From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Caiaphas, or Joseph Caiaphas, was appointed high priest in a.d. 18 by Valerius Gratus, and held office till a.d. 36, when he was removed by Vitellius (Jos. Ant . xviii. ii. 2, iv. 3). He was son-in-law of Annas (cf. articleAnnas). Like most of the priests at this period, Caiaphas was a Sadducee in religion. By his masterly policy of conciliating his Roman masters he was able to retain his office for an unusually long period. His craft and subtle diplomacy as well as his supreme disregard for justice and religion are revealed in the advice he gave to the assembled Sanhedrin after Jesus had won the people by the raising of Lazarus-‘It is expedient that one die for the people’ ( John 11:50). Caiaphas saw clearly that if a popular movement in favour of Jesus were aroused, his power and position under Rome would be at an end, and he sought at once to give effect to his own advice. The trial of Jesus in his presence was a travesty of all legal procedure. Failing to obtain evidence from witnesses, he adjured the prisoner to declare whether or not He was the Messiah; and on Jesus declaring He was, the pious hypocrite rent his clothes, shocked at the blasphemy of the answer. Caiaphas is a type of the wily ecclesiastical opportunist, who places the success of himself and the institution he represents before all claims of truth or justice. Such a character is always ready to persecute, and in the Apostolic Church Caiaphas appears as a bitter persecutor of the apostles ( Acts 4:6). He is probably the high priest referred to in  Acts 5:17-21;  Acts 5:27;  Acts 7:1;  Acts 9:1 who imprisoned Peter and John, presided at the trial of Stephen, caused the persecution recorded in Acts 8, and gave Saul of Tarsus letters to Damascus to apprehend the Christians there.

Literature.-Josephus, passim  ; Schürer, GJV [Note: JV Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (Schürer).]4 ii. [1907] 256, 271; article‘Caiaphas’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) (M‘Clymont) and Dict. of Christ and the Gospels (C. A. Scott); E. Nestle, ‘The Name “Caiaphas,” ’ in Expository Times x. [1898-99] 185; W. M. Clow, In the Day of the Cross , 1898, p. 9ff., J. B. Lightfoot, Sermons in St. Paul’s Cathedral , 1891, p. 75; A. Maclaren, Christ in the Heart , 1886, p. 255.

W. F. Boyd.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

high priest of the Jews, succeeded Simon, son of Camith; and after possessing this dignity nine years, from A.M. 4029 to 4038, he was succeeded by Jonathan, son of Ananas, or Annas. Caiaphas was high priest, A.M. 4037, which was the year of Jesus Christ's death. He married a daughter of Annas, who also is called high priest in the Gospel, because he had long enjoyed that dignity. When the priests deliberated on the seizure and death of Jesus Christ, Caiaphas declared, that there was no room for debate on that matter, "because it was expedient that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation should not perish,"

 John 11:49-50 . This sentiment was a prophecy, which God suffered to proceed from the mouth of the high priest on this occasion, importing, that the death of Jesus would be for the salvation of the world. When Judas had betrayed Jesus, he was first taken before Annas, who sent him to his son- in-law, Caiaphas, who possibly lived in the same house,  John 18:24 . The priests and doctors of the law there assembled to judge our Saviour, and to condemn him. The depositions of certain false witnesses being insufficient to justify a sentence of death against him, and Jesus continuing silent, Caiaphas, as high priest, said to him, "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God!" To this adjuration, so solemnly made by the superior judge, Jesus answered, "Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." On hearing these words, Caiaphas rent his clothes, saying, "What farther need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?" They answered, "He is worthy of death." And as the power of life and death was not at this time in their hands, but was reserved by the Romans, they conducted him to Pilate, that he might confirm their sentence, and order his execution.

Two years after this, Vitellus, governor of Syria, coming to Jerusalem at the passover, was received very magnificently by the people. As an acknowledgment for this honour, he restored the custody of the high priest's ornaments, to the priests, he remitted certain duties raised on the fruits of the earth, and deposed the high priest Caiaphas. From this it appears that Caiaphas had fallen under popular odium, for his deposition was to gratify the people.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

As Jewish high priest in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, Caiaphas is chiefly remembered for his part in the crucifixion of Jesus. He was son-in-law of the former high priest Annas ( John 18:13), he became high priest before Jesus began his ministry ( Luke 3:2), and he was still high priest in the days of the early church ( Acts 4:6).

During the time of Jesus, the members of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish Council) became increasingly hostile to him as they saw his fame growing. They feared that, if the Jews accepted Jesus as their Messiah and rebelled against Rome, the Romans would respond by crushing the Jews ( John 11:47-48). Caiaphas, as leader of the Sanhedrin, suggested they get rid of Jesus. In his view, one man’s death would save the nation. The words of Caiaphas had a prophetic meaning that he did not realize; for Jesus’ death would indeed be a means of salvation, not just for Jewish people, but for people of all nations ( John 11:49-52).

