Judas: the Graecized form of Judah. (1.) The patriarch (Matt. 1:2, 3).
(2.) Son of Simon (John 6:71; 13:2, 26), surnamed Iscariot,
i.e., a man of Kerioth (Josh. 15:25). His name is uniformly the
last in the list of the apostles, as given in the synoptic
(i.e., the first three) Gospels. The evil of his nature probably
gradually unfolded itself till "Satan entered into him" (John
13:27), and he betrayed our Lord (18:3). Afterwards he owned his
sin with "an exceeding bitter cry," and cast the money he had
received as the wages of his iniquity down on the floor of the
sanctuary, and "departed and went and hanged himself" (Matt.
27:5). He perished in his guilt, and "went unto his own place"
(Acts 1:25). The statement in Acts 1:18 that he "fell headlong
and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out,"
is in no way contrary to that in Matt. 27:5. The sucide first
hanged himself, perhaps over the valley of Hinnom, "and the rope
giving way, or the branch to which he hung breaking, he fell
down headlong on his face, and was crushed and mangled on the
rocky pavement below."
Why such a man was chosen to be an apostle we know not, but it
is written that "Jesus knew from the beginning who should betray
him" (John 6:64). Nor can any answer be satisfactorily given to
the question as to the motives that led Judas to betray his
Master. "Of the motives that have been assigned we need not care
to fix on any one as that which simply led him on. Crime is, for
the most part, the result of a hundred motives rushing with
bewildering fury through the mind of the criminal."
(3.) A Jew of Damascus (Acts 9:11), to whose house Ananias was
sent. The street called "Straight" in which it was situated is
identified with the modern "street of bazaars," where is still
pointed out the so-called "house of Judas."
(4.) A Christian teacher, surnamed Barsabas. He was sent from
Jerusalem to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas with the
decision of the council (Acts 15:22, 27, 32). He was a "prophet"
and a "chief man among the brethren."