thirty pieces of silver

money paid for a betrayal
—You hurt the whole family when you sold Grandmother’s secret recipe. Are you happy now that you have your thirty pieces of silver?

After Jesus’ arrest, he was quickly put on trial before the high priest and the rest of the Jewish ruling council, and they sentenced him to die. When Judas realized the outcome of his betrayal, he was full of guilt:

Now when Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus had been condemned, he regretted what he had done and returned the thirty silver coins [thirty pieces of silver] to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood!” But they said, “What is that to us? You take care of it yourself!” So Judas threw the silver coins into the temple and left. Then he went out and hanged himself. The chief priests took the silver and said, “It is not lawful to put this into the temple treasury, since it is blood money.” After consulting together they bought the Potter’s Field [the potter’s field] with it, as a burial place for foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the “Field of Blood” to this day. (Matthew 27:3-8)

The field bought by the silver coins was called “the potter’s field” probably because it contained clay that could be used to make pottery. Later, potter’s field became the name for “a cemetery used for strangers or for those whose family can’t afford a burial plot.”

Blood money, not found in the King James Bible (where the wording is price of blood), first appeared in the Coverdale Bible (1535). Today, blood money means “money paid for a murder or betrayal, money that comes from other’s suffering, or money given to the relatives of someone who has been murdered.”

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