“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself!' And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself” (Matt 27:3-5).

According to the New Testament, Judas' betrayal of Yeshua fulfilled prophecy in the Hebrew Bible (see John 13:18; 17:12; Acts 1:16). But how exactly was the betrayal of the Messiah predicted in the Jewish Scriptures? By a principle called Ma'asei Avot, Siman LaBanim (the deeds of the fathers are a sign to the sons). In other words, by reading about the things that happened to Israel's great leaders in the past, we can know what will happen to Israel's greatest leader in the future.

In the case of Judas' betrayal, it's crucial to note an almost word-for-word allusion in Matthew 27:5 to the story of David's betrayal in 2 Samuel 17:23. In Matthew 27:5 it says of Judas, “and he went away and hanged himself.” In 2 Samuel 17:23 its says of Ahitophel, David's betrayer, that he “went to his home” and “hanged himself.” In both stories, moreover, the one who betrays Israel's king departs and hangs himself immediately after his request and/or counsel is refused by Israel's corrupt leaders (compare Matt 27:3-4 with 2 Samuel 17:23). This narrative about David's betrayal, in turn, became a prophecy of the Messiah's betrayal in the book of Psalms (see Psalm 41:9[10]; 69:25[26]; 109:8), which in turn is fulfilled by Judas when he betrayed the Messiah Yeshua.

We must learn to read the narratives in the Hebrew Bible like the prophets and the apostles!

It has been my observation over the years that believers overlook many Messianic passages in the Hebrew Bible because they are only looking for Messianic “proof texts.” They fail to realize that biblical narrative is, in many cases, the primary venue for providing us with details about the person and work of the Messiah. If we long, therefore, for a more biblical understanding of the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible, and a greater appreciation for the description of Yeshua in the New Testament, we must learn to read the narratives in the Hebrew Bible like the prophets and the apostles. For they knew quite well that everything which was written in the past was God's preferred method of preparing us for the future!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39).

“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Pet 1:10-11).

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