|Caiaphas, Joseph |
Appointed high priest (after Simon ben Camith) by the procurator Valerius Gratus, under Tiberius. He continued in office from A.D. 26 to 37, when the proconsul Vitellius deposed him. The president of the Jewish council (Sanhedrim) which condemned the Lord Jesus, Caiaphas declaring Him guilty of blasphemy. (See ANNAS , his father-in-law, and father of five High priests, besides having been High priest himself, wielded a power equal to that of Caiaphas, whose deputy (sagan) he probably was. Hence he and Caiaphas are named as high priests together (Luke 3:2); and the band led away the Lord to him first, then to Caiaphas (John 18:13-24). Annas is called the high priest Acts 4:6, perhaps because he presided over the council (Sanhedrin).
The priesthood at the time no longer comprehended the end of their own calling. Providence therefore, while employing him as the last of the sacerdotal order (for it ceased before God at the death of Messiah, the true and everlasting Priest, whose typical forerunner it was) to prophesy Christ's death for the people, left him to judicial blindness as to the deep significance of his words: "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50-52). A proof that the Holy Spirit, not merely man's spirit, is the inspirer of the sacred writers (1 Peter 1:10-12). Balaam similarly was a bad man, yet uttered under the Spirit true and holy prophecies. Unscrupulous vigor, combined with political. shrewdness, characterizes him in the New Testament, as it also kept him in office longer than any of his predecessors. See Matthew 26:3; Matthew 26:57-65.