Now this man was called Judas of Kerioth,the son of Simon. And John, seeing him
among the proselytes, spoke unto those standing near, saying: “Behold, the wolf has
come to lay with the lamb.” And many wondered at his words.
Summary: Judas, son of Simon, was a Zealot and member of the Sicarii — an extremist
faction within the Zealot movement. Judas was initially commissioned by Caiaphas
and the chief priests to infiltrate the Essene community, and report on the movements
and plans of John the Baptizer (Y:1:50-53). Scripture indicates that John the Baptizer
was somewhat aware of Judas’ intent, for when the Essene observed Judas arriving
among his followers, he stated: “Behold, the wolf has come to lay with the lamb”
Caiaphas and the chief priests first heard of Yeshua from a personal report provided
by Judas, soon after Yeshua’s baptism by John (Y:3:10-15). Judas told the chief priests
all that he’d seen, including how that John had waited by the river Jordan for four
days for the coming of Yeshua, and that when John baptized Yeshua, there descended
a white dove and there was the sound of thunder ‘which caused many to worship the
Nazarene’ (Y:3:27-37). Hearing this, the chief priests inquired regarding the appearance
of Yeshua, hoping to identify him in Jerusalem, and wondered what to make of John
the Baptizer, now that he had directed his disciples to follow Yeshua. Judas also
informed Caiaphas that John intended to go to Jericho to speak with Herod (Y:3:37-44).
As Yeshua’s popularity increased, agents of Rome began to exert pressure on Caiaphas
to quell the rising fervor surrounding the Galilean. Caiaphas was given an ultimatum
by Marcus Galerius: make peace or the money in the temple will be seized and your
position will be given to someone else (Y:5:10-15). This led Caiaphas and the elders
to conspire against Yeshua, commissioning Judas to spy on the Galilean so they might
find some way to put him to death (Y:5:16-26). From that moment on, it is likely
that Judas began working his way into the inner circle of Yeshua’s followers (Y:7:66-67).
Scripture states that Judas was present at the gathering of disciples at Mount Tabor,
and was appointed as a member of the Seventy (Y:18:5; 19:1; 21:1).
Later that same year (35 CE), Judas returned to Jerusalem to meet secretly with Caiaphas
and the temple elders (Y:21:1-21), for it was their intent to find some way to kill
Yeshua without incurring blame. When Judas told them all that Yeshua had done over
the past several months, and that Yeshua had gone to Tyre and Sidon to teach, Caiaphas
rejoiced, claiming how that ‘no prophet dies except in his own land’ (Y:21:9-12),
and now that Yeshua was traveling abroad, his death would imply (according to tradition),
that he was not a true prophet. When Judas first heard that Caiaphas intended for
him to kill Yeshua, he protested, for fear that God would punish him (Y:21:13). But
Caiaphas persisted, and in cunning fashion, convinced Judas to travel to Lebanon
to kill Yeshua (Y:21:14-22). Unbeknownst to Judas, the temple council planned to
kill Judas if he succeeded in murdering Yeshua (Y:21:23-25).
According to scripture, Judas’ attempt to kill Yeshua was not only unsuccessful,
but the incident seemed to be a turning point in Judas’ convictions. For in a curious
display of foreknowledge, Yeshua — with his back turned — gently interrupted Judas
as he snuck upon him in attempt to kill him. Overcome with shame, Judas told Yeshua
all that had happened regarding Caiaphas and how the High Priest had commissioned
him to kill Yeshua (Y:27:1-6).
While it seemed Judas’ loyalty to Yeshua had been bolstered, he was still motivated
by his political ideals which were greatly influenced by his association with the
Zealot movement. A primary agenda of the Zealots focused on ending Roman occupation
and expelling all non-Jewish people from the lands of Israel. It’s apparent that
Judas truly believed Yeshua was destined to be king, and could be assisted by the
Zealot party, insomuch as convincing leaders of the Zealot movement to meet with
Yeshua and with the hope of forming an alliance (Y:29:1-40). When approached by the
Zealot leaders and offered an army to assist in claiming the throne of David, Yeshua
refused them, clarifying his commitment to peace and holiness. Judas was upset with
Yeshua for offending the Zealot leaders by refusing their assistance and agenda (Y:29:41-60).
