1. A Jew of Jerusalem, the husband of Sapphira, who attempted to join the Christians, and pretended to give them the entire price of his lands, but died instantly on being convicted of falsehood by Peter, Ac 5:1-10.
3. A high priest of the Jews, the son of Nebedaeus. He was sent as a prisoner to Rome by Quadratus, the governor of Syria, and Jonathon was appointed in his place; but being discharged by the emperor Claudius, he returned to Palestine, and Jonathon being murdered through the treachery of Felix, Ananias appears to have performed the functions of the high priest as a substitute, until Ishmael was appointed by Agrippa. It was he before whom with the Sanhedrin Paul was summoned, under Felix, and who ordered an attendant to smite Paul on the mouth. The apostle's prophetic denunciation in reply seems to have been fulfilled when, in the commencement of the siege of Jerusalem, the assassins burned the house of Ananias, and afterwards discovered his place of retreat in an aqueduct, and slew him, Ac 23:1; 24:1.
a common Jewish name, the same as Hananiah.
(1.) One of the members of the church at Jerusalem, who conspired with his wife Sapphira to deceive the brethren, and who fell down and immediately expired after he had uttered the falsehood (Ac 5:5). By common agreement the members of the early Christian community devoted their property to the work of furthering the gospel and of assisting the poor and needy. The proceeds of the possessions they sold were placed at the disposal of the apostles (Ac 4:36-37). Ananias might have kept his property had he so chosen; but he professed agreement with the brethren in the common purpose, and had of his own accord devoted it all, as he said, to these sacred ends. Yet he retained a part of it for his own ends, and thus lied in declaring that he had given it all. "The offence of Ananias and Sapphira showed contempt of God, vanity and ambition in the offenders, and utter disregard of the corruption which they were bringing into the society. Such sin, committed in despite of the light which they possessed, called for a special mark of divine indignation."
(2.) A Christian at Damascus (Ac 9:10). He became Paul's instructor; but when or by what means he himself became a Christian we have no information. He was "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt" at Damascus (Ac 22:12).
(3.) The high priest before whom Paul was brought in the procuratorship of Felix (Ac 23:2,5,24). He was so enraged at Paul's noble declaration, "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day," that he commanded one of his attendants to smite him on the mouth. Smarting under this unprovoked insult, Paul quickly replied, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." Being reminded that Ananias was the high priest, to whose office all respect was to be paid, he answered, "I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest" (Ac 23:5). This expression has occasioned some difficulty, as it is scarcely probable that Paul should have been ignorant of so public a fact. The expression may mean (a) that Paul had at the moment overlooked the honour due to the high priest; or (b), as others think, that Paul spoke ironically, as if he had said, "The high priest breaking the law! God's high priest a tyrant and a lawbreaker! I see a man in white robes, and have heard his voice, but surely it cannot, it ought not to be, the voice of the high priest." (See Dr. Lindsay on Acts, in loco.) (c) Others think that from defect of sight Paul could not observe that the speaker was the high priest. In all this, however, it may be explained, Paul, with all his excellency, comes short of the example of his divine Master, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again.
1. High priest (Ac 23:2, etc.; Ac 24:1). Son of Zebedaeus, succeeded Joseph, son of Camydus, and was followed by Ismael, son of Phabi Herod, king of Chalcis A.D. 48, appointed him. The prefect Ummidius Quadratus in A.D. 52 sent him to be tried before the emperor Claudius on the charge of oppressing the Samaritans. Cumanus the procurator, his adversary, was not successful but was banished; so that Ananias seems not to have lost office then, but lost it before Felix left the province; and was at last assassinated by the Sicarii (zealot assassins and robbers) early in the last Jewish war. Violent tempered to such a degree that he caused Paul to be smitten on the mouth for saying, "I have lived in all good conscience before God"; himself on the contrary "a whited wall." Compare Mt 23:27.
2. A disciple at Jerusalem, Sapphira's husband (Acts 5). Having sold his property for the good of the church professedly, he kept back part of the price, and handed the rest to the apostles. Peter stigmatized the act as "lying to the Holy Spirit," who was in the apostles, and whom notwithstanding he thought he could elude. Ananias instantly fell down and expired. That this was no mere natural effect of excitement appears from the sentence expressly pronounced by Peter on Sapphira, and immediately executed by God, whose instrument of justice Peter was. The judgment had the salutary effect designed, of guarding the church in its infancy from the adhesion of hypocrites; for "great fear came upon all the church and upon as many as heard it; and of the rest durst no man join himself to them, but the people magnified them."
