And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:5

Judas Iscariot committed suicide. He hung himself, presumably from a tree, in a potter’s field. It was subsequently bought by the chief priests with the very money Judas had originally received for betraying Jesus. The field was then used as a burial place for strangers and known as the Field of Blood.

…and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. Acts 1:18

It would appear that some time after death his body fell and ruptured. It is possible that the branch or object holding him broke or that he fell when those who discovered him attempted to take down his body. Although his hanging is not mentioned in Acts, the reference to falling coincides with the record in Matthew. Is it possible that he was dead a while before falling, which might explain his body bursting asunder?


Tentative alternative reading: “He had an outburst and poured out his emotion”?

There is an alternative reading (Harry Whittaker and others), although it is not one that finds much support in commentators. The Greek word “bowels” usually means emotion in the New Testament. But the problem with that reading is that there is not much support in Greek texts for the rather rare verb λάσκω (burst, crack, crackle) having the meaning “outburst”.

Acts 1:18 καὶ πρηνὴς γενόμενος ἐλάκησεν μέσος (burst open in the middle – of what?) καὶ ἐξεχύθη πάντα τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ· (let out all his bowels)
The problem is not whether “bowels” is literal or figurative – normally it is figurative, the problem is finding precedent for LAKAW “burst” to mean “outburst” in a figurative sense. Some results for the base verb LAKAW λακάω (burst) in the Perseus database are here. But as can be seen they mainly mean come forth suddenly, with no support for disembowelment involved.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 613
Κῆρυξ τοιόσδ᾽  κόμπος τῆς ἀληθείας γέμων 

οὐκ αἰσχρὸς ὡς γυναικὶ γενναίᾳ λακεῖν.
Herald : Such boast as this — brimful of the veracious —
Is, for a high-born dame, not bad to send forth!


Lessons from the life of Judas Iscariot…

We watch on as Judas, the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, makes his mistakes and we can only learn from them. He betrayed his friend (Luke 22:48) — we should be loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ and each other. He was greedy for money, stole and didn’t care for the poor (John 12:6) — we should be content and help those in need. He was sorry for what he had done but did not turn to God or Christ for forgiveness (Matthew 27:4) — we should seek their mercy whenever we do wrong.

Tagged with →  
Share →

2 Responses to How did Judas Iscariot die? (Matthew 27:5, Acts 1:18)

  1. roberto says:

    thank you for your answer. GOD bless

  2. Fernando says:

    Instead of taking that as contradiction, how about as a corroboration, describing different parts of the same event.

    So basically Judas went and hanged himself and later the body decompose, the rope broke and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.

    God bless your channel. Really nice material and answers in here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *