gr-promo-pictureNote from Paula: Even though GLORY REVEALED is a work of fiction, in this story, I did try to remain biblically and historically respectful. While I am neither a theologian nor a historian, I am a good researcher.  The research I used for GLORY REVEALED was rather lengthy. If I tried to list all of it in the back of the print book, it would increase the size – and cost – of the book. Not only that; I have no control over whether certain websites I used as reference might close one day. 

My publisher and I came up with a solution: to create this page. Here I will share the glossary and some of the research I used for writing the book. If there is something you are curious about that I haven’t yet mentioned, click here to go to the Contact Paula page and send me a message.

Glossary and Information for GLORY REVEALED

All Scripture is paraphrased to match the conversational style used in the book.


Bar/Ben: Hebrew word meaning, ‘son of’ and used to identify a son’s father.

Bat: Hebrew word meaning ‘daughter of’ and used to identify a daughter’s father.

Amphora:  A Greek jar or vase with an oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles on either side of the mouth. These jars were used to hold liquids. (plural: amphorae)

Clean/Unclean: The Code of Holiness, primarily found in Leviticus 17-26, was assigned to people, animals and even inanimate objects. This special emphasis upon ritual holiness acknowledged Israel’s symbolic status as a people holy and separated to God.

Denarius: the most common Roman coin in circulation and was the equivalent of a day’s wage for a laborer.  In some versions of the Bible, it is also called a ‘penny.’

Mezuzah: the box on the doorposts of a house that contained portions of sacred scriptures.

Mikvah: a bath used as part of religious ritual cleansing.

Mohar:  Usually a present to the bride’s father, either in the form of a sum of money or its equivalent, such as when Jacob worked seven years for Leah and Rachel. While the mohar is a compensation to the father for the loss of his daughter, the fundamental purpose was to support her should she become widowed.

Terra sigillata ware: Bright-red, polished pottery used throughout the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD.

Veil: The practice of a woman veiling her face except in the presence of male relatives comes from the teaching of the Koran. During Old Testament and New Testament times, the veil was used only in exceptional cases, such as when a woman was in the presence of her betrothed husband.



Hebrew Calendar

I referenced two websites for the Hebrew calendar; The Jewish Virtual Library  and Judaism 101: Jewish Calendar.

The Jewish calendar does not precisely match the Georgian calendar, but readers may find this chart helpful as a guide to the times of the year mentioned in this story.

Hebrew Month                 Length              Georgian Equivalent

Nissan                               30 days                 March – April

Iyar                                   29 days                  April – May

Sivan                                30 days                  May – June

Tammuz                          29 days                  June – July

Av                                     30 days                  July – August

Elul                                  29 days                   August – September

Tishri                              30 days                   September – October

Heshvan                         29 or 30 days        October – November

Kislev                             29 or 30 days         November – December

Tevet                              29 days                    December – January

Shevat                            30 days                   January – February

Adar                               29 or 30 days         February – March

Adar II                           29 days                    March – April

In leap years, Adar has 30 days. In non-leap years, Adar has 29 days.

To convert the Georgian dates into Hebrew, I used the website HebCal: Hebrew Date Converter. The website mentions that results for year 1752 C.E. and earlier may be inaccurate, as it does not take into account the correction of ten days that was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII known as the Gregorian Reformation.

Jewish Holy Days mentioned in this book.

Passover [Pesach] is celebrated on Nissan 15 or the 15th day of Nissan. It is the day which commemorates when the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

Jewish New Year, [Rosh Hashanah] is known in the Bible as the Day of Remembrance. It occurs on the 1st and 2nd days of Tishri. This is the day that the number of the year will increase.

Day of Atonement [Yom Kuppur], celebrated on Tishri 10, is considered the most sacred and solemn day of the Jewish calendar.

The Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot] is also known as the Feast of Ingathering. It is celebrated shortly after the Day of Atonement on on Tishri 15.


Note from Paula: My hubby is a former Army Special Forces [Green Beret] officer. During his time with the 3rd of the 5th Special Forces Unit, he trained in all aspects of warfare and covert affairs. As an author, I understand creative license in moving a story forward; however, whenever we watch a war or spy movie,  I will frequently ask him, “Is that real or is it Hollywood?” 

In GLORY REVEALED, I have tried to be respectful of the biblical story as well as the historical and cultural setting. In my research, I came across information that I had never read or heard preached; I have included some of this in this book. In this section, I will address whether something in the book was ‘real’ or whether it was ‘Hollywood.’

*I used two different Bible software programs as part of the research for this book: the Glo Bible software by Immersion Digital and the WordSearch 10 Bible software powered by LifeWay. These two programs will be referred to as Glo Bible and WordSearch.

Alabastron: an elongated, narrow-necked flask carved from alabaster that was used as to hold perfume or unguents. A wife anointing her husband’s feet after the consummation of their marriage was real. While writing BEAUTY UNVEILED, I found this information on another website; that website has since closed. However, Foundation Ministries supports this research.

Birth of Christ, Dating: Real. I used two sources for this. One was the article from Touchstone Archives; “Calculating Christmas.” The other source was from Rick Larson, writer/producer for the best-selling DVD, “The Star of Bethlehem” and the upcoming DVD “The Christ Quake.” Rick Larson not only gave me information on the Star and Quake, but also was kind enough to read the sections about the earthquake at the Cross and Resurrection in GLORY REVEALED and write an endorsement for the book.

Betrothal and marriage: Real. I got most of the information about betrothal and marriage customs from the 1953 book, “Manners and Customs of Bible Lands” by Fred W. Wright. [Moody Bible Institute of Chicago]

Betrothal and Marriage
In early Israel it was a general practice for a man to marry within his own clan ( Gen 24:4 ; 28:2 ; 29:19 ; Judg 14:3 ). Long after the tribal framework of Israel’s life had been broken up, marriage within the same family was still considered ideal.

Cousin marriages were common in Israel during Biblical times and continue to be preferred even today among the Middle East Arabs.
Marriage with Canaanites was prohibited ( Deut 7:3 ). Priests were forbidden to marry a harlot or a divorcee ( Lev 21:7 ). A high priest was prohibited to marry a widow and he was restricted to one wife ( Lev 21:13 , 14 ). According to the later Jewish law, the consent of parents was no legal requirement when the parties to the marriage were of age. Melziner stated that because of the high respect and veneration in which father and mother have ever been held among Israelites, “the cases of contracting marriage without the parents’ consent belonged to the rarest exceptions.” One very important reason for the connection between filial submissiveness and religious beliefs was no doubt the extreme importance attached to the curses and blessings of parents. The Israelites believed that parents, and esp. a father, could by their blessings and/or curses determine the destiny of their children.

Another prohibition was related to seniority. Such custom was found in China, and among Sem. and Aryan peoples. “And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn” ( Gen 29:26 KJV).

B. Choosing the bride.
It appears that both boys and girls were married very young. Later the rabbis fixed the minimum age for marriage at twelve for the girls and thirteen for the boys. The parents usually made the decisions for the young people. However, there were love marriages in Israel. The young man could make his preferences known or he could make his own decision without consulting his parents. He could make his own decisions even against the wishes of his parents.

C. Mohar–the price of the wife.

Mohar is usually a present to the bride’s father, either in the form of a sum of money or its equivalent in kind. Sometimes mohar can be an unusual deed; the mohar is not a fixed sum. It depends upon the social standing and the wealth of the parties concerned as well as the means of providing and the wish of the girl’s father. Mohar is a compensation to the father for the loss of his daughter as well as the means of providing her with certain necessities. The fundamental purpose of the mohar seems to be to insure the woman against being left unsupported if widowed.

The word occurs only three times in the Bible ( Gen 34:12 ; Exod 22:16 ; 1 Sam 18:25 ). For a compulsory marriage after a virgin had been raped, the law prescribed the payment of fifty shekels of silver ( Deut 22:29 ). The ordinary mohar must have been less.

A fiancé could compound for the payment of the mohar by providing a service as Jacob did for Leah and Rachel, David did for Michal, and Othniel for Caleb’s daughter.

In the thinking of the Israelites mohar seems to have been not so much a price paid for the woman as a compensation given to the family. It is also probable that the father enjoyed only the usufruct of the mohar, and that actually the mohar reverted to the daughter at the time of succession, or if her husband’s death reduced her to penury.

Gifts presented by the bridegroom on the occasion of the wedding were quite different from the mohar ( Gen 34:12 ). The presents were rewards for the acceptance of the proposal of marriage. In general the custom of providing a dowry never took root in Jewish territory. Fathers gave with their daughters no gifts other than maidservants. There were special cases when fathers gave portions of land with their daughters.

In order to protect the wife in the event of her becoming widowed or divorced, it was established by the Jewish law that before the nuptials the husband was to make out an obligation in writing, which entitled her to receive a certain sum from his estate in case of her divorcement. This obligation was termed kethubah or the marriage deed. For the security of the wife’s claim to the amount fixed in the kethubah all the property of the husband, both real and personal, was mortgaged. The kethubah is still retained in most Jewish marriages, though it has little legal significance in many countries.