Ananias was sincere up to a certain point, for he had cast in his lot with the despised "Nazarenes," but he wished to gain a high name in the church by seeming to have given his all, while he really gave but a part. He was not obliged to throw his property into a common Christian fund (as Peter's words show, "after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?") It was a compromise between love of Christian applause and worldliness; "Satan filled his heart" as "Satan entered into Judas" (Lu 22:3).
At the beginning of the course of the New Testament church an awful example was given to guard her in guileless sincerity from the world's corruption's; just as at the beginning of the course of the Old Testament church, Israel, a similar example was given in Achan's case, to warn her that she was to be a holy people, separate from and witnessing against the world's pollution's by lust (Joshua 7). The common fund which the first disciples voluntarily brought was a kind of firstfruits to the Lord in entering on possession of the spiritual Canaan, as Jericho's spoil was a firstfruit to Jehovah of the earthly Canaan. The need there was for such a prescient warning appears from the last protest of the same apostle Peter in his 2nd Epistle, against the growing covetousness and lust within the church.
3. A Jew Christian at Damascus, "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there" (Ac 9:10, etc., Ac 22:12, etc.). By the Lord's direction in a vision, he sought out Saul in his blindness and foodlessness for three days after Jesus' appearing to him; putting hands on Saul, Ananias was the Lord's instrument of restoring his sight, and conveying to him the Holy Spirit, that he might be "a chosen vessel to bear Jesus' name before the Gentiles, and kings and Israel, as a witness unto all men of what he had seen and heard, suffering as well as doing great things for His name's sake. Ananias told him, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." How striking that Ananias, whom Saul would have seized for prison and death, should be the instrument of giving him light and life. Tradition makes Ananias subsequently bishop of Damascus and a martyr.
This name occurs several times in the Apocrypha: in 1Es 9:21; 1Es 9:29; 1Es 9:43; 1Es 9:48 (representing 'Hanani' and 'Hananiah' of '/Ezra/10/20/type/net'>Ezr 10:20,'/Ezra/28/type/net'>28, 'Anaiah' and 'Hanan' of Ne 8:4,7) and in Tob 5:12 f., Jdt 8:1. It is the name of three persons in NT. 1. The husband of Sapphira, who in the voluntary communism of the early Church sold 'a possession' and kept part of the price for himself, pretending that he had given the whole (Ac 5:1 ff.). The sudden death of husband and wife, predicted by St. Peter, was the signal proof of God's anger on this Judas-like hypocrisy. 2. A 'devout man according to the law' at Damascus, a disciple who instructed and baptized Saul of Tarsus after his conversion, restoring to him his sight by imposition of hands; he had been warned by the Lord in a vision (Ac 9:10 ff; Ac 22:12 ff.). 3. The high priest at the time when St. Paul was arrested at Jerusalem (Ac 23:2 ff.), a Sadducee, son of Nedeb
1. High priest before whom Paul appeared, and who commanded him to be smitten on the mouth, to whom Paul said, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." Ac 23:2-3; 24:1. He was elevated to the office by Herod king of Chalcis A.D. 48. He was sent to Rome to answer a charge of oppression, but returned. He was deposed before Felix left the province. When Menahem besieged Jerusalem Ananias took refuge in an aqueduct, but was dragged forth and killed by the daggers of the assassins.
2. Husband of Sapphira, who with her had agreed to sell their possession, keep back part of the money, and present the remainder to the church as though it were the whole. He was charged with lying to the Holy Spirit, and fell down dead. His wife, saying the same thing, also met with a like punishment. The solemn judgement upon them evinced the fact that the Holy Spirit was really a divine person in the assembly, whose presence must in no way be ignored. "Great fear came upon all the church." Ac 5:1-11.
3. Disciple at Damascus, who, being instructed by the Lord, found out Saul and laid his hands upon him that he might receive sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ananias had naturally hesitated because of the character of the man he was to visit; but the Lord revealed to him that the persecuting Saul was a chosen vessel to Him to bear His name. Ac 9:10-17; 22:12.
(whom Jehovah has graciously given)
1. A high priest in
He was the son of Nebedaeus. He was nominated to the office by Herod king of Chalcis in A.D. 48; was deposed shortly before Felix left the province and assassinated by the Sicarii at the beginning of the last Jewish war.
2. A disciple at Jerusalem, husband of Sapphira.
having sold his goods for the benefit of the church he kept back a part of the price, bringing to the apostles the remainder as if it was the whole, his wife being privy to the scheme. St. Peter denounced the fraud, and Ananias fell down and expired.
