717. Chief Priests Elders

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Matthew 26:4747And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. (Matthew 26:47). Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
1. David divided the whole staff of the Aaronic priesthood into twenty-four classes, sixteen of which belonged to the house of Eleazer and eight to that of Ithamar. This arrangement was continued by Solomon, and was probably kept up with more or less regularity by his successors. Compare 1 Chronicles 24:1-191Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office. 3And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. 4And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers. 5Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar. 6And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, 8The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, 9The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, 10The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, 11The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, 12The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, 13The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, 14The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, 15The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses, 16The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, 17The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul, 18The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah. 19These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the Lord, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him. (1 Chronicles 24:1‑19) with 2 Chronicles 8:14; 35:414And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. (2 Chronicles 8:14)
4And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. (2 Chronicles 35:4)
. We find allusion to it in the time of Christ, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, being a priest of “the course of Abia” (Luke 1:55There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. (Luke 1:5)). The heads or presidents of these twenty four classes are the “chief priests,” of whom mention is made in the Old Testament as well as in the New. See 1 Chronicles 24:3, 4; 23And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. 4And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers. (1 Chronicles 24:3‑4) Chronicles 26:20; Ezra 10:55Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware. (Ezra 10:5); Neh. 12:77Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua. (Nehemiah 12:7). They are called “governors of the sanctuary” in 1 Chronicles 24:55Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar. (1 Chronicles 24:5) and “princes of the sanctuary” in Isaiah 43:2828Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches. (Isaiah 43:28).
Some authorities affirm that, in the New Testament, the term “chief priests” has a broader meaning than that just given; that it includes not only the heads of the twenty-four classes, but also the high priests and ex-high priests. Others include those priests who were of the immediate kindred of the high priest. See Robinson, New Testament Lexicon, s. v. ὐρχιερεύς, 2. The Rabbins include among the chief priests the twenty-four heads of the “Ephemeries,” or courses, the heads of the families in every course, the presidents over the various offices in the temple, and any priests or Levites, although not of these orders, that were chosen into the chief council. See Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae, on Matthew 2:44And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. (Matthew 2:4).
2. The term “elders” was no doubt originally applied to the heads of families, and to the oldest persons in tribes or states. When it became an official title is not known. The elders among the Israelites seem to have been recognized as a distinct body very early. See Exodus 3:16,18; 4:29; 12:2116Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: (Exodus 3:16)
18And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. (Exodus 3:18)
29And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: (Exodus 4:29)
21Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. (Exodus 12:21)
; Numbers 11:16,2516And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. (Numbers 11:16)
25And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. (Numbers 11:25)
. They were probably the leading persons in each tribe. Traces of them appear all through the Old Testament history. In the New Testament the elders of the Jewish people are often referred to. Each synagogue had its company of elders, though there seem to have been other officials of the same title not connected with the synagogue. In the Sanhedrim they were the representatives of the people, as the “chief priests” were representatives of the priesthood.
The expression “chief priests and elders,” sometimes with the word “scribes” added and sometimes without, is often used to denote the Great Sanhedrim described in the next note. See Matthew 16:21; 21:23; 27:1,12,4121From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matthew 16:21)
23And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? (Matthew 21:23)
1When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: (Matthew 27:1)
12And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. (Matthew 27:12)
41Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, (Matthew 27:41)
; Mark 15:1,311And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. (Mark 15:1)
31Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. (Mark 15:31)
; Luke 22:6666And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, (Luke 22:66).