Judas had no reason to fear the enemies of Jesus since he had helped them with His arrest. He likely stood in their midst and witnessed the entire trial. Judas became remorseful regarding his actions toward Jesus. It appears that Judas believed that Jesus would not lose His life over this matter. He, out of greed and perhaps anger, betrayed Jesus into their hands, but he was either blind to their desire for His death or he thought Jesus would escape (as he had witnessed many times before). When Jesus was unjustly condemned to die in an exceedingly cruel manner, Judas' actions of betrayal weigh heavily upon his heart. He realizes what he has really done!
It should be acknowledged that it is difficult to place this event chronologically with certainty. Matthew is the only one who mentions Judas' remorse, and he places it immediately after the end of the Jewish parts of the trial. However, it seems unlikely that Judas would have been able to have this dialogue with the chief priests at that moment since it is highly probable that all of the Jewish religious leaders went with the group to Pilate to press him for Jesus' execution (cf. Mark 15:1). Also, it is certain that the decision regarding what to do with the money would not have happened at that time. Hence, it seems likely that Matthew simply inserts the event here in order to prevent interrupting the subsequent narration. In all likelihood, Judas witnessed Jesus' death sentence before Pilate and then went back to the temple, where he then found some of the chief priests fulfilling their morning obligations in the temple.
"I have sinned by betraying innocent blood" (cf. Exo. 23:7). Judas' words convey an intense amount of regret. He admits there was no good reason for him to do what he did. If Judas had known of any offense on Jesus' part, he would have mentioned it in order to ease his own conscience, but he, as an apostle, being more familiar with Jesus than nearly anyone else, knew nothing of which to accuse Him! These words are a powerful testimony to the innocence of Christ!
"What is that to us? You see to it!" - The response of the Jewish religious leaders shows that they didn't care anything about their partner in crime or whether Jesus was really guilty. At this point there was really nothing that Judas could do to undo his dishonorable deeds. The Jewish leaders had used Judas to get to Jesus at night, but they hadn't used him to convict Jesus. They used Jesus' "blasphemy" for this. Thus, anything that Judas might say in Jesus' defense would be considered immaterial by them.
"Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matt. 27:5). Since they would not accept the blood money, Judas cast it down before them as a thing he hated. Although it glittered in his eyes the night before, he now despised it as a thing accursed, realizing how worthless his prize was considering the wicked means he employed to win it. It is worth observing that as bad as Judas was, there is one point in which he did well; that is, in returning the money. How many are alive today who seek ill-gotten gain and never think to return it?
We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.