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Reference: Judas Iscariot


Son of Simon (Joh 6:71; 13:2,26). Ish Kerioth, "the man of Kerioth," in Judah (Jos 15:25), like Ish Tob, "the man of Tob." This distinguishes him from the other Judas, also from the other eleven apostles who were of Galilee. He thus was connected with Judah his prototype who sold Joseph, and the Jews who delivered Jesus up to the Roman Gentiles. He obeyed the call of Jesus like the rest, probably influenced by John the Baptist's testimony and his own Messianic hopes. Sagacity in business and activity were the natural gifts which suggested the choice of him afterward as bearer of the common purse (Joh 12:6). He is placed last among the twelve because of his subsequent treachery; even previously he was in the group of four lowest in respect to zeal, faith, and love.

The earliest recorded hint given by Christ of his badness is in Joh 6:64,70, a year before the crucifixion: "some of you ... believe not; for Jesus knew from the beginning who ... believed not, and who should betray Him"; "have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil" (not merely" demon," the Greek always for the evil spirit possessing a body, but "devil," used only of Satan himself to whom Judas was now yielding himself). Yet even then repentance was not too late for Judas. Peter the foremost of the twelve had so shrunk from the cross as to be called "Satan," yet Peter recovered more than once afterward (Mt 16:23). John, who had an instinctive repugnance to Judas, whose base selfish character was so opposite to John's own, delineates the successive stages in his fall. Jesus' many warnings against mammon love were calls to Judas while yet he had not made his fatal and final choice (Mt 6:19-34; 13:22-23; Lu 16:11; Mr 10:25-26).

Before that crisis Judas had salvation and even a high place of honour in Christ's future kingdom within his reach. Temptation fell in his way when larger contributions were made (Lu 8:3), part of which were spent for the necessities of Jesus and the disciples traveling about with Him, and the rest given to the poor. Hence Judas, being almoner, grudged the 300 pence worth of ointment lavished by Mary on Jesus, as money which ought to have come in to him, and led some of the other disciples to join in the cry. He had no care for the poor, but for self. Censoriousness and covetousness even to theft prompted his objection (Joh 12:5-6). Mary spent her all to do honour to Jesus' burial; Judas, grasping at all, betrayed Him to death and burial. Her love kindled no sympathetic spark in him towards the common Lord. Hope of larger gain alone kept him from apostasy a year before (Joh 6:64).

Now the lost chance of the 300 pence (denarii), vindictiveness at Jesus' reproof (Joh 12:7-8), secret consciousness that Jesus saw through his baseness, above all the Lord's mention of His "burying" which dispelled his ambitious hopes of sharing a Messianic kingdom of power and wealth, drove him to his last desperate shift to clutch at 30 pieces of silver, the paltry price of a slave (Ex 21:32; Zec 11:12-13; Php 2:7), and betray his Lord. The title "the son of perdition," given by Jesus in His high priestly prayer (Joh 17:12) to Judas and to none else but "the man of sin" (2Th 2:3), as doomed and essentially belonging to perdition, also Christ's declaration, "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" (Mt 26:24), oppose the notion that Judas betrayed Christ mainly in order to force Him to declare tits true nature and kingdom, that Judas might occupy the foremost place in it.

The narrative gives little ground for this clever theory; rather, covetousness wrought in him unchecked spite and malignity, possibly not unmixed with carnal expectations from Messiah's kingdom, until, in the face of light, he yielded himself up to be Satan's tool, so that he received his sentence before the last day. Prophecy fore-uttered his doom (Ps 109:4-8). "Satan" was the "wicked" one "set over" Judas, first causing him to murder Christ, then himself. In Ac 1:16-20,25, Peter says, "this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Spirit by the month of David spoke before concerning Judas ... he obtained part of this ministry ... from which by transgression he fell, that he might go to his own place" (compare Isa 30:33). Ahithophel, his type, combined shrewd sagacity with intimate knowledge of David, which he turned against David, giving the hellish counsel to incest and parricide (2Sa 15:12; 23'>16:23; 17:1-3,23; compare Ps 41:9; 55:13).

