Matthew 27:5, Judas and Ahithophel

And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

//That was Judas. Ever notice how much the story of Jesus’ betrayal matches that of King David? Jesus appears to be the second David, and Judas the second Ahithophel (the enemy of David). Here is how the parallel lays out in the Gospel of Mark:

  1. Jesus knows his betrayer, Judas, just as David knew his: Ahithophel had defected.
  2. Jesus leads his disciples through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives, precisely where David led his army.
  3. Peter promises loyalty to Jesus, even if he must die, just as Ittai makes that promise to King David.
  4. Jesus, like David, is deeply grieved but, like David, he agrees to accept God’s will.
  5. Jesus’ disciples are too tired to remain awake with him; Ahithophel suggests David should be attacked while weary.
  6. Ahithophel predicts all of David’s army will flee, leaving him to fend for himself, just as all of Jesus’ disciples fled.

Matthew and Luke copy this story from Mark into their own gospels, but at this point they deviate. What do you suppose happened to Judas? Mark and John are silent on the issue, and Luke tells us that Judas died by falling, but Matthew goes a different direction. He apparently recognizes Mark’s literary references. In the story of King David, Ahithophel hangs himself. So, in Matthew’s rendition, Judas does the same. See today’s verse.

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