Judas and Ahithophel


In the course of his treatment of the use of the OT in John’s gospel, Steve Moyise describes M.J.J. Menken’s understanding of the background of Jesus’ statement in John 13:18. Menken suggests that John makes his own translation from the Hebrew of Psalm 41:9, but alters it slightly to bring it closer to the language of 2 Samuel 18:28. The context of this verse is Ahithophel’s betrayal of Jesus, an event in the life of David which Jewish tradition also associates with Psalm 41. Menken observes a number of parallels between the story of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and David’s betrayal by Ahithophel that I hadn’t noticed before.

  • Judas and Ahithophel both hang themselves after the deed (2 Sam 17.23/Matt 27.5).
  • They both plan to do the deed at night (2 Sam 17.1/John 13.30).
  • David and Jesus both pray for deliverance on the Mount of Olives (2 Sam 15.31/Mark 14.26ff.).
  • David and Jesus both cross the Kidron (2 Sam 15.23/John 18.1).
  • It is claimed that the death of one man will bring peace to the people (2 Sam 17.3/John 11.50).

I had seen some of these before, but hadn’t noticed a few of the others.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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2 Responses to Judas and Ahithophel

  1. Rev. says:

    I haven’t seen that comparison before now. Very interesting, especially as I’ve been reading through 1&2 Kings recently.

  2. Nifty! Thanks for posting those!

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