We have 2 citations about the fate of Judas in the NT.The situation is:
1.We have it in Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18.
2.One is a clear verse and the other one less clear, we know that from the original Greek.
3.So in the clear verse in Matthew 27:5 we have that Judas hangs himself:
” Judas threw the pieces of silver in the temple, left and went to hung himself.”
What Matthew 27:5 does Not say
Notice it does NOT say WHERE: in a house, in a field, from a tree, from the ceiling, etc. More than that he hung himself we can not say. End of information.
The Unclear Part of Acts 1:18
Checking in several sources it turns out that in the original Greek we have the words Prenes genomenos. That is the phrase translated as falling headlong. The meaning of PRENES is undeniably ” headlong, head foremost, head first. “
However the word genomenos does NOT mean falling at all. It is translated like that to hide the ambiguity. It means becoming or to become.
What we have in Acts 1:18 is:
” With the reward he got for his wickedness:
1. Judas bought a field;
2.There Prenes genomenos,
3.His body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. ”
What to Notice in the Passage
Notice that nowhere in the Acts 1:18 passage do we have the verbs “to walk” or “to fall”. The way the words are put does not say that Judas was WALKING in the field and FELL head down and hit his stomach which burst open.
NEITHER does the passage say the body of Judas was hanging and when the rope was cut it fell on the ground and the feet hit the ground and the body inclined HEAD DOWN, thus making the stomach hit the ground and bursting.
What Does the Passage Say?
All it says is, to paraphrase it accurately, that ” the stomach of Judas burst open when it ( Judas, or his body ) became head foremost. ”
What does that mean exactly? It what way did the head becoming foremost CAUSE the stomach to BURST open? We do not know. The way the Greek text stands is too fuzzy.
THE WAY CORPSES FALL AND HIT THE GROUND:
Skeptics say a corpse would fall feet foremost or first. That is true, I agree. But when a corpse hits the ground it does not stand on its feet, it:
1. Falls back foremost, falling on its back.
2. Falls sideways, falling on its side.
3. Falls head foremost, head pointing down, on its stomach.
Why would a stomach burst so easily?
It is RARE for a person to fall and just burst his stomach like that. Not that it is impossible, but rare. However accepting the hanging of Judas then since it was the Passover Festival Holidays of several days, no Jew would have touched a dead body to become ritually impure.
The taking down of Judas’ body would have taken several days. In the meantime it would have got swollen. When the hung body would have been taken down by cutting the rope, it is natural for the SWOLLEN STOMACH to BURST OPEN when the feet hit the ground and the body tipped HEAD FOREMOST, making the stomach hit the ground, not the BACK.
1.Some have said here is a scribal error and that the original words were Presthes genomenos, not Prenes enomenos, meaning ” swollen becoming “ ( ” to become swollen “,and not ” to become head first “ ).
2.One who held this idea was Hyam Maccoby ( 1924-2004 ), a Jewish-British NT scholar who is famous for his view that Paul was not Jewish but a Gentile.It is in his book:“The Mythmaker:Paul and the Invention of Christianity”(1986). A view that has been rejected by all NT scholars.
In his book “Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil” ( 1991 ) he says the orignal wording was Presthes genomenosG. Now to be superskeptical one can say it is only speculation, but in the website tektonics,taking the information is accurate, it is stated that in Syriac ( the Aramaic of Syria ), Armenian and Georgian manuscripts the passage is translated as “and becoming swollen”.
That is important, really, because the translator may well have had Greek copies with the words Presthes genomenos.
Again, one is not obliged to accept that explanation so leaving it as Prenes genomenos the impartial skeptic would agree that:
1. The passage as it stands in Greek is very ambiguous.
2. It is rare for a person walking in a field to fall and burst his stomach, a fractured or broken leg is more likely. Unless he fell from a cliff, but no cliff is mentioned in Acts 1.
3. So at best either explanation of what becoming headlong exactly means in relation to the bursting of the stomach is a candidate. But to say the passage 100% says Judas was walking, fell and burst his stomach is inaccurate.
Check it out
The debate between KEITH THOMPSON(also called Keith Truth) vs Nadir Ahmeed on “Is Paul a True Apostle?”(don’t miss it):