Judas and His 30 Pieces of Silver

Question from a Site Viewer
What was the value of the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying Jesus?

Tim’s Answer
The Bible does not say what the silver pieces were.

But in the writer’s second mention of the sum, the writer puts the thirty pieces into a context, that of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (See Matthew 27:8-10). Matthew actually quotes two prophets, Jeremiah and Zechariah. Although Matthew only mentions Jeremiah by name, he may have done so because Jeremiah’s pre-enacted prophecy of the purchasing of the field (Jeremiah 32:6-9) was the more prominent point Matthew wanted to make. The purchase of the field seems to be the major point that Matthew is making. However, Matthew also quotes Zechariah 11:12 which gives us the value for the field. In Zechariah’s day, the reference to silver would undoubtedly have been to the shekel which was the standard weight for paying a price. The shekel has a long use in purchasing property, going back to Abraham’s time (Genesis 23:16). In New Testament times, the shekel was the value of about four drachmas (a Greek coin) or four denarii (a Roman coin). It would be in weight a little less than half an ounce of silver. It’s value as currency would be the common wages for a laboring man for four days, or in today’s value perhaps around $400 to $500.

The 30 pieces of silver, then, would be worth around $12,000 to $15,000 in today’s sum.

I hope this helps.

May the Lord Jesus guide you in all that you think and do.

tim

Related Content:
The Death of Judas
The Value of a Shekel

5 thoughts on “Judas and His 30 Pieces of Silver

    1. Carl

      If one is contradicting an argument it is helpful to include the reasoning behind the argument. Simply stating, “That’s not right.” Is not helpful. For instance, one might say, “That is not right. The spot price of silver today is about $20/ounce so the value of 30 pieces (schekles), would be 1/2 oz * 30 schekls = about 15 ounces and 15 ounces at $20/oz would be about $300.

      That is just an example of reasoning. Now a suitable debate might start around current commodity value versus the value of labor in 36 or 37 A.E. It also leaves the door open for a response and a respectable debate.

      This presumes that one cares about respectful discussion and is not trying to Trump the conversation.

      Reply
      1. David LaRondelle

        A good question would be: “how much would it cost today to buy this ‘potter’s field’. I have no idea about the answer but it would help with the answer. Ive see amounts from $300-12,000 as the value. How can supposed scholars be so far afield??

        Reply
  1. David Wandelt

    In real terms, while the amount was not insignificant, it was also not enough to, say, set Judas up for life. In the end, the transaction merely served to establish what Judas—and man in Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)—was. The amount is not so important in that regard, though it is poignant to say the least that the God of the universe was worth so relatively little in man’s eyes. It would seem that the real value rested in *getting rid* of Him. In that, they manifested the ultimate desire of their father the Devil.

    Reply

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