Most perceived inconsistencies or contradictions that are hailed as proof the Bible is not divinely inspired are the product of anti-God fantasy and ignorance of the Bible. Such is the case of the death of Judas Iscariot, was he hung or did he fall off a clif and bust open?
In reading Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 some find a contradiction in the way Judas died. A little study and reason will solve the problem.
Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
First, notice that it does not say in Acts that bursting asunder is the way he died, it just says that it happen to him. The following is the course of the events that took place leading to the death of Judas Iscariot as recorded in the Scriptures.
John 13:26-27 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Judas being an unrepentant thief and evildoer was chosen by God to fulfill the prophecies concerning the betrayer of Christ. At the time to do the deed, as the Scriptures say, Satan enter into him to guarantee his plan. This was necessary as we shall see later. Judas goes to the Priests and makes his deal and goes out and betrays Jesus. This having been accomplished and Satan having no more need of Judas departs from him. Satan’s motto: use’m, abuse’m, lose’m.
At this point, human nature and conscience take over and Judas realizes what he has done and guilt sets in and he repents of his actions. See why Satan had to give Judas a little help?
Matthew 27:3-4 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
Sometime between the betrayal of Jesus and the priest taking him to Pilate, Judas goes to the priest and tries to undo his deal. The priests being fine fellows were not about to admit any guilt on their part, would not offer Judas absolution, nor take his money back. So Judas knows he is condemned, the priest I am sure mentioned it to him. But unable to take him to trial without admitting their involvement they tell Judas, “What is that to us? see thou to that.” which is tantamount to saying go kill yourself.
In a state of despair and depression, Judas takes them up on it and goes out and sees to it hanging himself. This is shortly after he leaves the priests who are taking Jesus to Pilate or thereabout. He is probably stepping off into eternity while the priests are lobbing their accusations and Pilate is examining Jesus. Judas is hanging during the time Christ is being worked over and crucified, probably six to eight hours. He is getting ripe and bloating up with gases from the decomposition when something happens, there is an earthquake.
Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
At the Lord’s death round about 1800, 6:00 PM for some, an earthquake happens. Judas’ limb breaks, tree falls, rope snaps, six of one half a dozen of another, take your pick. His bloated body falls and burst open.
Now unless you just want to belittle and disparage the Bible, there is nothing unreasonable to this scenario. Peter, in Acts as recorded by Luke, just assumes or knows that everyone being spoken to knows that Judas hung himself simply moves on to the end results. I do not know how else you could account for him “falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”