A year later, Judas still hoped for Yeshua to capitalize on support from the Zealots,
to the extent of planning a coup at the temple during the Feast of Purim. Truly believing
Yeshua was come from God and would not fail, Judas tried to persuade Yeshua to initiate
a violent overthrow of the temple, in accordance with pre-established plans of the
Zealots. Once again, Yeshua refused to have any part with Judas’ agenda (Y:39:1-10).
Yeshua’s patience and forgiveness towards Judas was interesting. Despite all that
Judas had done — the spying, the collusion with Caiaphas, the murder attempt, his
efforts to use Yeshua for a military and political agenda — even after all these
things, Yeshua kept Judas close to him. Days prior to the arrest of Yeshua, the following
exchange occurred between Judas and Yeshua:
And the Lord, when it was morning, called unto Judas, and before all the disciples
he kissed him upon his cheek and spoke unto him, saying:
“Judas, the darkness seeks after you; but do not fear, for I have prayed for you
that you might not be lost.”
And all which heard pondered in their hearts concerning this thing; for no man knew
that he would betray the Lord unto the priests.
The next reported interaction with Judas occurred prior to the last supper, when
some of the disciples became upset that Mary was using so much precious oil to anoint
Yeshua. Judas, who had been “given charge over the purse”, made a comment to Yeshua,
stating how the oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor (Y:45:1-6).
That same evening, Judas met with Caiaphas, still believing that Yeshua could be
forced into assuming the throne.
9. Now when it was evening, Judas went forth unto Caiaphas to betray the Lord; for
he believed that if the Lord should be taken by force, then would he surely proclaim
himself the son of David:
10. To take unto himself the throne of power whereby he might establish Israel in
11. And when it was agreed, Caiaphas gave unto Judas thirty pieces of silver; but
Judas would not take it unto himself, saying: “Will you think that I betray the Master
for money’s sake?”
12. But Caiaphas answering deceitfully, spoke unto him, saying: “Not so Judas, for
this I give you as a gift to the poor.”
13. So Judas took the thirty pieces of silver and returned unto the Lord, and when
the Master beheld Judas drawing near, he spoke, saying: “Behold, the Son of Man is
betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
14. And all which heard were filled with trouble, for they knew not what the saying
meant. And Mary, being overcome with sorrow, wept many tears.
During the last supper, Yeshua revealed that one of the disciples had ‘already set
forth his hand’ to betray him, stating: “He it is that dips his bread with me in
the dish; the same shall betray me” (Y:45:22). In an act of strange confidence, Judas
dipped his bread with Yeshua, asking if it was he who would betray the Lord. Yeshua
confirmed this, saying: “Whatsoever, therefore, you have set your hand to do, that
Later that evening, Judas led a cohort of armed men — provided by Caiaphas — to the
garden of Gethsemane where Yeshua had been praying. Greeting Yeshua with a kiss,
Judas presents the Master to be bound and taken captive to the house of Caiaphas
(Y:46:32-42). When Yeshua is falsely condemned and physically assaulted by Caiaphas
and the other scribes and elders, Judas rushes to help, crying out for Yeshua to
save himself. But Judas is restrained by the captain of the guard and ordered to
be imprisoned until Yeshua’s death is confirmed (Y:46:57-60).
After the crucifixion of Yeshua, Judas was released whereupon he approached Caiaphas
seeking forgiveness for betraying his master. Being denied any solace for his actions,
Judas threw to the floor the thirty pieces of silver given to him for his services.
Later, wracked with guilt, Judas hung himself (Y:47:69-73).
50. But in the secret watches of the night, Josephus Caiaphas called forth certain
chief priests, that they might act wisely regarding this John, and they called forth
unto them a certain man, and they commanded that he should go to the lands round
about Bethabara, and finding the prophet baptizing in the waters of the Jordan, he
should become as one of his disciples.
51. And whatsoever thing which John would say and do, even that should he make known
unto the chief priests and elders of the temple. For they had determined secretly
to put John to death, for unto whatsoever person he spoke, he would speak harshly
52. So the man, having received his commission from the chief priests, went unto
Bethabara, and finding the Essene, he knelt before him seeking baptism, for he professed
aloud with many tears that he would be his disciple.
53. Now this man was called Judas of Kerioth, the son of Simon. And John, seeing
him among the proselytes, spoke unto those standing near, saying: “Behold, the wolf
has come to lay with the lamb.” And many wondered at his words.