And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the LORD.Zechariah 11:13
This fourth Messianic prophecy is inextricably linked to the verse before it, the prophecy we dealt with in the previous Nugget. This lowers the chances of this happening because it is made a rarer event, by raising the probability coefficient. That these two prophetic events would happen in the life of the same person raises the odds. One event is dependent on the other. Therefore, because the other is a one in a million chance, both prophecies have a greater than one in a million chance of coming to pass. So we have to treat them as two discrete events separate from one another in time but linked together.
Of course, for those of you who know your New Testament well we have another Bible passage to join to Zechariah’s statement.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders.
“I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.”
After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”Matthew 27:3-10
If you are really astute you will realise the clearer reference in Matthew was not from Jeremiah but Zechariah.
And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the LORD.Zechariah 11:12-13
There is much that has been discussed by the experts about this, but the simple way of dealing with it is to see the buying of the potter’s field to be a veiled midrashic reference to Jeremiah’s buying of the field in Anathoth and that prophet connecting the field to the work of potters. Some say Matthew was mistaken in his reference to the Jeremiah, confusing him with Zechariah. But there are other theories on that you can discover for yourself. (See the commentaries on Matthew 27:9)
That is a strange prophecy but it is relatively simple to unravel what happened. The 30 pieces of silver would have been thrown into the temple by Judas and the priests then giving the ‘blood money’ to the guild of potters connected to the House of the Lord, the Temple. That is exactly what happened. When Judas was remorseful after having betrayed Christ he tried to get the temple priests to take the money back. They wouldn’t and so he threw the money into the temple court. They took the money and gave it to the guild of potters in the temple court who used it to buy a potter’s field, giving rise to the reference to the “field of blood”. The term potter’s field was a grave site set aside for the poor who could not afford the cost of burial. Many see the link between this and the sacrifice of Jesus for us in His death. There is more depth to this connection which I believe Matthew’s reference to Jeremiah’s word on the subject is bringing out. The reference in Jeremiah 19 and 32 are set in a different context. Matthew appears to be linking the two ideas in a midrashic way. Whereas some of the commentators claim Matthew made a mistake in assigning the quote to Jeremiah then come up with all kinds of fanciful explanations as to why. No, something deeper is going on here.
Whichever way we looked at it, the price paid to Judas for the betrayal of Christ and the use that the money was put to are two separate prophetic statements. Yet they are linked together and applied to Christ in two discrete ways. i.e. the price paid and the use to which the money was put. Thus we need to treat them separately. As stated above, the combination of the two and the application of both to one person, namely Christ, raises the probability considerably.
These are very specific events which took place, matching what was predicted; that the price paid for the betrayal of one man would be used in conjunction with the potter’s guild in the temple who would then buy a field to be set aside for the burial of the poor, depicts an astounding chain of events. Let’s allow a probability factor of 1:100,000