So Judas in relation to Christ, knowing His favourite haunt for prayer, Gethsemane. Suicide was the end of Judas as of the type. Even Judas shared in Christ's washing of the disciples' feet, and Jesus said "ye are clean, but not all" (Joh 13:10). Troubled in spirit at Judas' presence, He said at the last supper, "verily, verily ... one of you shall betray Me" (compare Joh 13:21); "exceeding sorrowful they began every one to say, Lord, is it I?" Judas asked the same lest his silence should betray guilt, and received the whispered reply in the affirmative (Mt 26:22,25). Meantime John next, Jesus on one side, as Judas was on the other, leaned back so as to be on Jesus' bosom, and at Peter's suggestion asked secretly "who is it?" (Joh 13:23 ff) He answered "he it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it." Then He gave the sop to Judas, an act of love (dipping a morsel of unleavened bread in the broth of bitter herbs and handing it to a friend), but it only stirred up his hatred (Ps 109:4-5).

So after the sop Satan entered Judas. Then said Jesus, "that thou doest do quickly." A paroxysm of mad devilishness hurried him on, as the swine of Gadara rushing into the deep. Jesus' awful words were enough to warn him back; but sin by willful resistance of light had now become a fixed law of his being. God gives him up to his own sin, and so to accomplish God's purpose; even as God did to Balaam (Nu 22:22), and Jesus to the Pharisees (Mt 23:32). Greek "what thou art doing (with full determination already being carried into action) do more quickly." The disciples thought, judging by Jesus' habit, though the fact is not elsewhere recorded except the allusion in Joh 12:5, that His direction to Judas was to give something to the poor. Jesus Christ, in proof that Judas too partook of the Lord's supper, a proof that Joh 6:54-56, cannot be understood of eating that supper, but of feeding on Him by living faith). (See JESUS CHRIST.)

Judas, having given a token beforehand, "whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, take Him and lead Him away safely" (Mr 14:44-45; Mt 26:48), led the Roman band and priestly officers to apprehend Jesus in Gethsemane, and gave his studied, kiss, saying "Hail, Master!" or as Mark graphically represents his overdone show of deference, "Master, Master!" Jesus, as Judas approached, said, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" and as Judas drew nigh to kiss Him, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Lu 22:47-48). When the Lord was condemned by the high priest and Sanhedrin, Judas probably being present, the reaction came; not that the condemnation took him by surprise, his confession shows he contemplated the result. His former Lord's love and righteousness now remembered brought into his soul "remorse" (metameleia, not "repentance" (metanoia); Mt 27:3-4.

I sinned in that I betrayed the innocent blood, he cried to the high priests, his tempters. "What is that to us? See thou to that," they sneeringly reply. Having served their end he is now cast aside as vile even in their eyes. Having forced his way into the sanctuary of the priests (naos he flung down the money, his bait to sin, now only hateful and tormenting to him (not as Alford, "speaking without and throwing the money into the naos"; for en too naoo, not eis ton naon, implies he was inside when he flung down the money), and departed and went and hanged (or strangled) himself. Ac 1:18 describes the sequel. He burst asunder when the suicide was half accomplished, and his bowels gushed out (even as he had laid aside bowels of compassion, Ps 109:16), his body lying ignominiously on the face, not on the back as the dead generall

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One of the Twelve, son of Simon Iscariot (Joh 6:71; 13:26 RV). Iscariot (more correctly Iscarioth) means 'the man of Kerioth.' Kerioth was a town in the south of Jud

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Ju'das Iscar'iot

Son of Simon and one of the twelve apostles. He was a false disciple: when the Lord said to His apostles 'ye are clean,' He excepted Judas in the words 'but not all.' He was sent out with the others to preach, and no exception is made in his case as to the working of miracles in the name of the Lord Jesus. Under the plea of the necessities of the poor he complained of money being wasted when Mary anointed the Lord. Yet he did not really care for the poor: he was treasurer, and was a thief. Satan knew the covetousness of Judas and put it into his heart to betray the Lord for money, which he did for thirty pieces of silver. Satan afterwards, as the Adversary, took possession of him to insure the success of the betrayal.

Judas probably thought that the Lord would escape from those who arrested Him, as He had escaped from previous dangers, while he would gain the money. When the Lord was condemned, Judas was filled with remorse, confessed he had betrayed innocent blood, and cast the money into the temple. He was a complete dupe of Satan, who first tempted him to gain the money, and then would not let him keep it. He went and hanged himself, and probably falling from the tree, his bowels gushed out. An awful termination of a sinful course. The Lord called him the 'son of perdition.'

