Acts 4:6

6 Annas the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander - everybody who was anybody was there.

Acts 4:6 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 4:6

And Annas the high priest
So called, either because he had been an high priest, though he was not now, but Caiaphas his son-in-law; or because he was the Sagan of the high priest, and had all the other priests under his government; and is mentioned first, because he was father-in-law to Caiaphas; (See Gill on Luke 3:2) he could not be called so, because he was (ayvn) , "prince", or president of the council; for not he, but Gamaliel, was president at this time. And

who was properly high priest, and continued so for three years after the death of Christ:

and John;
who is thought by Dr. Lightfoot to be the same with Jochanan, or John ben Zaccai; a famous Jewish Rabbi, who lived at this time, and until, and after the destruction of Jerusalem: this Rabbi was (Nhk) , "a priest" F20, as this John was, of the kindred of the high priest; he lived also at Jerusalem; for it is said of him {u}, that he sat in the shadow of the temple, and expounded all the whole day; and a very remarkable story is told of him, which happened just about this time F23; which is, that

``forty years before the destruction of the temple--the doors of the temple opened of themselves, when Rabban Jochanan ben Zaccai reproved them, saying, O temple, temple, wherefore dost thou fright thyself? I know thee, that thine end shall be, to be destroyed; for so prophesied of thee Zechariah, the son of Iddo, ( Zechariah 11:1 ) . "Open thy doors, O Lebanon"''

The chief objection to him, as that learned writer observes, is, that he lived and died a Pharisee, whereas this John seems to have been a Sadducee; see ( Acts 5:17 ) . This puts me in mind of John the high priest, who ministered in the high priesthood fourscore years, and at last became a Sadducee F24: Beza's ancient copy reads "Jonathan: and Alexander"; whose surname was Lysimachus, and had the title of "Alabarcha"; he was a very rich man F25: after Alexander the great had been at Jerusalem, this name became frequent among the Jews; and it is said F26 to be promised him, and was fulfilled, that every son that was born to the priests that year he entered Jerusalem, should be called Alexander; and therefore it is no wonder to hear of an Alexander among the kindred of the high priest; frequent mention is made of (yrdnokla ybr) , "Rabbi Alexander", in the Jewish writings F1:

and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest;
by whose means they were become members of the sanhedrim:

were gathered together at Jerusalem;
where the great council only sat, until the destruction of it; it seems by this, that some of the members of it lived in the country; it may be in some of the villages adjacent, where they might be easily and quickly sent for, upon any occasion, as they very likely now were; the Syriac version leaves out the words "at Jerusalem".


F20 Juchasin, fol. 20. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 26. 1.
F23 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 39. 2. & Hieros. Yoma, fol. 43. 3.
F24 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 29. 1.
F25 Joseph Antiqu. l. 20. c. 4. sect. 2.
F26 Juchasin, fol. 14. 1. & 159. 1. Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 18. 2.
F1 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 53. 2. Chagiga, fol. 5. 1. Megilla, fol. 17. 2. Nedarim, fol. 41. 1. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1. & passim.

Acts 4:6 In-Context

4 But many of those who listened had already believed the Message - in round numbers about five thousand!
5 The next day a meeting was called in Jerusalem. The rulers, religious leaders, religion scholars,
6 Annas the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander - everybody who was anybody was there.
7 They stood Peter and John in the middle of the room and grilled them: "Who put you in charge here? What business do you have doing this?"
8 With that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: "Rulers and leaders of the people,
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.