High priest of the Jews, A. D. 27 to 36. He was a Sadducee, and a bitter enemy of Christ. At his palace the priests, etc., met after the resurrection of Lazarus, to plot the death of the Savior, lest all the people should believe on him. On one of these occasions, Joh 11:47-54, he counseled the death of Christ for the political salvation of the nation; and his words were, unconsciously to him, an inspired prediction of the salvation of a lost world. These plots against Christ, Mt 26:1-5; Mr 14:1; Lu 22:2, led to his seizure, and he was brought first before Annas, formerly high priest, who sent him to Caiaphas his son-in-law. See ANNAS. Caiaphas examined Christ before the assembling of the Sanhedrin, after which the trial went on, and Christ was condemned, mocked, and transferred to Pilate for sentence and execution, Mt 26:57-68; Mr 14:53-72; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-27. Not content with procuring the death of the Savior, Caiaphas and his friends violently persecuted his followers, Ac 4:1-6; 5:17,33. But a few years after the ascension of Christ, and soon after the degradation of Pilate, Caiaphas also was deposed from office by the Roman proconsul Vitellius. Like Balaam of the Old Testament, he is a melancholy instance of light resisted, privilege, station, and opportunity abused, and prophetic words concerning Christ joined with a life of infidelity and crime and a fearful death.
the Jewish high priest (A.D. 27-36) at the beginning of our Lord's public ministry, in the reign of Tiberius (Lu 3:2), and also at the time of his condemnation and crucifixion (Mt 26:3,57; Joh 11:49; 18:13-14). 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 (Ac 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" (Joh 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 (Mt 27:2; Joh 18:28). At a later period his hostility to the gospel is still manifest (Ac 4:6). (See Annas.)
Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas (Joh 18:13), was high priest between a.d. 18 and 36; and thus 'the memorable year' of our Lord's trial fell in the course of his pontificate (Joh 11:51; 18:13). He was, like all the priestly order, a Sadducee; and he was a man of masterful temper, with his full share of the insolence which was a Sadduc
CAIAPHAS, high priest of the Jews, succeeded Simon, son of Camith; and after possessing this dignity nine years, from A.M. 4029 to 4038, he was succeeded by Jonathan, son of Ananas, or Annas. Caiaphas was high priest, A.M. 4037, which was the year of Jesus Christ's death. He married a daughter of Annas, who also is called high priest in the Gospel, because he had long enjoyed that dignity. When the priests deliberated on the seizure and death of Jesus Christ, Caiaphas declared, that there was no room for debate on that matter, "because it was expedient that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation should not perish," Joh 11:49-50. This sentiment was a prophecy, which God suffered to proceed from the mouth of the high priest on this occasion, importing, that the death of Jesus would be for the salvation of the world. When Judas had betrayed Jesus, he was first taken before Annas, who sent him to his son- in-law, Caiaphas, who possibly lived in the same house, Joh 18:24. The priests and doctors of the law there assembled to judge our Saviour, and to condemn him. The depositions of certain false witnesses being insufficient to justify a sentence of death against him, and Jesus continuing silent, Caiaphas, as high priest, said to him, "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God!" To this adjuration, so solemnly made by the superior judge, Jesus answered, "Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." On hearing these words, Caiaphas rent his clothes, saying, "What farther need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?" They answered, "He is worthy of death." And as the power of life and death was not at this time in their hands, but was reserved by the Romans, they conducted him to Pilate, that he might confirm their sentence, and order his execution.
Two years after this, Vitellus, governor of Syria, coming to Jerusalem at the passover, was received very magnificently by the people. As an acknowledgment for this honour, he restored the custody of the high priest's ornaments, to the priests, he remitted certain duties raised on the fruits of the earth, and deposed the high priest Caiaphas. From this it appears that Caiaphas had fallen under popular odium, for his deposition was to gratify the people.