In modern times men have erroneously argued that his confession under remorse showed true repentance, and that there is hope of his salvation! but it is not so: he fell 'that he might go to his own place.' It was a trial of man under new circumstances: to be a 'familiar friend' (Ps 41:9) of the Lord Jesus, to hear His gracious words, see His miracles, and probably be allowed to work miracles himself in His name; and yet, as in every other trial of man, he fell. Judas is a solemn instance of how far a person may be under the influence and power of Christianity, and yet become an apostate: cf. Heb 6:1-6. He is mentioned in Mt 10:4; 26:14-47; 27:3; Lu 22:3,47-48; Joh 13:2,26,29; 18:2-5; Ac 1:16,25, etc.

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Ju'das Iscar'iot

(Judas of Kerioth). He is sometimes called "the son of Simon,"

Joh 6:71; 13:2,26

but more commonly ISCARIOTES.

Mt 10:4; Mr 3:19; Lu 6:16

etc. The name Iscariot has received many interpretations more of less conjectural. The most probable is from Ish Kerioth, i.e. "man of Kerioth," a town in the tribe of Judah.

Jos 15:25

Of the life of Judas before the appearance of his name in the lists of the apostles we know absolutely nothing. What that appearance implies, however, is that he had previously declared himself a disciple. He was drawn, as the others were, by the preaching of the Baptist, or his own Messianic hopes, or the "gracious words" of the new Teacher, to leave his former life, and to obey the call of the Prophet of Nazareth. The choice was not made, we must remember, without a provision of its issue.

Joh 6:64

The germs of the evil, in all likelihood, unfolded themselves gradually. The rules to which the twelve were subject in their first journey,

Mt 10:9-10

sheltered him from the temptation that would have been most dangerous to him. The new form of life, of which we find the first traces in

Lu 8:3

brought that temptation with it. As soon as the twelve were recognized as a body, travelling hither and thither with their Master, receiving money and other offerings, and redistributing what they received to the poor, it became necessary that some one should act as the steward and almoner of the small society, and this fell to Judas.

Joh 12:6; 13:29

The Galilean or Judean peasant found himself entrusted with larger sums of money than before, and with this there came covetousness, unfaithfulness, embezzlement. Several times he showed his tendency to avarice and selfishness. This, even under the best of influences, grew worse and worse, till he betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of silver. (Why was such a man chosen to be one of the twelve? -- (1) There was needed among the disciples, as in the Church now, a man of just such talents as Judas possessed, --the talent for managing business affairs. (2) Though he probably followed Christ at first from mixed motives, as did the other disciples, he had the opportunity of becoming a good and useful man. (3) It doubtless was included in God's plans that there should be thus a standing argument for the truth and honesty of the gospel; for if any wrong or trickery had been concealed, it would have been revealed by the traitor in self-defence. (4) Perhaps to teach the Church that God can bless and the gospel can succeed even though some bad men may creep into the fold. What was Judas' motive in betraying Christ? -- (1) Anger at the public rebuke given him by Christ at the supper in the house of Simon the leper.

Mt 26:6-14

(2) Avarice, covetousness, the thirty pieces of silver.

Joh 12:6

(3) The reaction of feeling in a bad soul against the Holy One whose words and character were a continual rebuke, and who knew the traitors heart. (4) A much larger covetousness, --an ambition to be the treasurer, not merely of a few poor disciples, but of a great and splendid temporal kingdom of the Messiah. He would hasten on the coming kingdom by compelling Jesus to defend himself. (5) Perhaps disappointment because Christ insisted on foretelling his death instead of receiving his kingdom. He began to fear that there was to be no kingdom, after all. (6) Perhaps, also, Judas "abandoned what seemed to him a failing cause, and hoped by his treachery to gain a position of honor and influence in the Pharisaic party." The end of Judas. -- (1) Judas, when he saw the results of his betrayal, "repented himself."

Mt 27:3-10

He saw his sin in a new light, and "his conscience bounded into fury." (2) He made ineffectual struggles to escape, by attempting to return the reward to the Pharisees, and when they would not receive it, he cast it down at their feet and left it.

Mt 27:5

But, (a) restitution of the silver did not undo the wrong; (b) it was restored in a wrong spirit, --a desire for relief rather than hatred of sin; (c) he confessed to the wrong party, or rather to those who should have been secondary, and who could not grand forgiveness; (d) "compunction is not conversion." (3) The money was used to buy a burial-field for poor strangers.

Mt 27:6-10

(4) Judas himself, in his despair, went out and hanged himself,

Mt 27:5

at Aceldama, on the southern slope of the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, and in the act he fell down a precipice and was dashed into pieces.

Ac 1:18

And he went to his own place.

Ac 1:25

A guilty conscience must find neither hell or pardon. (5) Judas' repentance may be compared to that of Esau.

