Did You Know?
Why was Judas offered 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus?
When Judas Iscariot met the chief priests to see how much they would give him to betray Jesus, they offered him “thirty silver pieces.” (Matthew 26:14, 15) This sum appears to show the contempt that they felt for Jesus and how little they valued him.
The coins in question may have been silver shekels, the standard monetary unit among the Jews. What was the buying power of 30 shekels? The Mosaic Law established this as the price of a slave. Thirty shekels could also buy a plot of land.—Exodus 21:32; Matthew 27:6, 7.
When the prophet Zechariah called for his wages from the unfaithful Israelites for his work as shepherd of God’s people, they weighed out to him “thirty pieces of silver.” This was a demeaning and deliberate gesture toward God’s prophet, suggesting that they valued him as no more than a slave. Hence, Jehovah ordered Zechariah: “Throw it to the treasury—the majestic value with which I have been valued from their standpoint.” (Zechariah 11:12, 13) Zechariah’s action in obedience to this command reminds us of what Judas would do with the sum obtained for betraying the One whom Jehovah had designated as Israel’s shepherd.—Matthew 27:5.
What was the “certificate of divorce” mentioned in the Bible?
The Mosaic Law stated: “In case a man takes a woman . . . as a wife, it must also occur that if she should find no favor in his eyes because he has found something indecent on her part, he must also write out a certificate of divorce for her and put it in her hand and dismiss her from his house.” (Deuteronomy 24:1) What was the purpose of this document? The Scriptures do not disclose the contents of such a certificate, but no doubt it would serve to protect the rights and interests of the rejected woman.
In 1951-1952, a number of ancient objects were recovered from caves in the north side of Wadi Murabbaat, a dry riverbed in the Judean desert. Among the numerous manuscripts found there was a certificate of divorce written in Aramaic and dated 71 or 72 C.E. It stated what occurred on the first day of the month of Marheshvan, in the sixth year of the Jewish revolt against Rome. Joseph, son of Naqsan, living at Masada, divorced Miriam, daughter of Jonathan from Hanablata. She was then free to marry any Jewish man she liked. Joseph returned Miriam’s dowry and reimbursed her fourfold for any damaged goods. The certificate was signed by Joseph himself and by three witnesses—Eliezer, son of Malka; Joseph, son of Malka; and Eleazar, son of Hanana.
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Caves at Wadi Murabbaat
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Certificate of divorce dated 71/72 C.E.
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Caves: Todd Bolen/Bible Places.com; certificate: Clara Amit, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority