars followed Jeremiah, was directed by the Spirit to repeat it afterward, and preserve it in writing among his other prophecies; and that the Jews had preserved the knowledge of this fact by tradition; wherefore, though it be now found in Zechariah, being originally spoken by Jeremiah, Matthew has committed no error here in referring it to him. See note on Zechariah 11:12-13.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Various conjectures have been formed to account for Matthew's ascribing to Jeremiah a prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. But since with this book he was plainly familiar, having quoted one of its most remarkable prophecies of Christ but a few chapters before (Mt 21:4, 5), the question is one more of critical interest than real importance. Perhaps the true explanation is the following, from Lightfoot: "Jeremiah of old had the first place among the prophets, and hereby he comes to be mentioned above all the rest in Mt 16:14; because he stood first in the volume of the prophets (as he proves from the learned David Kimchi) therefore he is first named. When, therefore, Matthew produceth a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremy, he only cites the words of the volume of the prophets under his name who stood first in the volume of the prophets. Of which sort is that also of our Saviour (Lu 24:41), 'All things must be fulfilled which are written of Me in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,' or the Book of Hagiographa, in which the Psalms were placed first."

Ellicott:

(9) Then was fulfilled.—Three questions present themselves, more or less difficult:—

The words cited are found in our present Old Testament, not in Jeremiah, but in Zechariah 11:13, and there is no trace of their ever having occupied any other place in the Hebrew Canon. How is this discrepancy to be explained?

(a) Are we to assume an early error in transcription? Against this, there is the fact that MSS. and versions, with one or two exceptions, in which the correction is obviously of later date, give Jeremiah and not Zechariah.

(b) May we fall back upon the Jewish notion that the spirit of Jeremiah had passed into Zechariah; or that Jeremiah, having, at one time, stood first in the Jewish order of the Prophets, was taken as representing the whole volume, as David was of the whole Book of Psalms? This is possible, but it hardly falls within the limits of Probability that the writer of the Gospel would deliberately have thus given his quotation in a form sure to cause perplexity.

(c) May we believe that the writer quoted from memory, and that recollecting the two conspicuous chapters (18 and 19) in which Jeremiah had spoken of the potter and his work, he was led to think that this also belonged to the same group of prophecies? I am free to confess that the last hypothesis seems to me the most natural and free from difficulty, unless it be the difficulty which is created by an arbitrary hypothesis as to the necessity of literal accuracy in an inspired writing.

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  • +1 good answer.
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 12, 2022 at 23:13

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