Yehudah Ish Kryot is probably one of the most hated biblical characters, yet he has been picked out by Yeshua to be one of the twelve disciples. Yehudah Ish Kryot has been able to witness Yeshua’s kindness and His miracles daily. However despite the closeness to the Master, he decided to betray Him.
Yeshua knew that he’d forsake Him and despite all He chose him, because Yehudah was an instrument to fulfill Hashem’s Salvation plan.
While reading the Gospels, I have been intrigued and asked myself the question: did Yehudah partake the Last Meal? I was also curious to understand Yehudah’s motives and betrayal kiss to a deeper level.
Yehudah Ish Kriyot, better known as Judas Iscariot has become a symbol for wickedness and hypocrisy. After the third Century, his character has also been used shamelessly by a growing, antisemitic church as a representation of the Jew in general. This has been widely encouraged by catholic church even after the sixties and seventies ( I’ve seen prayer books in German and in French where the Jews were depicted as the villains, the God-killer and Judas-alike nation. Fortunately, even as a child, I refused to accept these made-up lies.)
Please note: All Gospel quotes used in this article are from the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels.
Man of Kriyot ( or Queriot)
A lot of scholars have developed some ridiculous theories after Judas’ name and family name to explain his wickedness that are based on the Greek language. However, these theories are of great deceit to whoever believes them. So please, get any theory of wickedness and evilness regarding Yehudah Ish Kerioth’s name, because these assumptions have been completely made up, by ignorant people with antisemitic views.
The name Yehudah it is linked with the Hebrew meaning of ” praise” or object of praise”.
“Kryiot” simply refers to a region in the South of Judah, called Kryot. Yehuda was the son of Shim’on, man of Kriyot “Ish Kriyot”( or Kerioth/ Queriot). Yehuda’s place of origin is close to Hebron.
Here are the ruins of Horvath Kerioth, probably the place of origin of Shim’on, Yehudah’s father.
Did Yehudah partake Yeshua’s Last Meal?
It may sound like a shocker , but the Gospels point at Yehuda Ish Kerioth’s paticipation to Yeshua’s Last Meal.
In the Gospel of John, the Last Meal appears to the reader as a turning point, that is actually a point of no return. It gives me the chills to think that our Lord had His whole destiny before His eyes. He knew everything and Yehudah’s heart was unveiled before Him.
“Before the Festival of Pesach, when Yeshua knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to His Father, just as He loved his chosen ones who were in the world, so did He love them until the end.” John 13:1
Note that ” his chosen ones” also includes Yehudah. Yeshua kept loving him, although he knew that he was the one who would bring him to his painful death.
It is during the common meal that Yeshua is sharing with His disciples that the enemy takes possession of Yehudah’s heart.
“At the evening, the satan placed it in the heart of Yehudah ben Shim’on Ish Kriyot to betray him” John 13:2
Luke first puts an emphasis on the priests’ evil intent then underlines Yehuda’s demonic possession- but there is another detail that is so often overlooked: Yeshua was very popular among the people of Israel. The simple folks of Israel had witnessed His signs and miracles and believed in Him.
The leading priests and scholars knew that they had to use a mean trick to get rid of Yeshua.
“The Festival of Matzot, that is the Festival of Pesach, drew near. The leading priests and scholars were seeking a way to kill him, because they were afraid of the people.
Then the satan entered Yehudah who is called Ish Kriyot. He was one of the twelve. He went out and deliberared with the leading priests and the rulers about how he would hand him over to them. They rejoiced and agreed to give him money.”
The fulfilling of the New Covenant
The following picture seems to depict the solemn moment during which Yeshua envisions His Sacrifice and the Redemption of mankind. Now the words of prophet Jeremiah are coming true through our Messiah’s mouth:
“Hinei, the days come, said Hashem, that I will cut a Brit Chadasha ( a New Alliance) with Bais Yisroel ( the House of Israel) and with Bais Yehudah ( the House of Judah).
Not according to the Brit ( Covenant or Alliance) that I cut with their Avot (Fathers) in the day that I took hold of their yad ( hand) to take them out of Eretz Mitzraim ( Egypt), which my Brit ( Alliance) they broke although I was Ba’al ( Husband) to them, said Hashem.
Bur this shall be the Brit ( Alliance) that I will cut with Bais Yisroel; after those days, said Hashem, I will set my Torah in them inwardly and I will write ketuvim ( writings) on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah, Chapter 31 verses 31-33, Orthodox Jewish Bible
The complex timing of Yeshua’s Last Supper in the Gospels
When reading the Gospels’ part about Yeshua’s Last Meal and the celebration of Pesach, I am truly placed before an enigma. Yet everything seems to indicate that there is a difference between the official Pesach and Yeshua’s Last Supper, for several, quite obvious reasons.
Also it is clear that Yeshua didn’t go through the whole week of Pesach, because He died before the end of the Festival of Matzot.
When I asked Yeshua: “Why didn’t you go through the whole celebration?”, He answered to me:
“Because I was the Lamb”.
The more I study Scriptures in context, the less I am convinced that Yeshua died on a Friday.
I used to believe it a great part of my life, but getting deeper into the very meaning of some Tanakh prophecies and having a better knowledge of Jewish customs leads me to think that Yeshua’s crucifixion could have happened much earlier. Please not that ” Erev Shabbat” , Shabbat Eve does not only refer to Friday night, but to the eve of any Jewish feast that is also called ” Shabbat”.
Does it matter to reflect upon the dates of crucifixion and resurrection of our Messiah?
Yes, it DOES MATTER. While some people would probably argue that these details are of no importance, I am rather convinced of the contrary.
- Our Messiah is Jewish. His deeds and His sayings only make sense when put into the right context.