Acting upon the advice of Caiaphas, the Jews plotted to arrest Jesus ( John 11:53;  Matthew 26:3-5). In the middle of the night, only a few hours before the dawn of Passover day, they captured him and took him to the house where Annas and Caiaphas lived. He was questioned first by Annas ( John 18:12-14) and then by the Sanhedrin, whom Caiaphas had assembled in his house ( Matthew 26:57-58).

In reply to a question from Caiaphas, Jesus said that he truly was the Messiah from heaven and he was about to receive his eternal kingdom. Caiaphas promptly accused him of blasphemy. Although the meeting’s conduct and verdict were illegal according to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin had no hesitation in condemning Jesus to death ( Matthew 26:59-66;  Mark 14:61-64; see Sanhedrin ).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

High priest of the Jews, A. D. 27 to 36. He was a Sadducee, and a bitter enemy of Christ. At his palace the priests, etc., met after the resurrection of Lazarus, to plot the death of the Savior, lest all the people should believe on him. On one of these occasions,  John 11:47-54 , he counseled the death of Christ for the political salvation of the nation; and his words were, unconsciously to him, an inspired prediction of the salvation of a lost world. These plots against Christ,  Matthew 26:1-5   Mark 14:1   Luke 22:2 , led to his seizure, and he was brought first before Annas, formerly high priest, who sent him to Caiaphas his son-in-law. See  Matthew 26:57-68   Mark 14:53-72   Luke 22:54-71   John 18:13-27 . Not content with procuring the death of the Savior, Caiaphas and his friends violently persecuted his followers,  Acts 4:1-6   5:17,33 . But a few years after the ascension of Christ, and soon after the degradation of Pilate, Caiaphas also was deposed from office by the Roman proconsul Vitellius. Like Balaam of the Old Testament, he is a melancholy instance of light resisted, privilege, station, and opportunity abused, and prophetic words concerning Christ joined with a life of infidelity and crime and a fearful death.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

CAIAPHAS . Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas (  John 18:13 ), was high priest between a.d. 18 and 36; and thus ‘the memorable year’ of our Lord’s trial fell in the course of his pontificate (  John 11:51;   John 18:13 ). He was, like all the priestly order, a Sadducee; and he was a man of masterful temper, with his full share of the insolence which was a Sadducæan characteristic. He figures thrice in the NT. 1 . After the raising of Lazarus, the rulers, alarmed at the access of popularity which it brought to Jesus, convened a meeting of the Sanhedrin to determine what should be done. Caiaphas presided ex officio , and with a high hand forced a resolution that Jesus should be put to death (  John 11:47 ff.). 2 . He presided at the subsequent meeting of the Sanhedrin when Jesus was tried and condemned; and there again he displayed his character by his open determination to find Him guilty, and his shameless disregard of the forms of law in order to bring about that end (  John 18:24 ,   Matthew 26:57-68 =   Mark 14:53-65 =   Luke 22:66-71 ). 3 . He took part in the examination of Peter and John (  Acts 4:6 ).

David Smith.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Ca'iaphas or Ca-i'aphas. (Depression). In full, Joseph Caiaphas , high priest of the Jews, under Tiberius.  Matthew 26:3;  Matthew 26:57;  John 11:49;  John 18:13-14;  John 18:24;  John 18:28;  Acts 4:6. The procurator, Valerius Gratus, appointed him to the dignity. He was son-in-law of Annas. See Annas .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Caiaphas ( Kâ'Ya-Fas ), Depression. A high priest of the Jews, a.d. 27-36, and presided over the Sanhedrin at the tune of our Saviour's trial.  John 11:49;  John 11:51. The office was formerly held for life, but at this time the high priest was appointed at the pleasure of the Roman government. The raising of Lazarus angered the Sanhedrin, and Caiaphas turned their thoughts toward the execution of the hated and feared teacher Jesus by deliberately advising his death on the plea of expediency. His language was unconscious prophecy.  John 11:49-52. Caiaphas was deposed by the proconsul Vitellius, 36 a.d.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Luke 3:2 Matthew 26:3,57 John 11:49 18:13,14 Acts 5:17 John 11:50 Matthew 27:2 John 18:28 Acts 4:6Annas

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

A name and person, memorable in Scripture from being overruled by God the Ho1y Ghost to deliver a prophecy the very reverse of his own wishes, and like another Balaam, to pronounce good when he intended evil. (See  John 11:49-52)

