Matthew 27:7 is the seventh verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. This verse continues the final story of Judas Iscariot. In the previous verses Judas has killed himself, but not before casting the thirty pieces of silver into the Temple. In this verse the priests decide to buy a potter's field with them.


The original Koine Greek, according to Westcott and Hort, reads:

συμβουλιον δε λαβοντες ηγορασαν εξ αυτων τον αγρον του κεραμεως εις ταφην τοις ξενοις

In the King James Version of the Bible it is translated as:

And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

The modern World English Bible translates the passage as:

They took counsel, and bought the potter's field with them, to bury strangers in.

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub Matthew 27:7


Burying the dead was an important religious duty, but cemeteries were ritually unclean. Using impure money to purchase land for a cemetery is thus a logical idea.[1]

This verse is the origin of the term potter's field for a burying place for the unknown and indigent. That it is a field owned by a potter is directly linked to the quote from Zechariah that appears at 27:9 and 27:10, and is likely the result of a confused translation of the source, which more logically refers to a foundry for making coins. Matthew refers to it as the potter's field, implying that was piece of land well known by that name.[2]

That the field is a burial place for strangers is not borrowed from Hebrew Bible sources. Some have interpreted strangers as including foreigners and gentiles. Robert Gundry translates ξενοις as aliens, and feels the verse refers specifically to Gentiles, and that a cemetery for non-Jews was a doubly impure use of the unclean money.[3] Craig Blomberg suggests that the use of the blood money to buy a burial ground for foreigners may hint at the idea that "Jesus' death makes salvation possible for all the peoples of the world, including the Gentiles."[4] Other scholars disagree that the cemetery is intended for Gentiles. Raymond E. Brown notes that in this era the Jewish authorities would have had no need to worry about the burying of Gentiles, the Roman authorities would have taken care of that. Brown believes that the cemetery was intended for Jews who died while visiting Jerusalem.[5]

If the field was intended for the burial of Jews from beyond Jerusalem who died in the city, it opens the possibility that the field was imagined by the priests for the burial of either the recently deceased Judas or the soon to be Jesus, both of whom meet those criteria. While possible, there is no evidence within the Gospel, or in other traditions that this is the case.[6]


  1. ^ Nolland, John. The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary on the Greek text. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005 pg. 1154
  2. ^ Brown, Raymond. The Death of the Messiah. Yale University Press, Dec 1, 1998 pg. 646
  3. ^ Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. pg. 556
  4. ^ Craig L. Blomberg, "Matthew," in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 97.
  5. ^ Brown, Raymond. The Death of the Messiah. Yale University Press, Dec 1, 1998 pg. 646
  6. ^ Brown, Raymond. The Death of the Messiah. Yale University Press, Dec 1, 1998 pg. 646

Preceded by
Matthew 27:6
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 27
Succeeded by
Matthew 27:8