- Our Messiah came to fulfill some important Tanakh prophecies. The sign of Jonah is one of them. If Yeshua was laid to rest on Friday, He could not have spent three days and three nights inside of the earth’s belly.
- Yeshua’s crucifixion, death and resurrection are the most important events in mankind’s history and they still have some implications in our modern world.
Yeshuda’s betrayal kiss. Motives of betrayal.
“Then one of the twelven whose name was Yehudah Ish Kerioth went to the leading priests. He said, ” What will you give me to hand Him over to you?” They counted 30 pieces of silver for him and from that moment, he sought for an opportunity to betray him.” Matthew 26:14-16
Meaning of the kiss in Hebrew culture
A lot of texts from the Bible actually show that a kiss is usually a mark of reverence towards a person. The following, very detailed Hebraic and Torah-based source teaches us that there is even MUCH MORE significance in the act of kissing.
It seems to be linked with LOYALTY, in particular. So kissing Yeshua in this tragic moment is like slapping Him right in the Face.
Quoting the website mentioned above:
“According to the Torah, a kiss is more than just a greeting; it represents loyalty. In the book of Exodus, God instructs Aaron to work with Moses to free the Israelites. Aaron greets Moses with a kiss. The kiss signifies their loyalty to each other, God and their faith. By working together, Aaron and Moses were able to free the Israelites.”
Here one understands better the terrible act Yehudah committed against Yeshua.
Yehuda’s motives for handing over Yeshua: the greed for money or is it something else?
Yehudah happened to be the group of disciples’ accountant. John describes Yehudah as a greedy person and a thief.
Yehudah’s description appears in John, Chapter 12, during the episode of Miryam pouring expensive perfume upon Yeshua:
“One of the disciples, Yehudah ben Shim’on Ish Kriyot who would betray Him said: “Why was the perfume not sold for three hundred dinarim and given to the poor?
He did not say this out of compassion for the poor, but because he was a thief.
The money purse was in his hand and he took from what they placed in it”.
( John 12: 4-6)
While John’s description seems to imply that Yehudah was a dishonest person, Matthew also informs us that after envisoning what he had done in betraying his Master that Yehudah felt some remorse.
Yehudah gave the money back.
We can make the assumption that maybe he tried to save Yeshua’s life by giving the money back to the leading priests. If this hypothesis is true, then it would also explain why he hanged himself after he understood that Yeshua would be sent to an horrible treatment and death, whatever he would do to cancel the consequences of his treason.
Yehudah knew that what he had done was terrible and he was so much desperate that he didn’t believe in Yeshua’s forgiveness any more. His suicide is the image of hell’s despair.
You may hate Yehudah for his horrible treason. But take one minute to look at the story in a more mature and detached way ( understand that it happened this way because it was in Hashem’s Salvation plan).
There is a human drama going on. A man was seduced by the devil, but in a moment of clarity, he realizes the implications of his betrayal. He is feeling some remorse and decides that Yeshua didn’t deserve to suffer and die in such a horrible way.
He would like to make it good again and is convinced that the restitution of the 30 silver coins will ensure Yeshua’s freedom.
He then faces the elder’s wickedness and understands that, no matter what he will do from now on, His innocent Master will be condemned to death.
In this moment, Yehudah doesn’t believe in Yeshua’s forgiveness anymore. He is so desperate and knows that Satan has trapped him for good. Hopeless, the man hangs himself on a tree.
Yehuda’s motives for betrayal
It is quite hard to determine what really motivated the man to betray his Master.
John underlines some of his character traits that clearly tell us that Yehudah was open to corruption. He stole and kept some money that belonged to the community of disciples.
However there might also have been some underlying, more subtle motives:
- We have to bear in mind that many of the disciples expected in the person of the Messiah a person who would physically liberate them from the Roman oppressers. Many simple people in Israel also hoped for the King Messiah to be crowned. Remember that Yeshua fled from the crowd to avoid this. At some point, Yehudah probably stopped believing that Yeshua was the Anointed.
- Since Yehudah used to cheat with money and was opened to corruption, the enemy used his love for money to get him lost.
It is very interesting to put the translation of the OJB ( Orthodox Jewish Bible) of Psalm 41:10 in correlation with Luke 22:21
“Yea mine own ish Shalom ( familiar friend, close friend), in whom I trusted which did eat of my lechem ( bread) had lifted up his heel (i.e, deceitfully showed enmity) against me.” Psalm 41:10
In Luke 22, verse 21, Yeshua states:
“But look, the hand of the one betraying me is on the table. For yes, the Son of Man is going just as it has been determined concerning Him, but how terrible for that man by whom He will be betrayed!”
Note the expression ” Ish Shalom”, “man of peace” in Psalm 41. When Yehudah kisses Yeshua, he greets Him with “Shalom rabbi”.
An occidental mind would say: ” no big deal!” Well yes, it is a BIG DEAL. There is more to the word Shalom than just a “hello”. When you wish “Shalom” upon a person, you also wish upon her well-being. Yehudah was Yeshua’s “Ish Shalom”, man of confidence who ate His bread daily. Yedudah tasted His daily kindness, but at some point, he probably stopped valuing it.
During the dramatic scene in Gethsemane where Yeshudah hugs Yeshua ( which is considered as reverence and trust from Torah-observant people), his mouth wishes upon His Master’s well-being while his heart years for Yeshua’s total demise.
Yehudah’s act had very tragic consequences, but allowed Hashem’s plan to be fulfilled for the sake of mankind.
May Yeshua our Messiah guard our hearts and souls in His immense goodness for us to stay true to Him before He returns. Amen.
Copyright© by Isabelle Esling