John 11:49 MEANING

John 11:49
(49) And one of them, named Caiaphas.--Comp. Notes on Matthew 26:3; Luke 3:2. His proper name was Joseph, and the name Caiaphas is the Syriac form of Cephas. He, like Peter, took the name of "Rockman," as a title to indicate his work! For the succession of high priests at this time, see Jos. Ant. xviii. 2, ? 2. Caiaphas himself was priest from A.D. 26-36.

Being the high priest that same year.--The words occur again in John 11:51 and in John 18:13. They are used with a solemnity of meaning to express "that fatal and decisive year."

Ye know nothing at all.--There had probably been various suggestions made by different members of the Sanhedrin which seemed to him to miss the mark, or to fall short of the one means which would have a successful issue.

Verse 49. - But a certain one of them, (named) Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all. Among the divided interests and irresolute fears of the Pharisees, who had not made up their minds as to the right course to pursue, "one of them," i.e. of the council, a man of firm will and hectoring disposition, had a clear though devilish purpose of political expediency, and a stern resolve, if he could, to repress the inconvenient manifestation of religious earnest-ness - Caiaphas. We know that Annas is spoken of as ἀρχιερεὺς in John 18:15, 19. And Annas and Caiaphas are both said to be "high priests" (Luke 3:2). In Acts 4:6 Annas is spoken of as high priest, Caiaphas being associated with "John and Alexander." This becomes more comprehensible when we learn from Josephus ('Ant.,' 18:02. 2 and 4. 3) that Valerius Gratus (in the year A.D. ) had deprived Annas (or Hanan, Ananias, Ananas) of the office, "when he had held it for seven years." So great, however, was the influence of Annas, that, either to consult his temper or that of the people, who would consider him the legal high priest, the office was conferred upon members of his family in succession, first on Ishmael, then on Eleazer the son of Ishmael, then on Simon his son, and finally on Joseph Caiaphas (who is declared by St. John (John 18:13) to be the son-in-law of Annas, thus explaining his appointment on the one hand, and the continued influence on the other of the unscrupulous Annas, who was high priest de jure). Joseph Caiaphas held the office from A.D. to A.D. , and thus throughout the ministry of Jesus. The apostle's remark (repeated John 18:13) that he was "high priest that same year" has been set down by Strauss, Scholton, and others to ignorance on the part of the writer of the Hebrew law of the priesthood. This is excessively improbable, even with a late author of the second century, who evidently knew as much concerning Judaea and its history as the author of the Fourth Gospel did indubitably possess. It is enough that the evangelist singles out "that memorable year" (Lucke, Meyer and Lunge, etc.) of the death of Christ; and remarks on the man who was holding the position at this solemn time, with obvious reference to the fact that now for many years the functions of the high priest were discharged only at the pleasure of the Roman governor, who might, as Caiaphas himself said, abolish the office altogether if he chose arbitrarily to do so. The first words of Caiaphas, "Ye know nothing at all," are brusque, rough, imperious, but are quite akin to what we know elsewhere of the manners of the man (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:08. 14), and of the aristocratic clique of which he was the head.

11:47-53 There can hardly be a more clear discovery of the madness that is in man's heart, and of its desperate enmity against God, than what is here recorded. Words of prophecy in the mouth, are not clear evidence of a principle of grace in the heart. The calamity we seek to escape by sin, we take the most effectual course to bring upon our own heads; as those do who think by opposing Christ's kingdom, to advance their own worldly interest. The fear of the wicked shall come upon them. The conversion of souls is the gathering of them to Christ as their ruler and refuge; and he died to effect this. By dying he purchased them to himself, and the gift of the Holy Ghost for them: his love in dying for believers should unite them closely together.And one of them, named Caiaphas,.... See Gill on Matthew 26:3, See Gill on Luke 3:2, See Gill on John 18:13.

being the high priest that same year; the high priesthood originally was not annual, but for life; but towards the close of the second temple, it came into the hands of the king, to appoint who would to be high priest (o); and it became venal; it was purchased with money; insomuch that they changed the priesthood once a twelve month, and every year a new high priest was made (p) now this man being in such an high office, and a man of no conscience, and of bad principles, being a Sadducee, as seems from Acts 4:6, who denied the resurrection of the dead, and was unconcerned about a future state; and having no restraint upon him, in a bold, haughty, and blustering manner,

said unto them, ye know nothing at all; ye are a parcel of ignorant and stupid creatures, mere fools and idiots, to sit disputing and arguing, pro and con about such a fellow as this; what is to be done is obvious enough, and that is to take away this man's life, without any more ado; it matters not what he is, nor what he does; these are things that are not to be considered, they are out of the question; would you save the nation, destroy the man; things are come to this crisis, that either his life must go, or the nation perish; and which is most expedient, requires no time to debate about.

(o) Misn. Yebamot, c. 6. sect. 4. (p) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 8. 2. Juchasin, fol. 139. 1.

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