The precursor to the wedding rings. [parable of woman with coins]
In the Talmudic law the mutual consent of the parties to marry each other has to be legally manifested by a special formality, which gives validity to the marriage contract. The usual formality is that called kaseph or “money.” The man gave to his chosen bride a piece of money, even a peruta (the smallest copper coin in use in Pal.), or any object of equal value, in the presence of two witnesses, with the words, “Be thou consecrated to me.” In the Middle Ages the piece of money was replaced with a plain ring.

The Babylonian law required the bride’s parents to make their daughter a wedding gift or settlement which remained her property, the husband receiving the interest as income on it.

At the time of the Mishnah and Talmud, the gifts the bride brought with her from her parents began to be known as a “neduniah,” or dowry. The sum involved was registered in the kethubah. If it was money which the husband would invest in his business he promised to repay his wife, under specific conditions, the full amount plus one-third interest. If it consisted of clothing and household goods, their value was registered but the husband was committed only to repayment of the value less one-fifth, to allow for depreciation.
D. Marriage formalities and ceremonies.
In the ancient Near E marriage was a civil matter. The marriage deed was a legal contract defining the rights of the parties concerned. For the Israelites it was a covenant or b’rith.

Since early times, there have been two stages to a Jewish marriage: betrothal and marriage proper. The betrothal is a legally binding promise of marriage ( Deut 20:7 ). A man betrothed was exempt from military service. The betrothed woman was regarded as though she were already married. Any other man who violated her was stoned to death as an adulterer.

The rabbis continued the distinction between the two stages of marriage: “erusim” or “kiddushin” (betrothal) and “huppah” (the word means “canopy”) which represented the actual ceremony of bringing home the bride.
1. Kiddushin.
According to the law the bride might be bought (betrothed) either by money, by writ (a brief contract) or by cohabitation. Betrothal by contract was suspended before the Middle Ages, and is now almost unknown. In the case of betrothal by cohabitation, the man and woman entered a private chamber, having first declared to witnesses that their actions would count as a betrothal. During the NT times this manner of betrothal was disapproved because of its licentious nature. This left the betrothal by money as the last alternative. In the early Middle Ages betrothal by ring was introduced into Pal. and this has remained the custom ever since.

At the time of the Restoration, after the Exile and thereafter, the betrothed girl was expected to remain virgin. During and after the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, however, the requirement of chastity was relaxed and the betrothed girl was permitted sexual relations with her future husband.
2. Huppah
—the actual wedding ceremony of bringing home the bride. Marriage was a time for rejoicing. The chief ceremony was the entry of the bride into the bridegroom’s house. The bridegroom was the king for a week. During the whole week their majesties wore their festal clothes, did not work, and merely looked on at the games—except that now and then the queen joined in a dance. Accompanied by his friends with tambourines and a band they went to the bride’s house where the wedding ceremonies were to start. The bride richly dressed, adorned with jewels ( Ps 45:14 , 15 ), usually wore a veil, which she took off only in the bridal chamber. Escorted by her companions, the bride was led to the home of the bridegroom. Love songs were sung in praise of the bridal pair. Speeches were made in their honor, exalting the graces of the newly wedded. Big feasts were prepared in the house of the bride and sometimes in the bridegroom’s parents’ house. At the close of the feast the bride was conducted by her parents to the nuptial chamber ( Judg 15:1 ). The bride remained veiled throughout all these ceremonies ( Gen 29:23 ). After the wedding night ( Gen 29:23 ) it was customary for the bride’s parents to preserve the blood-stained sheet as proof of the girl’s virginity ( Deut 22:13-21 ). The duty of preserving evidence of the bride’s antenuptial chastity was intended as a safeguard against the slanders of a malicious or inconstant husband. There were no marriage festivities for concubines.

IV. Succession and inheritance

The rule of primogeniture was generally accepted in Israel. The rule held good throughout Israel’s history, was confirmed by the Mishnah and Talmud and is valid to this day in Jewish religious law.

The first-born received the prime choice of the inheritance. He was expected, however, to share it, equally, by lot, with the others. Upon the death of his father, he inherited twice the share of his brothers in the family property ( Deut 21:17 ). At the same time he became the head of the family. While his father was living, the eldest son was second in rank and authority and had special religious, social and economic responsibilities.

Every first-born was considered sacred to God in Israel. The first-born humans were redeemed and were not sacrificed as were the animals ( Exod 13:15 ). The consecration of all Levites to the service of God was regarded as a suitable substitute for the rest of the people ( Num 3:12 , 13 ; 8:16-18 ).

The Jewish father, according to Israelite custom, was expected to make a will before his death ( 2 Sam 17:23 ; 2 Kings 20:1 ; Isa 38:1 ). In so doing, however, the father was legally restrained from trying to deprive his oldest son of his right to a double share in the inheritance.

As a general rule the daughters were not included in the inheritance of their fathers. There were exceptions as in the case when a man had no sons. In such a case, in order to keep the estate within the tribe, the girls were expected to marry men of their father’s tribe and were entitled to their father’s inheritance. Cases in point were the daughters of Zelophehad ( Num 27:1-11 ; 36:1-12 ), and the daughters of Eleazar who were married to their own cousins ( 1 Chron 23:22 ). Job’s three daughters inherited equally with their brothers—but Job was not necessarily a Heb.

When a man died leaving neither sons nor daughters, his relatives were the inheritors and not his wife. A childless widow would be remarried under the levirate law, or else return to her father’s house ( Gen 38:11 ; Lev 22:13 ; Ruth 1:8 ). A widow with adult sons would expect them to support her, but if she had small children it was her job to administer her husband’s estate until they grew up and entered into their inheritance.

V. The status of women

A Heb. woman’s status was inferior to that of women in Egypt—who were found to serve as heads of their families, or in Babylon, where a woman could acquire property, be a party to a contract and share in her husband’s inheritance. In Israel a woman could only own her marriage portion of the dowry, and even this was administered by her husband. She was excluded from her husband’s inheritance but had the right to administer her husband’s estate until her sons became of age after their father’s death.

Even though the Israelite women have not enjoyed greater privileges their status was far higher than that of the Assyrian women who were treated as, or worse than, beasts of burden.

The birth of children, esp. of boys, usually heightened the status of women. The law commanded that children honor their mother on an equal basis with their father.

Israelite women were allowed to play a part in various religious gatherings and rituals, bringing sacrifices in their own name ( Lev 12:6 , 8 ; 1 Sam 1:23 , 24 ); partaking of the sacred meal ( Deut 12:12 , 18 ; 14:22 , 29 ) offering prayers at the shrines ( 1 Sam 1:9-12 ).

The Israelite women even played their part in public affairs. Only a general atmosphere of social respect for them could have produced women of the caliber of Miriam, Deborah, Jael, Huldah and Athaliah.

A. Virgins.

A girl was expected to be chaste until marriage. The bride’s parents had the responsibility to preserve the “tokens of virginity” of their daughter, the blood-stained garment or sheet from the nuptial bed. Such proofs were preserved as proper evidence in case the husband accused his wife of unchastity. In the case that he was found to be a liar he was first whipped, then fined twice the amount of a normal dowry ( Deut 22:13-19 ). However, if the accusations were true the wife was stoned ( 22:20 , 21 ).

B. Married women.

The Israelite law has developed detailed and strict regulations governing a woman’s sexual role and life. Her rights were few, her obligations many. With a few exceptions she was deprived of the right to divorce her husband. Legally she was regarded as a piece of his property. The generally accepted sexual double standards placed upon her the burden of the code of sexual morality.

Burial of Jesus: Real. I found the following information from the “Bible Background Commentary” on the WordSearch.

Arimathea was only about twenty miles from Jerusalem. Joseph is said to have been wealthy; he must have been prominent to have secured an audience with Pilate after his official public hours. When buried, crucifixion victims were normally thrown into common graves; they did not receive an honorable burial in their family tomb. Exceptions were often made when relatives asked for the body, but in the case of treason (as claiming to be the Jewish king would be) an exception would not be made unless the deceased had a prominent advocate. Jesus had a posthumous ally in this man of influence, who was not ashamed to go on record as his follower.

“Evening” need not mean sundown and therefore that the Sabbath had begun, but there is no reason to think that the Sabbath had not begun. In this hot climate under Jewish law the preliminary disposal of the body (including its washing, also practiced by other peoples) took precedence over celebration of the Sabbath, even if the rest of the treatment of the body had to wait. Burying the dead was an important duty of the pious in Judaism. Public mourning was important for all the dead but was illegal for anyone who had been executed.

Children, Rearing: Real.Under the topic of “Marriage” in the Glo Bible:

The relation of Heb. parents and children could be identified with a family of the patriarchal type. The father was responsible for the training of his children, including the religious training. It was expected from him to “command his children and his household after him,” to “keep the way of the Lord , to do justice and judgment” ( Gen 18:19 KJV). Every Heb. male child was circumcised on the eighth day of his life and thus set apart to Jehovah ( 17:10 ). In the earlier years the child was under the close care of his mother. After his fifth birthday the boy came more directly under the care of his father, who instructed him in the Torah and in the Talmud. Moreover, every father was expected to teach his son a trade as a means of livelihood.

