Believe it or not, one of the biggest questions from skeptics of the Bible has to do with the death of Judas. The claim is that the Bible, which is supposedly the perfect and infallible Word of God, has a major contradiction. So let’s look at the two verses in question and see if we can answer the question, “How did Judas die?”
Matthew 27:5– And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself
Acts 1:18– (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.
Many try to point out that the bible is unclear on the question “How did Judas die?”, but there is much to consider.
The Apostle Matthew speaks about how Judas hung himself, but in the book of Acts it says that he fell headfirst and busted open upon impact on the rocks. The two statements are different, but one doesn’t prove or disprove another. Matthew does not say Judas did not fall and Acts does not say that Judas did not hang himself. It is not a situation where you can’t have one without the other, in fact, both can be true.
To me, there is a very simple explanation. Judas hung himself off the edge of the terrain that overlooks the Valley of Hinnom. As Judas was hanging, whether immediate or after a little time, the branch or rope gave way and Judas fell onto the rocks in the valley which mangled his body. When you consider what the terrain of the bottom of the Valley of Hinnom looks like, this is a very plausible explanation. From the bottom of the valley, you can see sharp pointy rocks twenty five to almost 40 feet in height. Ouch! That would hurt. Ironically enough, the valley of hinnom is also known as Gehenna, the place Christians deem as “hell”.
I believe Louis Gaussen has a great analogy for this. Say a man was determined to kill himself. The young man stands on a 3rd story window sill with a pistol in his hands. He shoots himself and his body falls from the sill 3 stories down to the ground.
On one hand, a spectator can say he shot himself. On the other hand, a spectator can say that he fell 3 stories to the ground. Both of these statements are true just like both statements from Matthew and Acts can be true.
Honestly, to me, when we are talking about the validity of scripture, the evidence is overwhelming. When we focus on such minute details to try and disprove a whole concept of truth, we know the opponent is grasping at straws. So if anyone asks you, “How did Judas die?”, you have yourself an answer!