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Matthew 26:3

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

( Κα Þ Άφας , perhaps from the Chald. כִּיְפָא , Depression), called by Josephus (Ant. 18:2, 2) Joseph Caiaphas ( Ι᾿Ώσηπος , Καὶ Καιάφας ) , was high- priest of the Jews in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, at the beginning of our Lord's public ministry ( Luke 3:2), A.D. 25, and also at the time of his condemnation and crucifixion ( Matthew 26:3;  Matthew 26:57;  John 11:49;  John 18:13-14;  John 18:24;  John 18:28;  Acts 4:6), A.D. 29. The Procurator Valerius Gratus, shortly before his leaving the province (A.D. 25), appointed him to the dignity, which was before held by Simon ben-Camith. He held it during the whole procuratorship of Pontius Pilate, but soon after his removal fromthat office was deposed by the Proconsul Vitellius (A.D. 36), and succeeded by Jonathan, son of Ananus (Joseph. Ant. 18:4, 3). Some in the ancient Church confounded him with the historian Josephus, and believed him to have become a convert to Christianity (Assemani, Biblioth. Orient. 2:165). His wife was the daughter of Annas, or Ananus, who had formerly been high-priest, and who still possessed great influence and control in sacerdotal matters, several of his family successively holding the high- priesthood. The names of Annas and Caiaphas are coupled by Luke, "Annas and Caiaphas being the high-priests;" and this has given occasion to no small amount of discussion. Some maintain that Annas and Caiaphas then discharged the functions of the high priesthood by turns; but this isnot reconcilable with the statement of Josephus. Others think that Caiaphas is called high-priest, because he then actually exercised the functions of the office, and that Annas is so called because he had formerly filled the situation. But it does not thus appear why, of those who held the high- priesthood before Caiaphas, Annas in particular should be named, and not Ishmael, Eliazer, or Simon, who had all served the office more recentlythan Annas. Hence Kuinol and others consider it as the more probable opinion that. Caiaphas was the high-priest, but that Annas was his vicar or deputy, called in the Hebrew סָגָן , Sagans. Nor can that office be thought unworthy of a man who had filled the pontifical office, since the dignity of sagan was also great. Thus, for instance, on urgent occasions he mighteven enter the Holy of Holies (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. ad  Luke 3:2). Nor ought it to seem strange or unusual that the vicar of a high-priest should be called by that name. For if, as it appears, those who had once held theoffice were after by courtesy called high-priests, with greater justice might Annas, who was both a pontifical person and high-priest's vicar, be so called. In fact, the very appellation of high-priest is given to a sagan by Josephus (Ant. 17:6, 4). (See the commentators on  Luke 3:2, particularly Hammond, Lightfoot, Kuinol, and Bloomfield.) (See Annas). Caiaphas belonged to the sect of the Sadducees ( Acts 5:17). (See Hecht, De Sadducceismo Caiaphce, Bud. 1718.) (See High-Priest).

The wonderful miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead convinced many of the Jews that Christ was sent fromi God; and the chief priests and the Pharisees,. alarmed at the increase of his followers, summoned a council, and pretended that their liberties were in danger; that the Romans would become jealous of them, and that their destruction was inevitable if something were not done at once to check his progress. Caiaphas was a member of the council, and expressed his decided opinion in favor of putting Jesus to death, as the only way of saving the nation from the evils which his success would bring upon them. His language was, "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 11:49). This counsel was wicked and unjust in the highest degree; but as there was no offense charged, it seemed the only plausible excuse for putting Christto death. The high-priest's language on this occasion was prophetic, though he did not intend it so. The evangelist, in giving an account of this extraordinary occurrence, enlarges on the prophetic language of the high- priest, and shows the extent and blessedness of the dispensation of mercy through Jesus Christ. Nothing of this, however, was in the mind of the cruel and bigoted high-priest. After Christ was arrested, he was first takenbefore Annas, who sent him to his son-in-law Caiaphas, who probably lived in the same house; he was then arraigned before Caiaphas, and an effortwas made to produce false testimony sufficient for his condemnation. This expedient failed; for though two persons appeared to testify, they did not agree, and at last Caiaphas put our Savior himself upon oath that he should say whether he was indeed the Christ, the Son of God, or not. The answer. was, of course, in the affirmative (q.v.), and was accompanied with a declaration of his Divine power and majesty. The high-priest pretended to be greatly grieved at what he considered the blasphemy (q.v.) of our Savior's pretensions, and forthwith appealed to his enraged enemies to say if this was not enough. They answered at once that he deserved to die, and then, in the very presence of Caiaphas, and without any restraint from him, they fell upon their guiltless victim with insults and injuries. As Caiaphas had no power to inflict the punishment of death, Christ was taken from him to Pilate, the Roman governor, that his execution might be duly ordered ( Matthew 26:3;  Matthew 26:57;  John 18:13;  John 18:28). The bigoted fury of Caiaphas exhibited itself also against the first efforts of the apostles ( Acts 4:6).

