|Haceldama, The field of blood.|
When Judas had gone the priests took up the money and said they could not put it back again in the Corban, the Temple treasury, from whence they had taken it be cause it was the price of blood. They had always taken from that Temple treasury money to buy the victims for the sacrifice, for it was " blood-money." It was the price with which they bought the Victim of the world's sins. They bought with it a field for the burial of strangers who died when visiting the sacred city. And perhaps they did not know it, but they bought the very place where Judas had hanged himself, and they called it Haceldama, "The field of blood." A Russian convent was recently built on the site, and there were discovered many tombs, and deep caves in the side of the hill, where took place this tragedy we are describing. (See Acts 1 ; Matt, xxvii 1-10)
All this was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah many hundreds of years before it came to pass. The Lord told the prophet to take a potter's earthen vessel: "And go forth into the valley of the sons of Hinnom, and there proclaim the words that I shall tell thee. . . . Behold I will bring an affliction on this place, so that whosoever shall hear of it his ears shall tingle, because they have forsaken me and profaned this place. . . . this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter, and I will defeat the council of Juda and of Jerusalem in this place." (Jer, xix. 2, 3, 6, 7,15.) Then the Lord told him all the misfortunes which would fall on Jerusalem, when the Romans will capture it, and he broke the vessel as Judas was broken asunder when his body fell down the height.
Judas' betrayal and his terrible end was foretold by the Royal prophet in Psalm cviii, when he suffered from Absalom's rebellion and when his bosom friend betrayed him:
" O God be thou not silent in my praise,
"For the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful man is opened against me.
They have spoken against me with deceitful tongues, And they have compassed me about with words of hatred ; And have fought against me without cause. Instead of making me a return of love they detracted me, But I gave myself to prayer.
And they repaid me evil for good and hatred for my love. Set thou the sinner over him, And may the devil stand at his right hand, When he is judged may he go out condemned, And may his prayer be turned to sin. May his days be few and his bishopric let another take. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. Let his children be carried about as vagabonds and beg ; And let them be cast out of their dwellings. May the usurer search all his substance. And let strangers plunder his labors. May there be none to help him. Nor none to pity his fatherless offspring. May his posterity be cut off. In one generation may his name be blotted out.
May the iniquities of his fathers be remembered in the sight of the Lord,
And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. May they be before the Lord continually, and let the memory of them perish from the earth. Because he remembered not to show mercy, But persecuted the poor man and the beggar, And the broken in heart to put him to death. And he loved cursing and it will come unto him, And he would not have blessing, and it shall be far from him. And he put on cursing like a garment,
And it went like water into his entrails, and like oil in his bones. May it be unto him like a garment which covereth him, And like a girdle with which he is girded continually. This is the work of them who detract me before the Lord.
Then were fulfilled the words of the prophet. " Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things ? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ. . . . But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain, preaching his commandments. The Lord hath said to me : " Thou art my Son, this day I have begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psalm, ii. 1-8.)
The stubbornness of the Jews in their religion, Christ had denounced. He came to fulfil the Law and the Prophecy, and they turned against him and treated him in this way. Even Pilate, a pagan, with his blunted sense of justice, wanted to deliver him; but they were deter mined to put him to death, because they were filled with the spirit of hate and of hell against him. The terrible scenes we have been describing were foretold by the author of the Book of Wisdom hundreds of years before they came to pass. (Wisdom ii. 12-22.)