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January 17

Inspired by a Biblical Account: Hank Williams’ ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’

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“Tis a sad but true story
From the bible it came
And it tells us how Judas
Sold the savior in shame
He planned with the council
Of high priest that day
30 pieces of silver
Was the price they would pay”

…goes the first stanza of this Hank Williams’ song.

The Bible. Judas. Jesus. 30 pieces of silver.

These words may seem very familiar to you. Yes, it is, an account from the bible that narrates how Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot for just 30 pieces of silver.

Matthew 26:14-16

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. 

(Matthew 26:14-16)

According to an account in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, Judas Iscariot was a disciple of Jesus. He is said to have gone to the chief priests and agreed to hand over Jesus in exchange for 30 silver coins. This happened before The Last Supper of Jesus and his apostles.

Jesus was then arrested in Gethsemane, where Judas revealed the identity to the soldiers by giving him a kiss.

However, filled with guilt and remorse, Judas attempted to return the money afterward before hanging himself.

Thirty Pieces of Silver and Hank Williams

Written and recorded by Hank Williams Sr., Thirty Pieces of Silver was inspired by Matthew’s account. This country gospel classic went on to be a hit and trademark of Williams, especially to churchgoers and believers.

Despite his short life, Williams has had a major influence on country music. In all, Hank Williams recorded 35 singles. Of these, 11 songs ranked number one in the Billboard Country &Western Best Sellers chart. With five of the 35 songs released posthumously, he earned a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 2010, the Pulitzer Board awarded Williams a special citation for songwriting, 57 years after his death.


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