Let me just quote the writer of the first gospel. Again, we’ll pretend his name’s “Matthew” even though he does not claim this for himself. So just to give context, Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, regrets it, throws it back to the priests who had paid him, kills himself in a field which the priests purchase with the same 30 pieces of silver. Then “Matt” says in chapter 27 verses 9 and 10.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
The word “Jeremy” is supposed to actually refer to the prophet, Jeremiah. There’s one significant problem with this supposed quote from Jeremiah: it’s nowhere in the book of Jeremiah. There’s a slightly more significant problem: it’s nowhere in the whole Jewish Bible.
That’s the simple fact.
Now I know what some will say that the anonymous writer of the first gospel that we call “Matt” right now, that he is quoting the prophet Zechariah. There are a number of problems with this idea. For example, I’ve looked at a number of translations of this verse that “Matt” writes. They all have “Matt” saying that he’s quoting Jeremiah. So “Matt” is saying “Hey! I’m quoting Jeremiah!” and his defenders are saying, “actually he’s quoting Zechariah.” Who do I believe? I’ll side with the writer on this one.
Another thing is that a lot that “Matt” says isn’t in Zechariah. I mean, just compare both quotes. I’ll give “Matt’s” first and then give a translation of Zechariah.
MATT’S VERSION: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.
What Zechariah actually said: And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the treasurer, a goodly price that I was valued at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the treasury in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Note the differences.
Zechariah doesn’t say “they took the thirty pieces of silver” but rather “they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” “Matt” has some unknown group taking thirty pieces of silver and using it to purchase a potter’s field. In the original, Zechariah himself takes his price of service and throwing them to the treasurer in the house of God. No
field is mentioned at all. There is no mention at all about the children of Israel in the verses in Zechariah. The subject and object of parable in Zechariah is clear. Zechariah is the one receiving the silver and putting to something that is not a field. “Matthew” refers to some entity called “they”.
So although there are some superficial similarities between “Matt’s” seeming quote and Zechariah, “Matt” doesn’t quote Zechariah, neither does he claim to as the vast majority of christian translations show. Oh, I know some say that in some old variant of a greek text has “Zechariah,” but that knowledge cannot be so firm if it is not in the main body of the translated texts, as if the main greek manuscripts they use only have “Matt” saying he’s quoting Jeremiah?
Now I know someone is going to push the fact that the anonymous “Matt” must be quoting Zechariah. And I don’t mind someone claiming that at all. Why? Again, look at all the differences between “Matt” and Zechariah. The amount of changes “Matt” makes shows that the simple recorded word of God through Zechariah was not good enough to be used as scriptural evidence to back up his messiah candidate … that is, not without major editing to God’s holy message. “Matt” adds to and takes away so much from Zechariah that the warning from Proverbs 30:5,6 comes into play: “Each word of God is pure, he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Don’t add to his word so the he don’t reprove you and you be found to be a liar.” I think that anyone who respects the word of God through Zechariah would see “Matt” as a liar.
To conclude, “Matt” doesn’t quote Zechariah because the word, message and context is different. And he doesn’t claim to. He’s making it up; fabricated evidence for his failed messiah candidate. But if his advocates speak above him, then they show him to be a liar. A no-win situation for “Matt.” A win-win situation for truth!