The account of Judas’s death in Matthew’s Gospel yields opposite readings. In the traditional reading, Judas’s death is damning: his suicide enacts his self-exclusion from the salvation promised in Jesus. More recently, scholars have sought to rehabilitate Judas. Far from cementing his condemnation, Judas’s death is a sign of his repentance, even heroism, and points toward redemption. Matthew’s use of Scripture is, I propose, illuminating for the debate. Matthew 27:9 applies to the episode a quotation from Zechariah attributed (famously) to Jeremiah. Scholarly attention has focused on the problem of (mis)attribution. I argue, rather, that the “mistake” is useful: in calling up both Zech 11 and Jeremiah, Matthew sets the death of Judas within a particular scriptural history. A close reading of Jer 19 together with Zech 11 reveals a dense interweaving of vocabulary and themes, an intertextuality that informs Matt 27. Themes of innocent blood and defilement emerge in all three, and Judas’s problematic “repentance” finds in LXX Zechariah’s use of μεταμέλομαι a precursor that opens up the debate. Against this scriptural background, Judas’s death unfolds as a story not of one man only but of a people and a land, a story set within Israel’s larger story in which both devastation and hope—indeed restoration—may, in the blood of Jesus, be true.

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