And said unto them, ye men of Israel
This he said after the apostles were put out, when the council was by themselves; and he addressed them as "men of Israel"; not as distinct from the priests and Levites in the council, but because they were all of the stock of Israel; for this council did not consist of Israelites only, as distinct from priests and Levites, as appears from ( Acts 5:21 Acts 5:27 ) . A sanhedrim commonly consisted of each of these; though if only of Israelites it was a lawful one. Maimonides says F3,
``they did not use to appoint any in the sanhedrim, but priests, Levites, and Israelites, that were genealogized and fit to be married into the priesthood---and that it was a command, that in the great sanhedrim there should be priests and Levites; as it is said, "thou shalt go to the priests and Levites"; but if they are not found, if they are all Israelites, lo, this is lawful,''or a proper sanhedrim. His speech to them follows,
take heed to yourselves;
consider well, do not act a rash and precipitant part; do not give way to passion and wrath, and hastily lay hands on these men, and destroy them; lest ye bring yourselves into disgrace and danger, and bring upon yourselves the ill-will and resentment of men, and the wrath of God: take time to consider of the matter, and deliberately consult
what ye intend to do as touching these men;
what punishment to inflict upon them, whether imprisonment, scourging, or death; do nothing rashly.
F3 Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 1. 2.