Did You Know?
There is debate among Biblical scholars over Judas Iscariot. I’m not talking about those goofy people who believe that Judas was somehow Jesus’ “chosen one” who was hand-selected by Christ to carry out God’s plan (as seen in the ridiculous 2nd century forgery, the Gospel of Judas). I’m talking about those who believe in the inspiration of the Bible. This debate deals with the question, “What does Iscariot mean?”
There are generally two schools of thought on this one. The predominant view (overwhelmingly so) is that it means “Man from Kerioth,” which is a town in Judah. If indeed this is the case, then it is proof that Judas was the only one of the apostles who wasn’t from Galilee (see Acts 2).
But, there is another possibility, and it is something that you might never have expected. Some believe that Iscariot means “member of the Sicarii.” Now I’m sure you’re wondering, What is the Sicarii? The Sicarii was a sect of the Jews, the most extreme of the Zealots (Simon was a Zealot). These extremists prided themselves on their assassinations of Roman officials, Roman nobility, and prominent Roman sympathizers. They would murder these people in broad daylight, among crowds, that way by the time the victim fell to the ground, they were lost in the crowd. In fact, it was the growth of these actions that later led to the Roman-Jewish War that left Jerusalem in ruins and 1.1 million Jews dead.
And if Judas was one of these kind of men, it puts a whole new twist on his actions. It is a possibility.
-Bradley S. Cobb