Ge 27:32-38; Heb 12:16-17

It is contrasted with that of Peter. Judas proved his repentance to be false by immediately committing another sin, suicide. Peter proved his to be true by serving the Lord faithfully ever after. --ED.)

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JUDAS ISCARIOT, or, as he is usually called, the traitor, and betrayer of our Lord. "The treachery of Judas Iscariot," says Dr. Hales, "his remorse, and suicide, are occurrences altogether so strange and extraordinary, that the motives by which he was actuated require to be developed, as far as may be done, where the evangelists are, in a great measure, silent concerning them, from the circumstances of the history itself, and from the feelings of human nature. Judas, the leading trait in whose character was covetousness, was probably induced to follow Jesus at first with a view to the riches, honours, and other temporal advantages, which he, in common with the rest, expected the Messiah's friends would enjoy. The astonishing miracles he saw him perform left no room to doubt of the reality of his Master's pretensions, who had, indeed, himself in private actually accepted the title from his Apostles; and Judas must have been much disappointed when Jesus repeatedly refused the proffered royalty from the people in Galilee, after the miracle of feeding the five thousand, and again after his public procession to Jerusalem. He might naturally have grown impatient under the delay, and dissatisfied also with Jesus for openly discouraging all ambitious views among his disciples; and, therefore, he might have devised the scheme of delivering him up to the sanhedrim, or great council of the nation, (composed of the chief priests, scribes, and elders,) in order to compel him to avow himself openly as the Messiah before them; and to work such miracles, or to give them the sign which they so often required, as would convince and induce them to elect him in due form, and by that means enable him to reward his followers. Even the rebukes of Jesus for his covetousness, and the detection of his treacherous scheme, although they unquestionably offended Judas, might only serve to stimulate him to the speedier execution of his plot, during the feast of the passover, while the great concourse of the Jews, from all parts assembled, might powerfully support the sanhedrim and their Messiah against the Romans. The success of this measure, though against his master's will, would be likely to procure him pardon, and even to recommend him to favour afterward. Such might have been the plausible suggestions by which Satan tempted him to the commission of this crime. But when Judas, who attended the whole trial, saw that it turned out quite contrary to his expectations, that Jesus was capitally convicted by the council, as a false Christ and false prophet, notwithstanding he had openly avowed himself; and that he wrought no miracle, either for their conviction or for his own deliverance, as Judas well knew he could, even from the circumstance of healing Malchus, after he was apprehended; when he farther reflected, like Peter, on his Master's merciful forewarnings of his treachery, and mild and gentle rebuke at the commission of it; he was seized with remorse, and offered to return the paltry bribe of thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders instantly on the spot, saying, 'I sinned in delivering up innocent blood;' and expected that on this they would have desisted from the prosecution. But they were obstinate, and not only would not relent, but threw the whole load of guilt upon him, refusing to take their own share; for they said, 'What is that to us? see thou to that;' thus, according to the aphorism, loving the treason, but hating the traitor, after he had served their wicked turn. Stung to the quick at their refusal to take back the money, while they condemned himself, he went to the temple, cast down the whole sum in the treasury, or place for receiving the offerings of the people; and, after he had thus returned the wages of iniquity, he retired to some lonely place, not far, perhaps, from the scene of Peter's repentance; and, in the frenzy of despair, and at the instigation of the devil, hanged himself; crowning with suicide the murder of his master and his friend; rejecting his compassionate Saviour, and plunging his own soul into perdition! In another place it is said that, 'falling headlong, he burst asunder, and all his bowels gushed out,' Ac 1:18. Both these accounts might be true: he might first have hanged himself from some tree on the edge of a precipice; and, the rope or branch breaking, he might be dashed to pieces by the fall." The above view of the case of Judas endeavours ingeniously to account for his conduct by supposing him influenced by the motive of compelling our Lord to declare himself, and assume the Messiahship in its earthly glory. It will, however, be recollected, that the only key which the evangelic narrative affords, is, Judas's covetousness; which passion was, in him, a growing one. It was this which destroyed whatever of honest intention he might at first have in following Jesus; and when fully under its influence he would be blinded by it to all but the glittering object of the reward of iniquity. In such a mind there could be no true faith, and no love; what wonder, then, when avarice was in him a ruling and unrestrained passion, that he should betray his Lord? Still it may be admitted that the knowledge which Judas had of our Lord's miraculous power, might lead him the more readily to put him into the hands of the chief priests. He might suppose that he would deliver himself out of their hands; and thus Judas attempted to play a double villany, against Christ and against his employers.

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