Matthew 26: 14-16
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Matthew 26: 47-50
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”
Matthew 27: 3 -10
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus[a] was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”
In prophecy, Zechariah references the thirty pieces of silver after his work as a shepherd. When he asked those he worked for to cash him out they gave him thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. This is the price to be paid for a slave’s accidental death. This amount was meant to insult Zechariah. God tells Zechariah to “throw it to the potter” and Zechariah tosses the money into the house of the Lord to be given to the potter.
As a rule, silver references redemption. The thirty pieces are the price of a common slave. So the amount and the content are consistent with Christ’s redemptive work.
It is interesting that those that paid Judas the money consider it “blood money” and don’t want to touch it. The settlement isn’t to refuse the money, but to do something gracious with it: namely, to buy the potter’s field.
At $15 an ounce, the silver content would be roughly $200 today.