Judas was famously paid 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. But Mark and Matthew seem to differ over when he was paid. This is Mark 14:10-11:
By contrast, this is Matthew 26:14-16:
The surrounding verses in Mark and Matthew are exactly the same, so this is clearly the same incident. But Mark says the priests only promised to pay him, whereas Matthew has them pay immediately. (Luke's account is ambiguous, and John doesn't mention the money.)
I can think of two inerrantist responses, neither of them very satisfying:
But I think neither of these is too likely - the natural readings of both texts are clear enough.
Matthew, of course, based his gospel on Mark's. Why change this bit? The answer becomes clear when we get to Matthew 27:3, at which point Judas returns the silver to the elders. Obviously, to make this work Matthew has to have Judas paid before this point, hence the alteration. I think such deliberate edits should worry any inerrantist.
It's been pointed out to me that the ESV's translation of Matthew 26 is slightly non-literal, and a more literal translation would look like this:
This seems to open up the possibility that Judas was merely shown the money at this point. Still, given that Matthew later mentions Judas returning the money, it seems to me that he expects his readers to infer that Judas was paid at this earlier point. Also, these events in Matthew are a strong allusion to Zechariah 11:12-13, in which a payment definitely occurs when the money is "weighed out". So Matthew's meaning seems clear.
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