At about the time of Christ, Rabbi Joshua ben Gamala instituted schools apart from the homes in every town and village of Pal. The chief subject matters in the new schools continued to be the Mosaic law and the two portions of the Talmud, the Mishna and the Gemara. Because of the intercourse with Greece, it is likely that the Gr. language was also studied.

The education of girls was not neglected. Above all things their education was designed to fit them for their special sphere of responsibility, the management of the household. They were helped to become better wives and better mothers also through their participation in the family worship and the study of the sacred writings. The Heb. family was, therefore, an institution of significant moral, religious, social and economic value.

Clean and Unclean: Real. In addition to the Glo Bible and WordSearch, I found this article helpful:

Cleansing the Temple: Real. I found the following information from the “Bible Knowledge Commentary” in WordSearch.

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, He went into the temple area (hieron; cf. v. 11), the large outer court of the Gentiles surrounding the inner sacred courts of the temple itself. (See the sketch of the temple.) No Gentile was allowed beyond this outer court. In it the high priest Caiaphas had authorized a market (probably a recent economic innovation) for the sale of ritually pure items necessary for temple sacrifice: wine, oil, salt, approved sacrificial animals and birds.
Money from three sources circulated in Palestine in New Testament times: imperial money (Roman), provincial money (Greek), and local money (Jewish). Money changers provided the required Tyrian (Jewish) coinage for the annual half-shekel temple tax (Ex. 30:12-16) required of all male Jews 20 years of age and up. This was in exchange for their Greek and Roman currency, which featured human portraits considered idolatrous. Though a small surcharge was permitted in these transactions, dealings were not free from extortion and fraud. In addition (according to Mark 11:16) people loaded with merchandise were taking shortcuts through this area, making it a thoroughfare from one part of the city to another.
Jesus was outraged by this blatant disregard for the temple area specifically set apart for Gentile use. So He overturned the money changers’ tables and the dove-sellers’ benches, and would not allow people to use the area as a thoroughfare. Other certified markets were available elsewhere in the city.

Climate in Israel: I used two websites for information about Israel’s climate: ClimaTemps and Gil Travel Group’s Temperatures in Israel.

Clothing: I found the following article on “Dress” in the Glo Bible.

Ever since the creation man has been interested in articles of clothing, and thus it is not surprising that the Bible gives considerable information as to articles worn by men and women. Sometimes the Heb. and Gr. terms are clear as to the exact nature of the items, and at other times there exists doubt as to the specific shape, size, or character of the articles.
A. Descriptions in which terms for several articles of dress occur together.
Several passages in the OT and NT give descriptions of dress to be worn (including ornaments) in which a number of Heb. and Gr. terms for articles of apparel are to be found together. These and other terms are found scattered throughout the Scriptures.

Matthew 5:40 and Luke 6:29 are instructive as to the ancient practice of wearing outer and inner garments, by using the terms , , “tunic,” for the “inner garment” and , , for the “outer.” In Matthew 5:40 the , , RSV “coat” or “inner garment” occurs first, because in this legal case described, the defendant, besides the more easily accessible himation, “cloak,” was to relinquish the indispensable , , the “inner” garment. However, in Luke 6:29 the himation is listed first, because in a robbery situation the “outer garment,” , , would logically be stolen first, and then, the inner chitōn.

Fully dressed men are described in Daniel 3:21 (in an Aram. section of the book) as being attired in “mantles” ( , , prob. or possibly “trousers,” or, even “shoes”), “tunics” ( , , meaning uncertain, possibly “tunic” or “leggins”), “their hats” ( , , prob. “helmet” or “cap”; cf. Akkad. karballatu ), “and their other garments” ( , , “garment,” the same word as the Heb. one); but, as can be seen, this v. is difficult of interpretation in light of the dubious meaning of the Aram. words.

Ezekiel 16:8-14 presents Jerusalem in the figure of a woman regally attired as a bride. She is pictured as clothed “with embroidered cloth” ( , variegated, woven, or embroidered stuff), “fine linen” ( , fine Egyp. linen) and “silk” ( , a costly material for garments, according to Rabb “silk”); and she is shod “with leather” ( , a kind of leather or skin used for sandals) and has a “beautiful crown” ( , “crown of splendor” or “beauty”) on her head. She also is pictured as adorned with ornaments ( , ), such as arm bracelets ( , , “bracelet”), neck chain ( , “chain,” ornament for the neck), a nose ring ( , used both as nose ring for women as here, and earring for men and women), and earrings ( , , “hoop” or “ring,” prob. “earring”).

Isaiah 3:18-24 presents a fairly long list of clothing and ornamental items, and materials for beautifying, among which are finery for the ankles (i.e., anklets as ornaments), headbands ( , , “frontband”; cf. Arab., a “sum” or small glass neck-ornament), crescents ( , , “moon” or “crescent,” as an ornament), pendants ( , , “drop,” “pendant,” or “pearl”), bracelets ( , , “bracelet”), veils ( , , prob. “veil”; RSV “scarf”), headdresses ( , , “headdress,” “turban”), armlets ( , , “armlet,” a band clasping the upper arm), sashes ( , , “bands” or “sashes,” a woman’s ornament which is bound on), charms ( , , “charms,” or “amulets” worn by women), signet rings ( , , here “ring” as an ornament), nose rings (cf. Ezek 16:12 ), “festal robes” ( , , “robe of state,” here in Isa 3:22 , dress robes of the ladies of Jerusalem), mantles ( , , “overtunic” or “mantle”), cloaks ( , , “cloak,” that which is spread over), handbags ( , , “bag” or “purse,” made of skin or other material), garments of gauze, or transparent garments ( , , or “tablets of polished metal,” “mirrors”), linen garments ( , , “linen cloth” or “wrapper”), turbans for women ( , , “turban,” here of women), large veils ( , , or “wide wrapper”), girdles ( , , “girdle,” “loin covering,” “belt”) and rich robes ( , , “rich robe”).

Revelation 18:16 pictures Babylon as a woman in her finery with her fine linen garments ( , , made of fine linen, “linen garment”; cf. the Heb. term in Isa 3:23 ) dyed with purple ( , ) and scarlet ( , ) and adorned with gold ornaments ( , ), precious stones ( ) and pearls ( , ).

When Abraham’s servant went to Nahor in Mesopotamia to obtain Rebekah as a bride for Isaac, the text of Genesis 24 speaks of items of clothing and adornment for her, such as a gold nose ring and arm bracelets ( vv. 22 , 47 ), jewelry of silver and gold and clothing ( , , a garment, clothing or robe of any kind) ( v. 53 ).

The kind of dress worn by Jesus and His disciples can be deduced from the instructions given by Jesus to the Twelve ( Matt 10:5-15 ; Luke 9:1-6 ) and to the seventy ( 10:1-12 ) as they went out on their preaching missions. Such articles included tunics ( , , “tunic,” “undergarment”), sandals ( , ), belts ( , , “belt,” “girdle”), money bags or purses ( , ) and staff ( , ).

The dress of Aaron, the high priest and his sons, was to some extent specialized. In Exodus 28:4 Aaron’s dress was said to have included a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe ( , , “robe,” an external garment worn over the inner tunic), a tunic ( , , here the high priest’s embroidered tunic), a turban ( , , here, the turban for the high priest), and a girdle ( , , the special girdle of the priests, and of the high priest

Exod 28:4 , 39 ; Lev 8:7 ; 16:4 ). For Aaron’s sons were made the tunic ( kuttonet ) and the girdle ( ’abnēt , Exod 28:40 ; 29:9 ; Lev 8:13 , the same girdle as worn by the high priest) and a hat or cap, different from that of the high priest, called the , , (cf. Exod 29:9 ; 39:28 ; Lev 8:13 ).

B. General terms for garments of men and women.
The examples given in the preceding discussion present some of the terms for clothing given in the Scriptures. Some of these words together with others often are used to refer to clothing in general, rather than to distinguish individual garments worn.

One such widely used OT term is , , a word to indicate a garment or robe of any kind. It is used for the garment of the poor and needy ( Job 22:6 ), including the widow ( Deut 24:17 , “you shall not…take a widow’s garment in pledge”) and the prophet ( 2 Kings 4:39 “lap”) to the elaborate and costly robes of the wealthy ( Esth 4:1 ; Zech 14:14 ) and royal robes of princes ( 1 Sam 19:13 , the princely garments of David, Saul’s son-in-law), and kings such as David ( 1 Kings 1:1 ), Ahab and Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chron 18:9 ). Likewise, beged refers to the filthy, torn clothes of lepers ( Lev 13:45 , 47 ), the holy garments of the priests ( Hag 2:12 ) and the high priest ( Exod 28:2 ). Beged is used prophetically for the garments of Christ which were to be divided among the soldiers ( Ps 22:18 ; cf. John 19:24 ). The word is used also for the clothing of the ordinary human being ( Ps 102:26 ; Prov 25:20 ; Joel 2:13 ).