Treatises more or less general on the character and conduct of Calaphas in the above transaction have been written in Latin by Baumgarten-Crusius- (Opusc. p. 149 sq.), Hase (Brem. 1703, also in Iken's Thesaur. 2:549 sq.), Hecht (Buding. 1719), Haufen (Viteb. 1713), Hoder (Upsal, 1771), Hofmann (in Menthenii Thes. 2:216-222), Lungershausen (Jea. 1695), Saltznann (Argent. 1742), Scharbau (Lubec, 1715), Schickendanz (Fcft. and V. 1772), Weber (Viteb. 1807), Seltner (Altdorf, 1721); in French by Dupin (Paris, 1829). See also Evans, Script. Biog. 2:257.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

kā´a - fas , kı̄´a - fas ( Καΐαφας , Kaiáphas  ; Caiaphas = Kephas (compare Dods in Expositor's Greek Test , I, 803), and has also been interpreted as meaning "depression"): Caiaphas was the surname of Joseph, a son-in-law of Annas (compare  John 18:13 ), who filled th e post of high priest from about 18-36 ad, when he was deposed by Vitellius (compare Josephus, Ant , Xviii , ii, 2; iv, 3). He is mentioned by Luke as holding office at the time of John the Baptist's preaching in the wilderness ( Luke 3:2 ).

Caiaphas took a leading part in the trial and condemnation of Jesus. It was in his court or palace that the chief priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees, who together constituted the Sanhedrin, assembled "that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him" (compare  Matthew 26:3 ,  Matthew 26:4;  John 11:49 ). The regal claims of the new Messiah and the growing fame of His works had made them to dread both the vengeance of imperial Rome upon their nation, and the loss of their own personal authority and prestige (compare  John 11:48 ). But Caiaphas pointed a way out of their dilemma: let them bide their time till the momentary enThusiasm of the populace was spent (compare  Matthew 26:5 ), and then by the single sacrifice of Jesus they could at once get rid of a dangerous rival and propitiate the frowns of Rome (compare  John 11:49 ,  John 11:50;  John 18:14 ). The commentary of John upon this ( John 11:51 ,  John 11:52 ) indicates how the death of Jesus was indeed to prove a blessing not only for Israel but also for all the children of God; but not in the manner which the cold-blooded statecraft of Caiaphas intended. The advice of the high priest was accepted by the Sanhedrin ( John 11:53 ), and they succeeded in arresting Jesus. After being led "to Annas first" ( John 18:13 ), Jesus was conducted thence in bonds to Caiaphas ( John 18:24 ), According to Mt He was led immediately upon His arrest to Caiaphas ( Matthew 26:57 ). Mk and Lk do not refer to Caiaphas by name. His conduct at this preliminary trial of Jesus ( Matthew 26:57-68 ), its time and its procedure, were almost entirely illegal from the standpoint of then existing Jewish law (compare Jesus Christ , Trial Of; and A. Taylor Innes, The Trial of Jesus Christ ). False witnesses were first called, and when Jesus refused to reply to their charges, Caiaphas asked of Him if He were "the Christ, the Son of God" ( Matthew 26:63 ). Upon our Lord's answering "Thou hast said" ( Matthew 26:64 ), Caiaphas "rent his garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard the blasphemy" ( Matthew 26:65 ). Upon this charge was Jesus found "worthy of death" ( Matthew 26:66 ). Caiaphas is also mentioned in  Acts 4:6 as being among those who presided over the trial of Peter and John.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Cai´aphas, whom Josephus calls Joseph Caiaphas, was high-priest of the Jews in the reign of Tiberius Caesar (). We learn from Josephus that he succeeded Simon the son of Camith (about A.D. 27 or 28), and held the office nine years, when he was deposed. His wife was the daughter of Annas, or Ananus, who had formerly been high-priest, and who still possessed great influence and control in sacerdotal matters, several of his family successively holding the high-priesthood. The names of Annas and Caiaphas are coupled by Luke—'Annas and Caiaphas being the high-priests;' and this has given occasion to no small amount of discussion. The most probable opinion is that Caiaphas was the high-priest, and that Annas was his vicar or deputy. Caiaphas is the high-priest who rent his clothes, and declared Jesus to be worthy of death. When Judas had betrayed him, our Lord was first taken to Annas, who sent him to Caiaphas (), who perhaps abode in another part of the same palace. What became of Caiaphas after his deposition in A.D. 38, is not known.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

The High-Priest of the Jews who condemned Christ to death as a violator of the law of Moses.