“Matthew 27:6-10 says the chief priests bought the potter’s field, and Acts 1:18 says Judas did. Which was it?”
Judas returned the 30 pieces of silver he received for betraying the Lord to the priests, but they said, “It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood” (Matt. 27:6). Because of that, the money was never technically theirs to use to purchase anything. But Judas was dead, so technically he couldn’t purchase anything either. So it is not incorrect to attribute the purchase to both.
If that’s not clear, let’s say a Mafia hitman killed someone, then felt remorseful enough to donate the money he was paid to a church right before killing himself, in hopes of staving off God’s condemnation for his wicked act. If the church had a policy of refusing to receive ill-gotten gain from morally objectionable sources, they might in turn give the money to the family of the hitman’s victim.
In such a case, it could be said that the hitman actually donated the money to the victim, since the church policy technically prohibited them from receiving the money and being able to donate it to anyone. But it would also be correct to say that the church contributed the gift, because dead men can’t donate any money to anyone either. And in the same way, it’s not incorrect to ascribe the purchase of the field to both Judas and to the priests.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.