Better Never Been Born

"The son of man goeth as it is written of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born." Matt. 26:24. Mark 14:21. Luke

It is said that this language cannot be true of Judas, if he is ever to be redeemed, no matter how much he may have suffered previously. The answer to this is, that this was a proverbial expression among the Jews, and was not employed literally. Job says: "Let the day perish wherein I was born." Job iii:3. Solomon said: "If a man live many years, and his soul be not filled with good; and also that he hath no burial; I say that an untimely birth is better than he."—Eccles. 6:3.

The commentator, Kenrick, says: "'It had been good for him, if he had never been born,' is a proverbial phrase, and not to be understood literally; for it is not consistent with our ideas of the divine goodness to make the existence of any being a curse to him, or to cause him to suffer more, upon the whole, than he enjoys happiness. Rather than do this, God would not have created him at all. But as it is usual to say of men who are to endure some grievous punishment or dreadful calamity, that it would have been better for them never to have been born, Christ, foreseeing what Judas would bring upon himself, by delivering up his Master into the hands of his enemies, applies this language to him."

Dr. Clarke quotes the common use of the saying. In Shemoth Rabba, sect. 40 fol. 135, 1,2, it is said, "Whosoever knows the law, and does not do it, it had been better for him had he never come into the world. In Vayikra Rabba, sec. 26, fol. 179, 4, and Midrash Coheleth, fol. 91, 4, it is thus expressed: 'It were better for him had he never been created; and it would have been better for him had he been strangled in the womb, and never have seen the light of this world.'

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