Reference: Sanhedrin Or Sanhedrim
The Greek word is ?????????, 'a sitting together': it is always translated 'council' in the A.V. There appears to be no Hebrew equivalent to the name. The Jews trace its origin to the seventy elders chosen to assist Moses, Nu 11:16-17; but nothing is said of such a council in the time of the kingdom; and it is probable that it was instituted in the time of the Maccabees. The early writers do not say how it was composed; from the N.T. we find it consisted of the chief priests, or heads of the twenty-four courses, the elders, lawyers, and the scribes. It was the highest court of the Jews, acting 'in all causes, and over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil.' Its decisions were binding on Jews everywhere. Its powers were curtailed by Herod and afterwards by the Romans, who prevented the Jews from putting any one to death legally. Joh 18:31. The Lord, Lu 22:66; Peter and John, Ac 4:1-23; 5:17-41; Stephen, Ac 6:12-15; and Paul, Ac 22:30; 23:1-10; were arraigned before the Sanhedrin.
Then the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be elders of the people, and their princes; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the testimony that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the spirit which is in thee and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the princes of the priests and the scribes came together and led him into their council, saying,
Then Pilate said unto them, Take him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death;
And as they spoke unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, resentful that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. read more. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail unto the next day, for it was now evening. But many of those who heard the word believed, and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the next day that their princes and elders and scribes and Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power or by what name have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye princes of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole, be it known unto you all and to all the people of Israel that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men in which we can be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled, and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all those that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them that from now on they speak to no man in this name. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. Then Peter and John answered and said unto them, Judge whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way how they might punish them because of the people, for everyone glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shown. And being let go, they went to their own company and reported all that the princes of the priests and the elders had said unto them.
Then the prince of the priests rose up, and all those that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees) were filled with jealousy and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. read more. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them forth and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught. In the meantime, the prince of the priests came, and those that were with him, and called the council together and all the elders of the sons of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came and found them not in the prison, they returned and told, saying, We certainly found the prison shut with all security and the keepers standing outside before the doors, but when we had opened, we found no one within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the princes of the priests heard these things, they were perplexed regarding what this would come to. Then someone came and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people. Then the captain with the officers went and brought them without violence, for they feared being stoned by the people. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council, and the prince of the priests asked them, saying, Did we not strictly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We must persuade God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree. God has exalted him with his right hand as Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that persuade him. When they heard that, they were divided and took counsel to slay them. Then a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, who had a reputation among all the people, stood up in the council and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space and said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as concerning these men. For before these days, rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves; who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing and drew away many people after him; he also perished, and all those that consented with him were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men and let them alone; for if this counsellor or this work is of men, it will come to nought, but if it is of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest ye be found fighting against God. And they agreed with him; and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes and came upon him and caught him and brought him to the council and set up false witnesses, who said, This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law, read more. for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered us. Then all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as the face of an angel.
On the next day, because he wanted to know of certainty the cause for which he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands and commanded the princes of the priests and all their council to appear and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Then Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the prince of the priests, Ananias, commanded those that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. read more. Then Paul said unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whitewashed wall, for dost thou sit to judge me after the law and command me to be smitten contrary to the law? And those that stood by said, Dost thou revile God's high priest? Then Paul said, I did not know, brethren, that he was the prince of the priests, for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. And there arose a great cry; and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man, but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God. And when there arose a great dissension, the tribunal, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and to take him by force from among them and to bring him into the fortress.