Zechariah 11:12–13—How can these verses be part of Zechariah when Matthew 27:9 says they belong to the Book of Jeremiah?

Problem: When Matthew presents the prophetic prediction that related to the death of Judas, he quoted from Jeremiah 32:6–9. However, he also quoted from Zechariah 11:12–13, but he asserts that these quotes are from the prophet Jeremiah. Does the Zephaniah passage actually belong in Jeremiah?

Solution: It is not exactly accurate to say that Matthew quoted exclusively from Zechariah 11 or Jeremiah 32. There are other passages in Jeremiah that refer to the potter’s field (Jer. 18:2; 19:2, 11), and Matthew’s rendering is not an exact quote from any of the passages. Matthew is combining the various elements of these prophecies to make his point. Because Jeremiah is the more prominent prophetic book, Matthew simply mentions Jeremiah’s name as the source of the prophetic message which he is bringing out. Matthew did this earlier (Matt. 5:2) where he cites from two passages (Micah 5:2 and 2 Sam. 5:2). It was a common practice of the day to cite the more popular prophet.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.