As I read through the Bible, I try and keep my eyes open for connections with other parts of Scripture. Though written by many different human authors separated by centuries, the Bible really is a single book with a single message. Therefore, catching rays of light from different angles in our reading can enrich the spectrum of our understanding.
I’ve been reading and re-reading through the Minor Prophets, and have been stuck on Amos for a while. In a couple of different places, Amos made me think about Judas, and Jesus.
Amos 2:7 (NAS) occurs within the eight-fold address to the nations, and then to Judah and Israel concerning their offenses and punishments. Concerning Israel, God says “I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money, And the needy for a pair of sandals.” The phrase, “the righteous” can refer to “the company of the righteous,” or, “all those identified as being righteous.” But it is singular. And so it could be translated and read as “the Righteous One.” “They sell the Righteous One for money.”
Matthew 26:14-15 (NAS): “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighted out thirty pieces of silver to him.”
It seems that Judas, rather than entering into covenant with Jesus, entered into covenant with the unbelieving Jewish leaders. The Book of Ruth (4:7-8) shows the use of a sandal in enacting a legal decision, and Amos follows his reference of selling the righteous with selling “the needy for a pair of sandals.”
The other Amos reference is in 5:12: “For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, You who distress the righteous (the Righteous One) and accept bribes And turn aside the poor in the gate.” This distress is recorded in the John 13:18, which quotes from Psalm 41:9: account, as shown in Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”
Judas did nothing new. His fathers had practiced the behaviors of betrayal for lifetimes, readying Judas to do the unthinkable, joining forces with the devil as opposed to submitting to the Lordship of Christ. We break free from this heritage and pattern only through the in breaking of God’s grace, who turns us toward Jesus.