List of New Testament High Priests

Ask a Question!   -   Newsletter
Who were Israel's High Priests during the time of the New Testament?

The office of High Priest, established by God, was meant to be a lifelong position filled by those in the bloodline of Aaron (Exodus 29:9, 29). Jewish religious leaders, when death required them to act, would select someone to serve in this important responsibility based on a variety of factors.

What we find, however, as we approach and enter into the time of the New Testament, is that the position of High Priest began to be treated far as a political appointment rather than a solemn duty of heredity.

Herod the Great, who began to rule over Judea as the "king of the Jews" just before the New Testament era, started the trend of replacing High Priests at his own pleasure. The Romans, after his death, would continue this practice.

Herod's first appointment to the position of High Priest was a man named Ananelus (Ananel), whom the Jewish historian Josephus describes as "an obscure priest out of Babylon" (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 15, Chapter 2, Section 4).

In 36 B.C., Herod makes Aristobulus III, who was only 17 years old at the time, the High Priest. In less than a year, however, he has him murdered through drowning (Book 15, Chapter 3, Section 3). He then reappoints Ananel to the position he once held. Herod will end up appointing four other High Priests up to the time when the New Testament record begins.

Only two High Priests, Annas and Caiaphas, are mentioned by name in the Gospels (Luke 3:2). They were both alive during Jesus' ministry and were instrumental in causing his murder (John 11:51, 18:12 - 14, 24, etc.). Caiaphas was also instrumental in the persecution of Christians after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 4:6, 5:17, 21). He aided a young Saul by granting him authority to persecute Christians in foreign lands (9:2).

It was a High Priest named Ananias, who presided over the Sanhedrin, whom the Apostle Paul was brought before to explain a temple riot he seemed to cause (Acts 23:2 - 4).

High Priests appointed by
Herod the Great

Ananel (Hananeel)
37 to 36 B.C.

Aristobulus III

Ananel (Hananeel)
36 to 30

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Fabus
30 to 23

son of Boethos
23 to 5

son of Theophilos
5 to 4

son of Boethos

Appointed by Archelaus
Ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, Edom

son of Boethos
4 to 3

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Sie
3 to ?

son of Boethos
? to 6 A.D.

Appointed by Quirinius
Roman Legate of Syria and Judea

Ananus (Annas),
son of Seth
6 to 15 A.D.

Appointed by Valerius Gratus
Roman Prefect of Judea

son of Fabus (Phabi)
15 to 16

son of Ananus
16 to 17

son of Camithos
17 to 18

Joseph (Caiaphas)
son-in-law of Ananus
(condemned Jesus)
18 to 36

Appointed by Vitellius

son of Ananus
36 to 37

son of Ananus
37 to 41

Appointed by Agrippa I
Roman Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea

Simon Cantheras,
son of Boethos
41 to 43

son of Ananos

son of Cantheras
43 to 44

Appointed by Herod of Chalcis
Tetrarch of kingdom north of Judea

son of Ananus

son of Camydus
44 to 46

son of Nedebeus
(Paul tried before him)
46 to 58


Appointed by Agrippa II
King of Chalcis

son of Phabi
58 to 62

Joseph Cabi,
son of Simon
62 to 63

son of Ananus

son of Damneus

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Gamaliel
63 to 64

son of Theophilos
65 to 66

Appointed by the people
during the last war

son of Samuel
67 to 70

Recommended Articles
How Wealthy Was Jerusalem's Temple?
Religious Groups in New Testament
What Was the Sanhedrin?
Gemstones in the High Priest's Breastplate!
Was Melchizedek a Priest?
List of Old Testament High Priests
Did Jesus Predict Temple's Destruction?
Was Jesus a Melchizedek Priest?

Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 8 note
Holy Bible, a Faithful Version
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

© Bible Study