Matthew 27:9-10

In Matthew 27:9-10 it says: "Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

These words don’t appear in Jeremiah as far as I can tell. Some say similar words appear in Zechariah but the passage given is Zechariah 11:13, and it’s pretty different albeit with similarities. What’s going on here? I’ve looked for answers to this online but without satisfaction.

As far as I’m aware, the closest match anyone has found in the OT is the passage you mention, Zech. 11:12-13:

Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.

An additional point that has been raised is that the Hebrew words for “potter” and “treasury” are very similar. They are four-letter words, in which only the first letter is different. This has led some writers to suspect a copyist’s error.

  • Potter: יוצר (yotser)

  • Treasury: אוצר (otsar)

In Jesus day, the Septuagint was ordered differently than it is today. The books of the Prophets were all placed in a single book. Because they didn’t have Chapter and verse divisions within the books, it was common to cite the minor according to the major prophet where the book appeared closest in proximity. So there are times when you have a conflate reading consisting of maybe Isaiah and MIcah, but the reading is cited as coming from Isaiah. Here you have a reading from Zechariah, but the Jews cited it as from Jeremiah. I think it demonstrates less of a contradiction than that Jews in 1st Century Palestine cited scripture differently than we do now owing to the fact that the scriptures were compiled in scrolls and did not have the book, chapter, verse system that we have now.

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