, , is used as a general term for clothing in the reference to the clothes under which Ehud’s sword was hid ( Judg 3:16 ) to soldier’s garments ( 1 Sam 17:38 ; 18:4 ; 2 Sam 20:8 ) and to the coat of the common man ( Ps 109:18 ).

, , term also is used in the general sense of garments as in the instructions to Ruth ( 3:3 ) to “put on her best clothes” and in the reminder to Israel that in the wilderness wandering their clothing did not wear out ( Deut 8:4 ). The Lord is pictured as one who gives the sojourner clothing as well as food ( Deut 10:18 ) and these garments are spoken of as such as a a man would cover himself with at night ( Exod 22:26 ; cf. Gen 9:23 ). Jacob instructs his household to change their garments ( Gen 35:2 ) and David, following the death of the child born to him of Bathsheba “changed his clothes” ( 2 Sam 12:20 ). This term can be used to refer to a captive woman’s clothing ( Deut 21:13 ), but can also indicate the garments both of men and women ( 22:5 ). Such garments could be used to hold various objects, such as military spoil ( Judg 8:25 ), a sword ( 1 Sam 21:9 ), and kitchen equipment ( Exod 12:34 ). This word by metathesis becomes , , and as such is used in general for clothing i.e., in reference to the clothes of the Gibeonites ( Josh 9:5 ) and the well preserved garments worn by the Israelites following the Exodus ( Deut 29:5 ).

The general term , , means “covering,” “clothing,” and is used for a woman’s clothing ( Exod 21:10 ), as well as for the “covering” used to keep a man warm at night ( Exod 22:26 , 27 ; Job 24:7 ).

The general reference to clothes in Ezekiel 27:24 is to the , , (a garment made perfectly or gorgeously) and to the , , (a “wrapper” or “garment”).

In the NT , , can be used generally for clothing (as well as for the outer garment) as seen in reference to an old garment ( Matt 9:16 ; Mark 2:21 ; Luke 5:36 ; Heb 1:11 ; cf. Ps 102:26 ), in the pl., to clothing ( Matt 27:35 ; cf. John 19:24 ; Ps 22:18 ), and to various pieces of clothing contributed as covering for the colt upon which Jesus rode and for the road upon which He traveled ( Matt 21:7 , 8 ; Mark 11:7 , 8 ; Luke 19:35 , 36 ). The , , used in John 21:7 can mean just “clothes” or possibly “outer garments.”

C. Individual articles of clothing for the body.

1. Materials used.
Clothing could be made of sackcloth ( Jonah 3:6 ) or of costly materials ( Gen 24:53 ; Esth 4:4 ; Zech 14:14 ; Rev 18:16 ), and the material itself might be made of sack or coarse hair ( , , “sack,” “sackcloth”; 1 Kings 21:27 ; 2 Kings 6:30 ) or of fine linen as in the case of priestly garments ( Lev 6:10 ; 16:4 ); and of the fine linen garments given by Pharaoh to Joseph ( Gen 41:42 ), of garments in the time of Ezekiel ( 16:10 ) and of the NT ( Rev 18:12 , 16 ).

Sometimes garments were made of silk ( Ezek 16:10 , 13 ). Garments of such fine materials would be known as “soft raiment” ( Luke 7:25 ). The OT instructed that garments should not be woven out of two different materials ( Lev 19:19 ), such as wool and linen ( Deut 22:11 ), materials from the different animal and plant kingdoms. Some garments would contain special adornments as the collar on Aaron’s robes ( Ps 133:2 ), the embroidered or checker work on his coat ( Exod 28:4 , 39 ), and tassels, as indicated in the instructions regarding the cloak of the common Israelite ( Deut 22:12 ). Garments ordinarily seem to have been white ( Eccl 9:8 ; John 20:12 ; cf. Rev 3:5 , 18 ; 4:4 ; Matt 17:2 ), but they were also dyed purple and scarlet ( 2 Sam 1:24 ; Prov 31:22 ; Rev 18:16 ), and were black in the case of mourning ( Rev 6:12 ; cf. Herm. vis 4, 1, 10). Sometimes garments were scented with perfume as in the case of those of kings ( Ps 45:8 ) and brides ( Song of Solomon 4:11 ).

2. Men’s garments.
Men’s outer garments could be expressed by the terms , , (see Isa 36:22 ; 37:1 where Hezekiah and his men rend their clothes); and by , , a new garment with which the prophet Ahijah clothed himself and which he tore into twelve pieces ( 1 Kings 11:29 , 30 ).

A different Heb. term , , is used in the OT to indicate an “exterior garment” or “robe” worn over an inner tunic or coat. It was like the qumbaz of modern Pal., being a long loosely-fitting robe, prob. sleeveless, worn over all other garments. It was worn by men of rank such as kings and princes (Saul and Jonathan, 1 Sam 18:4 ; 24:5 ); foreign princes ( Ezek 26:16 ); David ( 1 Chron 15:27 ); prophets (as Samuel, 1 Sam 15:27 ); and scribes such as Ezra ( 9:3 ). It was also a robe of the high priest (the robe of the ephod) made of blue ( Exod 28:31 ; 39:22 ), which had skirts around which were alternatively colored pomegranates and golden bells, and an opening at the top by which it could be pulled over the head ( Exod 39:22-26 ).

The NT term , , could not only refer to clothing in general but also it was used to indicate the outer garment, “the cloak,” in contrast to the , , the inner garment, “the coat” or “tunic.” It means “cloak” in Matthew 9:20 where the woman “touched the fringe of his (Jesus) garment,” and in the passage where Jesus tells His disciples to sell their “mantles” and buy a sword ( Luke 22:36 ). The purple robe that the soldiers put on Jesus was an outer garment ( John 19:2 ), and Christ’s outer robe is to be inscribed with King of kings and Lord of lords ( Rev 19:16 ). Those who stoned Stephen laid aside their cloaks to free their arms for their task ( Acts 7:58 ). The tearing of the cloak was a sign of grief ( 14:14 ). The , , a covering something like a “cloak” is pictured as perishable in comparison with the eternal God ( Heb 1:12 ). The , , “robe,” esp. a long-flowing robe, was evidently something like the outer himation , but of superior quality, being the best robe put on the prodigal son ( Luke 15:22 ), the robe worn by triumphant saints ( Rev 7:14 ) and angels ( Mark 16:5 ). Scribes are characterized as walking around in these long robes ( 12:38 ).

The principal Heb. word to express the inner garment was the , , the ordinary garment worn by man and woman next to the skin, as seen in the tunics of skin worn by Adam and Eve ( Gen 3:21 ) and the cloth inner garment rent as a sign of extreme grief ( 2 Sam 15:32 ). It had a mouth or collar ( Job 30:18 ), and at least in some cases reached to the ankles, and had sleeves ( Gen 37:3 , 23 , 32 ). These tunic-type garments pictured in the Beni-Hasan painting of about 1890 b.c. (ANEP, 3) are sleeveless, draped over one shoulder, and about calf length. This type of garment was also worn by the high priest ( Lev 16:4 ) and by the priests generally ( Exod 29:8 ; 40:14 ).

The , , “drawers,” was a special priestly linen garment worn next to the skin to cover the body from the loins to the thighs ( Exod 28:42 ) to be used by the priest when removing ashes from the altar of burnt offering ( Lev 6:10 ) and by the high priest on the Day of Atonement ( Lev 16:4 ).

The NT , , “tunic” or “coat,” was worn next to the skin (cf. Matt 5:40 ; Luke 6:29 ), and was the seamless garment of Jesus for which the soldiers cast lots ( John 19:23 , 24 ). Dorcas had made numbers of these articles ( Acts 9:39 ).

Accessories in addition to clothing included waistcloths and girdles such as the , , a “waistcloth,” which was a girdle of leather worn by Elijah ( 2 Kings 1:8 ), but a waistcloth of linen for Jeremiah ( 13:1 ), an article which would be loosened at night ( Isa 5:27 ). There were also the , , “belt” or “girdle,” used by the soldier to which was attached a sheath with its sword ( 2 Sam 20:8 ), and the , , a “girdle,” or “loin covering” used by Adam and Eve ( Gen 3:7 ) and also as a belt by the warrior ( 1 Kings 2:5 ). The , , was the girdle of the priests ( Exod 28:40 ), the high priest ( Exod 28:4 , 39 ), and also of a high official ( Isa 22:21 ). The , , “girdle,” was an Egyp. loan word mdh , used in Psalm 109:19 . In the NT the , , is the “belt” or “girdle,” made of leather (worn by John the Baptist, Matt 3:4 ; Mark 1:6 ) or of gold ( Rev 1:13 ), used as an instrument to bind parts of the body ( Acts 21:11 ) and to hold up the long flowing garments for ease in traveling ( 1 Pet 1:13 ). Money could also be kept in it ( Matt 10:9 ; Mark 6:8 ).

