Caiaphas [N]

the Jewish high priest (A.D. 27-36) at the beginning of our Lord's public ministry, in the reign of Tiberius ( Luke 3:2 ), and also at the time of his condemnation and crucifixion ( Matthew 26:3 Matthew 26:57 ; John 11:49 ; John 18:13 John 18:14 ). He held this office during the whole of Pilate's administration. His wife was the daughter of Annas, who had formerly been high priest, and was probably the vicar or deputy (Heb. sagan) of Caiaphas. He was of the sect of the Sadducees ( Acts 5:17 ), and was a member of the council when he gave his opinion that Jesus should be put to death "for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" ( John 11:50 ). In these words he unconsciously uttered a prophecy. "Like Saul, he was a prophet in spite of himself." Caiaphas had no power to inflict the punishment of death, and therefore Jesus was sent to Pilate, the Roman governor, that he might duly pronounce the sentence against him ( Matthew 27:2 ; John 18:28 ). At a later period his hostility to the gospel is still manifest ( Acts 4:6 ). (See ANNAS .)

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Caiaphas". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .
Caiaphas, or Ca-iaphas

(depression ), in full JOSEPH CAIAPHAS, high priest of the Jews under Tiberius. ( Matthew 26:3 Matthew 26:57 ; John 11:49 ; John 18:13 John 18:14 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. [ANNAS]

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Caiaphas, or Caiaphas'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.


ka'-a-fas, ki'-a-fas (Kaiaphas; 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 26:3,4; 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 11:49,50; 18:14). The commentary of John upon this (John 11:51,52) 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). Mr and Lu 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, THE ARREST AND 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.

C. M. Kerr

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'CAIAPHAS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.