Q: #113. How did Judas die? The Bible seems to say two different ways.
A: Critics of the Bible often point to verses in (Mt 27:3-5) and (Acts 1:18) to say the Bible contradicts itself. (Mt 27:5) says Judas “hanged himself,” while (Acts 1:18) says “and falling headlong, he (Judas) burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”
These verses do not contradict each other, but simply give us a complete picture of what happened to Judas. We know for certain that Judas hung himself. Most likely, he died from the hanging. When a person is hung and left for a period of time, the body bloats. This is probably what happened to Judas’ body. Eventually, the rope holding Judas’ body broke, and his dead body fell to the ground and burst open on contact because it was bloated. However, it is also possible that the body simply split open because it fell a great distance.
Some also speculate that the body may have been found by some Jews, who cut the body down upon seeing it, but since they would be defiled if they touched the dead body, they let it drop to the ground and it split open on contact.
It is also possible that Judas may have hung himself over a cliff or from a great height. When he began to hang himself, the rope broke, and he fell to the ground. Upon hitting the ground from the great height, or from falling on the jagged rocks of a cliff, his body split open and he died.
The Bible doesn’t say EXACTLY how Judas died, so any of these explanations are possible, but they are not contradictory.