3. A Jewish disciple at Damascus,
of high repute,
who sought out Saul during the period of blindness which followed his conversion, and announced to him his future commission as a preacher of the gospel. Tradition makes him to have been afterwarded bishop of Damascus, and to have died by martyrdom.
ANANIAS was the son of Nebedaeus, high priest of the Jews. According to Josephus, he succeeded Joseph, the son of Camith, in the forty-seventh year of the Christian aera; and was himself succeeded by Ishmael, the son of Tabaeus, in the year 63. Quadratus, governor of Syria, coming into Judaea, on the rumours which prevailed among the Samaritans and Jews, sent the high priest Ananias to Rome, to vindicate his conduct to the emperor. The high priest justified himself, was acquitted, and returned. St. Paul being apprehended at Jerusalem by the tribune of the Roman troops that guarded the temple, declared to him that he was a citizen of Rome. This obliged the officer to treat him with some regard. As he was ignorant of what the Jews accused him, the next day he convened the priests, and placed St. Paul in the midst of them, that he might justify himself. St. Paul began as follows: "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." He had scarcely spoken this, when the high priest, Ananias, commanded those who were near him to smite him on the face. The Apostle immediately replied, "God shall judge thee, thou whited wall; for, sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?" They that stood by said, "Revilest thou God's high priest?" And Paul answered, "I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." Ac 22:23-24; 23:1-5; by which words many suppose that the Apostle spake in bitter irony; or at least that he considered Ananias as a usurper of the office of the priesthood.
After this, the assembly being divided in opinion, St. Paul was sent by the tribune to Caesarea, that Felix, governor of the province, might take cognizance of the affair. When it was known that the Apostle had arrived at Caesarea, Ananias the high priest, and other Jews, went thither to accuse him; but the affair was adjourned, and St. Paul continued two years in prison in that city, Acts 24.
The Apostle's prediction that God would smite Ananias, was thus accomplished: Albinus, governor of Judaea, being come into that country, Ananias found means to gain him by presents; and Ananias, by reason of this patronage, was considered as the first man of his nation. However, there were in his party some violent persons, who plundered the country, and seized the tithes of the priests; and this they did with impunity, on account of the great credit of Ananias. At the same time, several companies of assassins infested Judaea, and committed great ravages. When any of their companions fell into the hands of the governors of the province, and were about to be executed, they failed not to seize some domestic or relation of the high priest Ananias, that he might procure the liberty of their associates, in exchange for those whom they detained. Having taken Eleazer, one of Ananias's sons, they did not release him till ten of their companions were liberated. By this means their number considerably increased, and the country was exposed to their ravages. At length, Eleazer, the son of Ananias, heading a party of mutineers, seized the temple, and forbade any sacrifices for the emperor. Being joined by the assassins, he pulled down the house of his father Ananias, with his brother, hid him self in the aqueducts belonging to the royal palace, but was soon discovered, and both of them were killed. Thus God smote this whited wall, in the very beginning of the Jewish wars.
2. ANANIAS, one of the first Christians of Jerusalem, who being converted, with his wife Sapphira, sold his estate; (as did the other Christians at Jerusalem, under a temporary regulation that they were to have all things in common;) but privately reserved a part of the purchase money to himself. Having brought the remainder to St. Peter, as the whole price of the inheritance sold, the Apostle, to whom the Holy Ghost had revealed this falsehood, rebuked him severely, as having lied not unto men but unto God, Acts 5. At that instant, Ananias, being struck dead, fell down at the Apostle's feet; and in the course of three hours after, his wife suffered a similar punishment. This happened, A.D. 33, or 34. It is evident, that in this and similar events, the spectators and civil magistrates must have been convinced that some extraordinary power was exerted; for if Peter had himself slain Ananias, he would have been amenable to the laws as a murderer. But, if by forewarning him that he should immediately die, and the prediction came to pass, it is evident that the power which attended this word of Peter was not from Peter, but from God. This was made the more certain by the death of two persons, in the same manner, and under the same circumstances, which could not be attributed to accident.
3. ANANIAS, a disciple of Christ, at Damascus, whom the Lord directed to visit Paul, then lately converted. Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and how he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name." But the Lord said unto him, "Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me." Ananias, therefore, went to the house in which God had revealed unto him that Paul was, and putting his hands on him, said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared unto thee in the way, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost," Ac 9:10-12, &c. We are not informed of any other circumstance of the life of Ananias.