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The Sanhedrin

The Sanhedrin

Excerpt
The next day the supreme council or Sanhedrin meets, what Luke calls the rulers, elders, and scribes (4:5). Some antecedent to this body was likely organized by Ezra after the exile (cf. Ezra 5:5Neh. 2:16; etc.). By Peter’s time it is modeled after the group of seventy elders who assisted Moses (Num. 11:16–24Mishnah Sanhedrin 1.16). This court has come to exercise wide-ranging powers, functioning as the final authority in religious matters and handling many domestic political cases as well. The high priest presides over the assembly, with former high priests, members of privileged families, and noted jurists on the court with him. In earlier days the Sanhedrin was made up chiefly of Sadducees, but around 67 b.c. Pharisees gained in power. Now both parties are found in some strength in the Sanhedrin (cf. Acts 5:34–4023:6–10).
The present meeting seems to be a specially called one. The councillors sit in a semicircle, with the presiding officer (high priest) and his clerks in prominent positions. From a.d. 6 to 15, Annas has been high priest with present influence and prestige shown by continued use of his title. With him are his son-in-law Caiaphas, now high priest (a.d. 18–36; John 18:1324); John (perhaps Annas’s son Jonathan, who follows Caiaphas as high priest); and Alexander, otherwise unknown but also a member of the powerful high-priestly family (4:6Luke 3:2). All are linked with the temple and are determined opponents of the new messianic movement centered in Jesus. More
Faw, Chalmer Ernest. Acts. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1993. Print. Believers Church Bible Commentary.
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