A special garment was the , , “mantle” or “cloak,” worn by Elijah the prophet ( 1 Kings 19:13 , 19 ; 2 Kings 2:8 , 13 , 14 ) evidently an insignia of his office (cf. Zech 13:4 ), and also by the king of Nineveh ( Jonah 3:6 ). Such a distinctive kind of mantle, a beautiful and costly one from Shinar was that which tempted Achan ( Josh 7:21 , 24 ).

3. Women’s garments.
The term , , could be used also for women’s garments as those of the widow ( Deut 24:17 ), as is likewise true of the , , ( Deut 22:5 ; Isa 4:1 ), and , , ( 2 Sam 1:24 ; Ps 45:14 ). In the NT the woman wore the outer garment, also named the himation ( Acts 9:39 ; 1 Tim 2:9 ; 1 Pet 3:3 ).

The inner tunic, the , , was also worn by the woman, as by Eve ( Gen 3:21 ) and the king’s daughter ( 2 Sam 13:18 , 19 ), and could be put off at night ( Song of Solomon 5:3 ). The a “linen wrapper” or “garment,” is in the list of women’s lingerie in Isaiah 3:23 . In the NT the women also wore a garment called the , , ( Matt 10:10 ; Acts 9:39 ).
As to accessories, the women’s girdle is mentioned in Isaiah 3:24 , presumably being similar to the ordinary sash or belt worn by men.

D. Footwear.
The normal covering for the foot was the sandal, expressed by the word , , as in reference to the sandals of the Israelites in the wilderness journey ( Deut 29:5 ) and those worn out, patched ones of the Gibeonites ( Josh 9:5 ; cf. 1 Kings 2:5 ), which evidences the general practice of wearing some sort of protective covering for the bottom of the foot. Sandals were removed in mourning ( Ezek 24:17 , 23 ) and when standing on holy ground ( Exod 3:5 ; Josh 5:15 ; Acts 7:33 ). Evidently there were other times, however, when a person would not wear his sandals or at least when an extra pair of sandals would be carried ( Matt 3:11 ; Mark 6:9 ; Luke 10:4 ). They were taken off when sleeping ( Acts 12:8 ). This sandal was bound on the foot by means of a thong according to Genesis 14:23 ; Isaiah 5:27 (cf. Mark 1:7 ). Another Heb. word for footwear was the , , (prob. a loan word from Akkad. šênu, “shoe,” “sandal,” of leather) but its one OT use in Isaiah 9:5 refers to a soldier’s “boot” or “shoe.”

In the NT the term for footwear is the , , a “sandal” or “leather” sole fastened to the foot by straps, an article referred to in Matthew 3:11 ; Luke 3:16 ; 15:22 . Another term was , , a leather or wood sole also strapped to the foot ( Mark 6:9 and Acts 12:8 ).

Women, too, wore sandals as evidenced by Song of Solomon 7:1 and Ezekiel 16:10 , in the latter case the footwear being of leather. Shoes were so worn as evidenced in the Beni Hasan painting (ANEP, 3) where men are shown in thonged sandals but the women in shoes with a white border around the top, completely covering the foot and coming up over the ankle.

E. Headwear.
Infrequent are references to headdress. There was the , , a “headdress,” or “turban,” worn by the bridegroom ( Isa 61:10 ; the RSV, “garland”), by priests ( Exod 39:28 ; Ezek 44:18 ), and by elegant women ( Isa 3:20 ). It could be worn as a sign of joy ( Isa 61:3 , “garland”), the opposite of mourning ( Ezek 24:17 , 23 ). The , , was the linen turban of the high priest ( Exod 28:4 , 37 , 39 ; Lev 8:9 ), but it could also be a sign of royalty ( Ezek 21:26 ). The , , however, was the turban or headdress of the priest ( Exod 28:40 ), possibly conical in shape ( Exod 29:9 ; Lev 8:13 ). Compare the conical hats shown in ANEP, 46, 47, 61, 355. The , , was the soldier’s helmet ( 1 Sam 17:5 ; Jer 46:4 ; cf. , , the helmet of Eph 6:17 and 1 Thess 5:8 ).

Besides the headdress of Isaiah 3:20 , women wore the , , (“turban,” Isa 3:23 ). They also wore the face-veil ( , , Gen 24:65 ; 38:14 , 19 ) and a wide or large veil, the , , which evidently was to cover the upper part of the body ( Song of Solomon 5:7 ; Isa 3:23 ). The more elaborate tiara or turban ( ) also used by women such as Judith ( 16:8 ), does not occur in the NT.

F. Ornaments.
Ornaments worn with clothing included the finger ring, , , used as a symbol of authority ( Gen 41:42 ; Esth 3:10 ; 8:2 ) and also as an instrument to seal official documents ( Esth 3:12 ; 8:8 ). The , , the seal or signet ring was hung by a cord around the neck ( Gen 38:18 ), and also worn on the right hand ( Jer 22:24 ). The , , the “ring of gold” of Job 42:11 , was the customary golden earrings of the Ishmaelites ( Judg 8:24-26 ), and was worn by men and women ( Exod 32:2 , 3 ); but it was also used as a woman’s ornamental nose-ring ( Gen 24:47 ; Isa 3:21 ; Ezek 16:12 ). The , , in Luke 15:22 refers to a ring but the , , of Revelation 5:1 ; 7:2 is only a seal.

Royalty wore crescent-shaped ornaments ( , ) ( Judg 8:26 ) (as did also women, Isa 3:18 ) and also eardrops or pendants ( , , 2 Sam 1:10 ), which other men and women also wore ( Num 31:50 ; cf. Isa 3:20 ).

Beyond the above, women were adorned with a number of ornaments called , , “ornaments” ( 2 Sam 1:24 ; Jer 2:32 ), including jewels of silver and gold ( Gen 24:53 ; 1 Tim 2:9 ). The bracelet ( , ) worn on the wrist ( Ezek 23:42 ) or arm ( Gen 24:22 , 30 ; Num 31:50 ; Ezek 16:11 ) and the chain for the neck ( , , Ezek 16:11 ), among others, were important items of adornments.

[A. Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (n.d.), 216-222; A. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah , vol. 1 (1901), 620-627; vol. II, 278, 279; J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near East in Pictures (1954).         W. H. Mare

Crucifixion: Real I used the following information from the Glo Bible.

A method of execution which arose in the E, a fixing to a cross as a means of torture, practiced by the Medes and Persians, and passed to the West among the Greeks and the Romans, in the 1st cent. esp. related to the latter.

1. A means of torture.
The cross consisted of a perpendicular stake with a crossbeam either at the top of the stake or shortly below the top. The height of the stake was usually little more than the height of a man. A block or a pin was sometimes driven into the stake to serve as a seat for the condemned person, giving partial support to his body. Sometimes also a step for the feet was fixed to the stake. Victims of crucifixion did not usually die for two or three days, but this was determined by the presence or absence of the seat ( sedile or cornu ) and the foot rest, for a person suspended by his hands lost blood pressure quickly, and the pulse rate was increased. Usually the victim had been severely scourged before crucifixion took place. Orthostatic collapse through insufficient blood circulating to the brain and the heart would follow shortly. If the victim could ease his body by supporting himself with the seat and footrest, the blood could be returned to some degree of circulation in the upper part of his body. To fix the hands to the crossbeam ( patibulum ), either cords or nails and cords were used; sometimes the feet were nailed also. When it was desired to bring the torture to an end, the victim’s legs were broken below the knees with a club. It was then no longer possible for him to ease his weight, and the loss of blood circulation was accentuated. Coronary insufficiency followed shortly. The victim’s offense was usually published by a crier who preceded him to the place of execution. Sometimes it was written on a tablet (called titulus ) which was carried by the condemned man himself. Or if he carried the crossbeam as was sometimes done, another bore the tablet with its charge before him. Later the charge or titulus was fixed to the cross at the time of execution.

2. Among the Romans.
The Romans were the chief practitioners of this form of execution. There was no uniform method of fastening the victim to the cross, which was due to the fact that Rom. law authorized crucifixion only for slaves and degraded persons. Augustus Caesar boasted that he had captured 30,000 fugitive slaves and had crucified all of them who had not been claimed. Large numbers of people were crucified in mass executions. Over 6,000 of the rebellious slaves who had followed Spartacus were caught by Crassus and crucified beside the Appian Way from Rome to Capua; and, as was customary, their bodies were left to rot as a warning against such insurrection. Julius Caesar caught the pirates who had formerly held him captive for ransom and crucified them all, having cut their throats first as an act of kindness. In Pal. the Romans crucified two thousand followers of the rebel Judas who had captured the city of Sepphoris and operated from it throughout Galilee until his forces were killed or captured by Varus and his Syrian legions. Martial described the spectacle of a robber’s being crucified in the arena for the amusement of the citizens of Rome. Nero crucified many Christians, blaming them for the burning of the imperial city. Origen reported that Peter was crucified head down. Emperor after emperor persecuted the Christians, crucifixion being the means of death for many of them. Finally under Constantine, because of his vision and the celestial sign of the cross, crucifixion was abolished throughout the empire as a means of punishment.

