After several reads I am still struggling to understand the events around Judas' death in the Pilate story. On the face of it, the following things occur:
- Pilate has dinner with Aphranius (head of secret service), and mentions some of Yeshua's friends are plotting to kill Judas, discover how much money he was paid for betraying Yeshua, and return the money to the high priest with a note. Pilate insists all this will happen that same evening. Aphranius expresses surprise and concern at his own failing as he did not have this information.
- Aphranius leaves the palace, orders some of his men out of town with carts 'loaded with entrenching tools and a barrel of water' (side question, is this to do with Judas or is it just for burying the executed men?). He talks with Niza, Judas' love interest. She then tempts Judas to Gethsemane outside the city. Once Judas arrives there, he is killed by Aphranius and his men, who also obtain the bribe money. Aphranius then attaches the note and returns to the palace.
- Aphranius tells Pilate that Judas was killed exactly as Pilate had anticipated, and shows as evidence the money bag with note. He admits failure at having been unable to stop the death, and asks to be tried. Pilate questions him about the death, and Aphranius gives an invented story, carefully avoiding Niza and insisting that it could not have been a woman to tempt Judas to his death.
- Pilate later tells Matthew Levi triumphantly that he killed Judas.
Clearly Pilate did not directly order Aphranius to kill Judas. So was it a veiled order, or a manipulation of Aphranius (in that Aphranius had some reason of his own to kill Judas and this gave Aphranius the chance to blame the murder on Yeshua's followers)?
If it was a veiled order, what hinted to Aphranius that Pilate wanted Judas dead?
If Aphranius had his own motive for killing Judas why? Was he a secret disciple of Yeshua? If so, then why did Pilate have to give the order, couldn't he just rely on the chief spy to get it done at some point?