List of New Testament High Priests

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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.

Why are there only four gospels?
Map of Palestine under Herod the Great
Who were the Maccabees?

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
36

Ananel (Hananeel)
(reappointed)
36 to 30

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Fabus
30 to 23

Simon,
son of Boethos
23 to 5

Matthias,
son of Theophilos
5 to 4

Joazar,
son of Boethos
4

Appointed by Archelaus
Ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, Edom

Eleazar,
son of Boethos
4 to 3

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Sie
3 to ?

Joazar,
son of Boethos
(reappointed)
? 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

Ishmael,
son of Fabus (Phabi)
15 to 16

Eleazar,
son of Ananus
16 to 17

Simon,
son of Camithos
17 to 18

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

Appointed by Vitellius

Jonathan,
son of Ananus
36 to 37

Theophilos,
son of Ananus
37 to 41

Appointed by Agrippa I
Roman Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea

Simon Cantheras,
son of Boethos
41 to 43

Matthias,
son of Ananos
43

Elionaios,
son of Cantheras
43 to 44

Appointed by Herod of Chalcis
Tetrarch of kingdom north of Judea

Jonathan,
son of Ananus
(reappointed)
44

Joseph,
son of Camydus
44 to 46

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

Jonathan
58

Appointed by Agrippa II
King of Chalcis

Ishmael,
son of Phabi
(reappointed?)
58 to 62

Joseph Cabi,
son of Simon
62 to 63

Ananus,
son of Ananus
63

Jesus,
son of Damneus
63

Jesus (Joshua),
son of Gamaliel
63 to 64

Matthias,
son of Theophilos
65 to 66

Appointed by the people
during the last war

Phannias,
son of Samuel
67 to 70

Additional Study Materials
Important People in the Old Testament
What is the Jerusalem Conference?
Why does the temple need a red heifer?
The New Testament's greatest events!

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


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