3. Of Christ.
The ministry of Jesus ended in crucifixion. The duration of His ministry has been supposed by some to have lasted three years (because of the Passovers mentioned in John 2:13 ; 5:1 ; 6:4 ; 13:1 ) The feast of the Jews in John 5:1 was prob. not, however, a Passover. The synoptic gospels mentioned only one Passover which would give a ministry of less than two years. The two Passover theory would add a year to the public ministry; and according to the Julian calendar, it placed the date of the crucifixion as April 7, a.d. 30.

The cross which Jesus bore ( John 19:17 ), and which was subsequently carried for him by Simon of Cyrene ( Matt 27:32 ), was prob. in actuality only the crossbeam ( patibulum ), which was customarily borne by the condemned man to the place of execution where the stake upon which it was to be fixed had already been set in the ground. Because the charge ( titulus ) was ordered to be placed over the cross, it has been deduced that the crossbeam did not rest on the top of the stake but intersected it a short distance below the top. The height of Jesus’ cross has been estimated from the length of the reed (hyssop, John 19:29 ). The reed was prob. about three ft. in length, and thus the height of the cross was probably seven to nine ft.

Jesus was offered a drink, a wine mixed with myrrh, which was intended as an anesthetic, but this He refused ( Mark 15:23 ). He was crucified at the third hour ( 15:25 ) which was prob. about 9:00 a.m., and He died at the ninth hour ( 15:34 , 37 ) which was prob. about 3:00 p.m. His legs were not broken as was customary, because He was found already to have died ( John 19:32 , 33 ). The Jews had requested the hastening of His death because it appeared He would linger until the next day which was a sabbath and also the preparation for the Passover ( Luke 23:54 ). John recorded the spear thrust into His side to guarantee death. Crucifixion was never practiced by the Jews; but because of their law ( Deut 21:23 ), the bodies of those crucified were not allowed to remain on the cross over night. The charge ( titulus ) specified Jesus’ crime, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” ( John 19:19 ).

Death on a cross was judged by the Jews as a curse ( Deut 21:23 ). It became to the Jews a most serious obstacle to the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah. The cross, however, became the universally recognized symbol of Christianity, being acknowledged from the beginning of Christianity as the heart of the Gospel ( Gal 6:14 ).
W. Durant, Caesar and Christ (1944), 138, 168, 281, 397, 543, 572f; J. Finegan, Light From the Ancient Past (1946), 252, 292, 431; W. Keller, The Bible as History (1956), 375-377; M. Gough, The Early Christians (1961), 83, 97, 180-182.         H. L. Drumwright, Jr.

Location of the Nails: Real. I used the third possibility mentioned.

The “nails” were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 in (13 to 18 cm) long with a square shaft 3/8 in (1 cm) across.
For the sake of expediency, the victim was probably affixed to the cross by ropes, nails, or some combination of the two. In popular depictions of crucifixion, possibly derived from a literal reading of the description in the Gospel of John, of Jesus’ wounds being “in the hands”, the victim is shown supported only by nails driven straight through the feet and the palms of the hands. However, the flesh of the hands cannot support a person’s body weight, so some other means must have been used to support most of the weight, such as tying the wrists to the cross beam.

Another possibility, that does not require tying, is that the nails were inserted just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm (the radius and the ulna). The nails could also be driven through the wrist, in a space between four carpal bones which is the location shown in the Shroud of Turin. As some historians have suggested, the Gospel words that are translated as “hands” may have in fact included everything below the mid-forearm.

Another possibility, suggested by Frederick Zugibe, is that the nails may have been driven in on an angle, entering in the palm in the crease that delineates the bulky region at the base of the thumb, and exiting in the wrist, passing through the carpal tunnel.

Eli Eli, lama sabachthani: Real. I referenced the article Did the Messiah Speak Aramaic or Hebrew? (part 2) by Author: E. A. Knapp

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? Real. I used information from these two websites: [pictures/information of the fig tree] and

Earthquakes and the quakes at the Cross and the Resurrection: Real. I used information taken from an interview with Rick Larson, producer of the upcoming documentary, The Christ Quake. [See Birth of Christ, Dating] Information about earthquakes in general, I referenced two websites: and

Greetings: Real. I used information from “Manners and Customs of the Bible” as well as and

Hosting Guests: Part Real/Part Hollywood. I got the information from “Manners and Customs of the Bible.”


Host, ‘Peace be on you.’
Guest, ‘And on you peace.’

In Palestine, they place their right hand on their friend’s left shoulder and kiss his right cheek, and then reversing the action, place their left hand on his right shoulder, and kiss his left cheek.

Removing The Shoes.
Upon entering a house to be entertained, a guest does as all Orientals would do, he takes off his boots, shoes, or slippers before entering a room. This becomes necessary since they sit on a mat, rug, or divan, with their feet beneath them, and shoes would soil the couch and the clothes, and would also make a very uncomfortable seat.

Washing The Feet.
After bowing, greeting, and kissing, the Eastern guest is offered water for washing his feet. Wearing of sandals would naturally necessitate foot washing, but it is often done when shoes have been worn. A servant will assist the guest by pouring the water upon his feet over a copper basin, rubbing the feet with his hands, and wiping them with a napkin.

Anointing The Head With Oil.
The custom of anointing guests with oil is an ancient one among nations of the East. Olive oil alone was often used, but sometimes it was mixed with spices. Simon the Pharisee was accused of lack of hospitality because he failed to anoint Jesus (Luke 7:46). This would indicate the custom was quite common in the days of the Gospel accounts. David immortalized the custom when he wrote his shepherd psalm and exclaimed: “Thou anointest my head with oil” (Psa. 23:5). Travelers in the Orient in recent times have discovered that this practice of anointing still exists in some quarters.

The Guest Given A Drink Of Water.
One of the first things done for a guest who has been received, is to offer him a drink of water. The doing of this is recognizing him as being worthy of peaceful reception. Thus to give a drink of water is the simplest way to pledge friendship with a person. When Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, sought a welcome, he did so by requesting of the maiden who came to the well to draw water (Gen. 24:17, 18), “Give me to drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher.” And when she made answer, “Drink, my lord,” it was an indication that he was welcome to be a guest at the nearby home. With this significance attached to a drink of water, the promise of Jesus takes on new meaning (Mark 9:41), “Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. ”

The Guest Served A Meal.
The sharing of food is in the East a very special act of hospitality. It means far more than it means in the West. It is a way of making a covenant of peace and fidelity. When Abimelech wanted a permanent covenant with Isaac, the confirmation of that covenant came when Isaac “made them a feast, and they did eat and drink” (Gen. 26:30).

An Oriental considers as sacred the expression, “bread and salt.” When it is said, “There is bread and salt between us” it is the same as saying, “We are bound together by a solemn covenant.” A foe will not “taste the salt” of his adversary unless he is ready to be reconciled to him. In some rural districts of Syria today there is a custom that a person on a mission of importance will not eat bread and salt of his host until first the purpose of his errand is made known. They think that the covenant of “bread and salt” must not be entered into until the attitude of the host is known regarding the mission of the guest.

The Guest Made Lord of the House.
An Eastern proverb runs thus: “The guest while in the house is its lord.” This is a true statement of the spirit of the hospitality of the East. One of the first greetings a Palestinian host will give his guest is to say, “Hadtha beitak,” i.e., “This is your house.” This saying is repeated many times. Thus actually the guest during his stay is master of the house. And whenever the guest asks a favor, in granting it the host will say, “You do me honor.” There must have been the same attitude between host and guest in the days of Lot. The host was considered to be a servant, and the guest was lord. Thus Lot spoke of himself and his guests: “Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house” (Gen. 19:2).

Privacy Not Expected By The Guest.
An Oriental guest would think he was ill-treated if he were left alone at any time. He does not need privacy at night, because he sleeps with his clothes on. He is happy to have others sleep with him. If a sleeping place is assigned to him in an upper room, then some of the family sons sleep alongside of him that he might have their companionship. He would feel he was being deserted if treated the way he would be if entertained in the West, just as a Westerner would feel oppressed by the constant attentions of an Oriental host.

Protecting A Guest.
In the lands of the East, when a host accepts a man to be his guest he thereby agrees at whatever the cost to defend his guest from all possible enemies during the time of his entertainment. Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, an American missionary in the East, was entertained by a governor. The host took a piece of roast mutton and handed it to the missionary, saying as he did so, “Now do you know what I have done?” In answering his own question he went on to say: “By that act I have pledged you every drop of my blood, that while you are in my territory no evil shall come to you. For that space of time we are brothers.” The Psalmist felt utterly secure, though he had enemies close by him, when he knew that God was his host. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Psa. 23:5).

Ineritance: Real. I found this information in the Glo Bible.

