Sunday, 28 July 2013

Highpriesthood of Annas ben Seth's family

As mentioned previously Annas had 5 sons who became high priests:
  • Eleazar (16-17)
  • Jonathan (36-37, 44)
  • Theophilus (37-41)
  • Matthias (42-43)
  • Annas (61-62)
Annas' daughter was married to Joseph Caiaphas (18-36) so Caiaphas was Annas' son in law (John 18:13).

Annas' son Theophilus had a son Matthias who was highpriest c. 65-68.

HighpriestRelationshipYear
Annas ben Seth6-15
Ishmael ben Phiabi15-16
Eleazar ben AnnasSon16-17
Simon ben Camithus17-18
Joseph CaiaphasSon-in-law18-36
Jonathan ben AnnasSon36-37
Theophilus ben AnnasSon37-41
Simon Cantatheras ben Boethus41
Matthias ben AnnasSon41-44
Elioenai ben Simon Cantatheras44
Jonathan ben Annas (restored)(Son)44 
[Cimtheras]
Joseph ben Camydus [?ben Cantos]44-47
Ananias ben Nebedeus47-58 
[Jonathan]
Ishmael ben Phiabi58-62
Joseph Cabi ben Simon62-63
Annas ben AnnasSon63
Joshua ben Damneus63
Joshua ben Gamaliel63-65
Matthias ben TheophilusGrandson65-67
Phinehas ben Samuel67-70

There is a potential allusion to this family by Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus as I describe here.
Caiaphas fits the position of the rich man in this story: he is wealthy, he has 5 brothers-in-law, he is part of the ruling class (dressed in purple), and at least one of his brothers-in-law probably denies the resurrection.
The brother-in-law who denied the resurrection was Annas ben Annas as mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1). However it is likely that Annas the Elder was a Sadducee, and probably all 5 sons; Caiaphas was a Sadducee. The Sadducees denied the resurrection. If Caiaphas was the rich man in the story (which seems both reasonable and probable) then the use of Lazarus as a name would also have been intentional. As I wrote earlier,
We learn that Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet (John 12:3). This story is also told in Matthew 26 and Mark 14. It is probably the same event but the woman's name is not given. They are in the house of Simon the Leper. So Lazarus may have known Simon, or Simon may be Lazarus' name.
John writes,
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:1-3).
Matthew relates,
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. (Matthew 26:6-7)
And Mark similar. All 3 authors mention that the disciples were indignant that the perfume was not sold and the money given to the poor; John specifies Judas, and Matthew says it was the disciples (presumably at the instigation of Judas), and Mark just mentions some were indignant. The cost of the perfume is a large sum (Matthew), at least 300 denarii (John and Mark). All 3 specify Bethany as the location. The authors are clearly describing the same event. Lazarus was either the friend of Simon the Leper or, more probably, Simon was Lazarus' name. It is likely that Simon had previously been cured as he was now hosting a dinner, something he would not be able to do were he unclean. Simon was quite possibly healed by Jesus.

In summary Luke 16 has a rich man
  • dressed in purple and linen;
  • eating lavishly;
  • having 5 brothers; and
  • possibly sceptical about the resurrection of the body
and a poor man
  • named Lazarus;
  • covered in skin lesions;
  • starving; and
  • surrounded by unclean animals.
The highpriest Caiaphas fits the profile of the rich man (though he is prudently unnamed) and Simon the Leper fitted the profile of the poor man prior to his healing. Lazarus is mentioned by name in the story so that Lazarus' subsequent resurrection from the dead will bring to mind this story.

It seems likely that this parable was told as a warning to Caiaphas, especially in view of the subsequent raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Yet it also seems interesting that the 5 brothers also became highpriests; only 1 (Eleazar) had been so prior to Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus said these things to the leaders in Israel, and all Jesus' words and deeds were told the Pharisees, priests, teachers of the law. It seems likely that not only did Caiaphas know of this story, but so did other rulers including Caiaphas' brothers-in-law.

Did Caiaphas take this to heart? Did his brothers respond to the warning after they learnt of Lazarus' revival and then Jesus' resurrection?

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