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Pronunciation: DZHOO-duhs (of) KEHR-ree-oth
First Reference: Yeshua 1:53 (see 1:50-53)
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.
See: Sicarii, Simon Zelotes, Zealots
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” (Y:1:53).
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 is 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 with the hope of forming an alliance (Y:29:1-40). When Yeshua was approached by the Zealot leaders and offered an army to assist in claiming the throne of David, he 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 great glory.
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”. In what might be viewed as a strange act of 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 do quickly” (Y:45:22-24).
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 against them.
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.