1. Old Testament.
In the patriarchal narratives, the principles of inheritance are tied to the “birthright.” The first-born son, the father’s “might, and the first-fruits of [his] strength,” as the aged Jacob described Reuben ( Gen 49:3 ), had special privileges, deference, and associated duties ( 44:33 ). It seems clear that he held by such right a double portion of his father’s goods ( Deut 21:17 ). It is also apparent that, at the dictate of the father, this special position could be forfeited ( Gen 49:3 , 4 ; 1 Chron 5:1 ). Esau traded his birthright for food in contempt ( Gen 25:29 – 34 ), and Isaac, in a moment of insight, realizing that action thrust upon him by forces beyond his control had caused him to transfer the first-born’s blessing to another, confirmed what he had unwittingly done ( 27:33 ; Heb 12:16 ); hence the effort in the passage already quoted ( Deut 21:15 – 17 ) to insure protection for the legal first-born in the case of parental caprice or inequity. It follows that, if the ancient principles were observed in conservative households of Pal. in NT times, the portion demanded by the Prodigal Son ( Luke 15:12 ) was one-third only of the estate, and given by some custom that allowed the younger son to anticipate division and seek his fortune abroad. Sarah’s anger over Hagar’s son Ishmael ( Gen 21:10 ) appears to show that the sons of other than wives in full status could claim a share in the inheritance ( Judg 11:2 ). It is a matter of conjecture how far this was carried out, and tension is evident over the rights of inheritance of sons of a secondary marriage.

Considerable illustration of the importance of ordered inheritance is to be found in the records of civilizations contemporary with patriarchal times. The suspicion lingers that the patriarchs, having emancipated themselves from urban society, had shed some of the legal obligations that went closely with membership of an ancient state. In the Nuzi tablets, for example, inheritance is revealed as a matter of supreme legal importance. Property was theoretically inalienable, and complicated laws of adoption were necessary to secure any freedom of transfer and conveyance at all. J. A. Thompson quotes details and also an interesting document ( The Bible and Archaeology , 27-31). It is evident that Heb. law, when Moses came to formulate its provisions, had much to order and to regularize.

It was done with brevity and clarity. If a man died without sons to follow him, the inheritance went to the daughters, if there were any; in default of daughters, to his brothers; in default of brothers, to his uncles on the father’s side, or to their next of kin ( Num 27:8 – 11 ). There was one important provision. If the inheritance fell to a daughter, it was obligatory upon her that she marry within the tribe, a provision designed to keep tribal property stable and uneroded ( 36:6 ). It has been plausibly suggested that in this social legislation lies the explanation for the variant genealogies in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels. Matthew and Luke, with access to the same information, and writing in the same generation would not knowingly contradict one another. Manifestly, the two genealogies must have been constructed on different lines. Matthew gives Joseph’s line, although making it clear that Jesus was not Joseph’s son, because Joseph was legally regarded as Jesus’ father, an important point in law. It was also necessary in view of the legislation on inheritance in the closing chapters of Numbers, to establish and record the fact that Mary had fulfilled her obligations by marrying within the tribe. A reasonable hypothesis, therefore, suggests that Luke gives the genealogy of Mary. Joseph, not Mary, is set down as the immediate descendant of Eli, because Joseph authenticated Mary’s inheritance by the legal provisions recorded in Numbers 27:1 – 11 and 36:1 – 13 . It is probable that fuller and more exact information would establish some procedure of adoption in such cases.

One notable aspect of the Heb. law of inheritance was that the widow was not provided for; she was almost considered a part of the inheritance. In the case of a man dying childless his brother could marry the widow and possibly provide the deceased with heirs ( Gen 38:8 , 9 ; Deut 25:5 – 10 ; Matt 22:23 – 25 ). It was possible for this right or obligation to be transferred to the nearest kinsman. The story of Ruth is built round this theme. Naomi was past the age of childbearing. Ruth took her place, and Boaz went through the complicated process of acquiring the right to marry her ( Ruth 2:20 ; 3:9 – 13 ; 4:1 – 12 ).

The inheritance of landed property was very carefully guarded. Land could not, for example, by Levitical law ( Lev 25:23 , 24 ) be alienated forever. If it was sold it could be redeemed by the next of kin ( 25:25 ). Ahab’s offer to buy Naboth’s vineyard was therefore a flagrant violation of the law ( 1 Kings 21:3 ). The land of Canaan itself was regarded as the inheritance of the whole nation ( Exod 15:17 ; Josh 21:19 ). The Abrahamic covenant ( Gen 12:7 ; 15:18 – 21 ) made mention of a land to possess, as well as offspring to possess it. Israel never wavered in this conviction that the land was theirs, that their title was a rightful one, and although they never possessed it to the full limits of its prescribed boundaries, they firmly held the thought that the intruder had no right to be there and could not be permanent. The prophets who had caught the wider vision of Israel’s mission to the world at large looked upon the land as a base from which all Israel’s contribution could be made. The firm possession of the land was the essential condition, its loss in exile or invasion was considered a loss of God’s favor and the deprivation of a rightful inheritance. From this privilege the Levites alone were excluded. God was their inheritance ( Deut 18:1 , 2 ). They were supported by dues and tribute levied on the remaining tribes ( Deut 18:3 – 5 ). This idea, like most ideas in the experience of the Heb. people, acquired spiritual extension, and God was similarly regarded in the language of prayer and devotion as the inheritance of the whole nation ( Ps 16:5 , 6 ). There are other figurative elaborations, as for example, the use of the term for God’s own “inheritance,” His faithful people ( Ps 2:8 ).

Two verbs are used in Heb., yāras , and nāhal, the second being employed rather less frequently than the former, though both are common. In all contexts it is evident that the basic significance is possession, rightful possession rather than succession. Both, significantly, may be found in the LXX tr. by one Gr. word (e.g. Cremer, Lexicon , 361).

Such is the information that may be gleaned from the provisions of the law, and incidents relevant to the theme in the historical books, together with the extension semantically into figure and symbol. Wills were not made in Jewish society until Hel. times, when the custom was adopted from the Greeks. The rabbis studied the process with their usual meticulous care, and carefully regulated all details. The NT reflects current testamentary practice in two contexts ( Gal 3:15 and Heb 9:16 , 17 ).

2. New Testament.
The fig. meaning of inheritance is universal in the NT, e.g. the story of the wicked husbandmen, in which the concept of inheritance, though literal in the context of events, is symbolic in its significance. The simplest method of dealing with the theme will be to list all occurrences of the subject under the heading of the words commonly employed.

a. Inherit.
The Gr. word is klēronomeo , which basically means to obtain by means of a klēros, or “lot,” and then to receive in whole or in part, an estate, property or possession ( Matt 5:5 ; 19:29 ; 25:34 ; Mark 10:17 ; Luke 10:25 ; 18:18 ; 1 Cor 6:9 , 10 ; 15:50 [twice]; Gal 5:21 ; Heb 6:12 ; 12:17 ; 1 Pet 3:9 KJV; Rev 21:7 KJV).

b. Inheritance.
The noun klēronomia is that which constitutes a person, a klēronomos. From its use in a literal sense of an estate to be passed on, it becomes a divine possession bestowed in virtue of sonship or adoption. This meaning stems largely from the fig. use of the word in the OT for Israel’s “inheritance.” It reflects the development of the idea of a national Israel into a spiritual body, which is a major development of thought between the Testaments. The word klēros —originally the lot that was cast and then, that which was assigned by such a lot—is also rendered inheritance ( Matt 21:38 ; Mark 12:7 ; Luke 12:13 ; 20:14 ; Acts 7:5 ; 20:32 ; 26:18 KJV; Gal 3:18 ; Eph 1:11 KJV, 14 RSV, 18 ; 5:5 ; Col 1:12 ; 3:24 ; Heb 1:4 ; 9:15 ; 11:8 ; 1 Pet 1:4 ).

c. Heir.
The word is used fig. of Christ, who, as the son of Adam, is the heir of universal dominion ( Gen 1:26 , 27 ; Ps 8:4 – 8 ; Heb 2:6 – 8 ); as son of Abraham, heir to the land of the promise ( Gen 22:16 – 18 ; Heb 2:16 ; Rom 4:13 ); as son of David, the heir to the royal throne ( Matt 1:1 , 6 ; Luke 1:30 – 33 ); as son of God, the heir of all things ( Heb 1:1 , 2 ; Acts 10:36 ). ( See also Matt 21:38 ; Mark 12:7 ; Luke 20:14 ; Rom 4:13 , 14 ; Gal 3:29 ; 4:1 , 7 , 30 ; Eph 3:6 ; Titus 3:7 ; Heb 1:2 , 14 KJV, 6:17 ; James 2:5 .) All of these contexts show facets of the extension of the idea of the heirship of Christ to all those accepted in Him.

3. Greece.
The law of inheritance in Gr. and Rom. society has no necessary place in this survey, but it is well to remember that the NT was written and read in a Gr. and Rom. world. Inheritance in the Gr. world was automatic and formal, on the same model as the Heb. with a scale of priorities, and rather less subject to modification by the will of the father than appears to have been the case in Heb. society. A will need not be written. It was valid if made by declaration before appropriate witnesses.

