American Univesity of Beirut

Thirty silver coins received by Judas for betraying Jesus


​​Judas Iscariot agrees to handover Jesus in exchange of thirty pieces of silver, according to an account in the Gospel of Matthew (26:15) in the New Testament: “14 Then one of the Twelve - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?" So, they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over".  

At the time, Palestine did not produce silver shekels, but instead, used the regional silver coins of Tyre.

However, thirty silver coins similar to the ones received by Judas for betraying Jesus, are conserved at the AUB Archaeological Museum.

The obverse side represents usually the bust of God Melqart to the right, with a slight whisker, a laureate on the head, and wearing a lion-skin knotted around neck.

The reverse shows an eagle standing left, with right foot on the beak of a ship, and a palm branch over the right shoulder. Circled by a Greek inscription TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY which translates: Of Tyre the holy and inviolable city.

After the arrest of Jesus, Judas was filled with remorse and before hanging himself, he returned the money to the chief priests. The latter decided that they could not put it in the temple treasury as it was considered blood money, and so they were used to buy the Potter's Field for the burial of foreigners.

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