4. Rome.
In Rome, on the other hand, the will or testamentary deposition was paramount, a legal order of succession coming into operation only in cases of intestacy. The will was a public document, guarded by law, and formalized in law with set forms of language. Details are succinctly set out in the Oxford Classical Dictionary (454, 445). The following is a will from Rom. Egypt (Pap. Tebt. 381) dating a.d. 123:

The 8th year of the Emperor Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus, Choiak 22, at Tebtunis in the division of Polemon of the Arsinoite name. Thaesis daughter of Orsenouphis son of Onnophris, her mother being Thenobastis, of the aforesaid village of Tebtunis, aged about seventy-eight years, having a scar on the right forearm, acting with her guardian, her kinsman Cronion son of Ameis, aged about twenty-seven, having a scar between his eyebrows, acknowledges that she, the acknowledging party, Thaesis, has consented that after her death there shall belong to Thenpetesuchus, her daughter by her late departed husband Pansais, and also to Sansenus son of Tephersos, the son of her other daughter Taorseus, now dead, to the two of them, property as follows: to Thenpetesuchus alone, the house, yard and all effect belonging to Thaesis in the said village of Tebtunis by right of purchase from Thenpetesuchus daughter of Petesuchus, and the furniture, utensils, household stock and apparel left by Thaesis, and the sums due to her and other property of any kind whatsoever, while to Sansenus she has bequeathed eight drachmae of silver, which Sansenus shall receive from Thenpetesuchus after the death of Thaesis; on condition that the daughter Thenpetesuchus shall properly perform the obsequies and laying out of her mother, and shall discharge such private debts as Thaesis shall prove to owe, but as long as her mother Thaesis lives she shall have power to…

E. M. Blaiklock         E. M. Blaiklock

In some of the modern Eng. VSS there is a tendency to use “heritage” to emphasize spiritual matters ( Deut. 9:26 ; Josh 18:7 ) and to use “inheritance” in contexts dealing with material affairs ( Num 36:9 ; Deut 10:9 ). However, a clear distinction is not always possible.

The marriage relation imposed upon the husband certain obligations and conferred upon him certain rights more generally described in the Scripture but rather minutely regulated in the rabbinical law. The modern Jews, in all the civilized countries of the world, are more mindful of and govern themselves much more, if not entirely, by the laws of the countries whose citizens they are.

1. The husband’s duties.
The OT and the Mosaic law in particular, do not contain express provisions concerning marital rights and responsibilities, except the injunction made in definitely clear terms: “Her food, her raiment and her conjugal right shall he not diminish” ( Exod 21:10 KJV). It is upon this casual intimation that the elaborate regulations of the rabbinical code are based. The responsibilities of the husband can be included largely under the following headings:

a). The responsibility of the husband is to provide his wife with the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and dwelling. The extent of this responsibility depended upon his fortune and situation in life, and also upon the local customs.

b) The responsibility of the husband is to have conjugal cohabitation with his wife. A continued refusal, on either side, regarding this duty was not excused by sickness and circumstances and offered sufficient grounds for divorce.

c) The responsibility of the husband is to provide proper medical care and nursing when the wife is sick.

d) The responsibility of the husband is to protect his wife and to ransom her in the eventuality of her falling into captivity. The frequent invasion of Bedouins in the Near Eastern countries and the continued wars in Europe during the Middle Ages made the provision for such an eventuality quite necessary.

e) The responsibility of the husband is to provide for her burial in case of her death. The duty of providing for the wife’s burial included also that of providing for her a tombstone and the covering of expenses for funeral solemnities according to his and her station in society.

2. The husband’s rights.
The husband’s rights according to the Jewish law were as follows:

a) He was entitled to whatever the wife earned by her labor and industry. His right to her earnings was based on the consideration of his obligation to support her.

b) He was entitled to whatever she gained by chance, inheritance, donation, legacy, or in any other way.

c) He was entitled to the usufruct of all the property she brought into marriage at the time of their marriage.

d) He was entitled to become her sole heir on her death.
L. A. Lambert, Thesaurus Biblicus (1880), 386-389; M. Mielzinger, The Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce (1901) 100-102.         P. Trutza

Wells Within the Walls of Jerusalem: Real. I used information found on this website

Jesus Before the Sanhedrin: Real. I used information found in the article “Jesus Before the Sanhedrin – The Legality of Jesus’ Trial Under Jewish Law”

Locust Bean Tree: Real. I grew up thinking that John the Baptist had eaten the insect locust. There are other biblical scholars, however, who believe that the honey locust was actually the pod of a tree.  I found reference to this tree on three different websites:

Mary’s Alabastron: Real. While researching for “SISTERS OF LAZARUS: Beauty Unveiled,” I came across a website that explained that the alabastron was part of a young woman’s dowry. I included this information in both BEAUTY UNVEILED and GLORY REVEALED. However, the website containing this information is now gone. I have included the information from the first website below. I found another site, however, that supports this information.

Mary’s Alabaster Box “Mary’s fragrant offering” was and is the perfume of her worship and adoration poured out in a type of priestly ministry upon the Son of God. This costly offering historically was also given to a daughter by her Jewish parents for her dowry. On her wedding night the perfume was to be poured out upon her husband’s feet at the time of the marriage consummation. It was similar to the act of submission performed by Ruth at the instruction of Naomi to Boaz at the threshing floor. Mary’s giving her very own dowry was a statement of complete love and devotion submission and obedience.

Mary obeyed the Holy Spirit when directed to anoint Jesus by giving her best. She also was criticized by the church then as you may be now when giving Jesus your all. Do not stop obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit even when others speak evil against you. Just remain humble and meek before them. Offer forgiveness, love them and minister to God with your whole heart. That’s the “Mary” anointing boldly loving Jesus in abandon worship adoration and intercession.

There is an anointing from the Lord being released into the body of Christ for this priestly ministry. Spikenard is sometimes referred to as “Nard” in the botanical reference books. Also improperly known as spikenard (from Latin spica, head of grain, and nardi), this hardy herb, a member of the Valerian family, grows in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. The part of the plant growing underground has the appearance of a hairy fibrous spindle, and is rich in oil. Nard was found in the Himalayas which is now called India, nard traveled great distances in the ancient world. The form it was exported was of a dry rhizome or macerated oil extract, via India which was under Persian domain, under the name nardin.

However, in 1975 a perfectly preserved terra-cotta distillation apparatus from about 3000 BC was found in Pakistan. India has a long time honored tradition of perfumes and recipes handed down from generation to generation. It is our belief that the spikenard of Jesus day was in fact an Indian attar like perfume oil which was created and imported from what we know as present day India.  Price lists dating from this period suggest that this pure nard, with which Christ was anointed at Bethany, might already have been produced by a form of distillation.

The hebrew the root word of Nard means light or Nerd, Nayrd an aromatic scent.  Pliny, in his writings on Natural History, lists twelve species of nard, ranging from lavender stoechas and tuberous valerian root to what we know as nard – Nardostachys Jatamansi is the true spikenard of today. Nard has intense, warm, fragrant, musky notes, earthy, root like similar to the aromas of humus and is an excellent fixative when used in very small portions. It will enhance as a base other fragrances giving them strength and enduring power. Use too much and all you can smell is the spikenard. The perfume “Nard” came from India as the root it’s self grows in the high altitudes of the Himalayan mountains. The Root is now on the endangered species list, because of the over harvesting and disappearing Himalayan mountains snow due to global warming.

Though spikenard is now seldom seen on the shelves of the modern American perfumer, because it’s scent does not appeal our American sweet taste. The Name spikenard stood for centuries as a symbol of the perfume of the lost Garden of Eden, and in literature, nard came to refer to any perfume, as long as it was costly and exquisite. We have conducted studies on spikenard with studies of the types of containers with which oil was carried during ancient times. Fragrant oil in ancient times was carried in what was called an “alabastron” a narrow flask shaped container. Alabastron from antiquity were originally carved of alabaster from Egypt.

By relating that it was contained in an alabaster flask (alabastron), Mark 14:3 and Matthew 26:7 further underline the precious nature of the spikenard poured upon Christ. It is also important to note that the only other place spikenard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon 1:2; 4:13-14. Which nard is referred to in the Song of Songs, as a symbol of the intimate nature of the Bridal love. This is the point at which relations with her beloved are initiated. When the perfume of nard is named, the bride recognizes her beloved as such. Thus a symbol of washing feet or in the case of Matthew’s account, anointing the feet was a very humbling experience.

When the newly wed wife would anoint her husband in the marriage bed she was making a statement of devotion and submission to him. It was an extremely costly gesture to anoint with the spikenard someone’s feet as opposed to use this as a perfume. Which places great significance as to the relevance and meaning of Mary’s offering.  The Gospels account of spikenard becomes a symbol of our Bridegroom receiving his bride’s adoration and worship. This revelation becomes clear during the anointing of Jesus Christ at Bethany as well as His willingness to do whatever it takes to obtain His bride.

He is therefore not just smitten but declares, at the sound her willingness to submit to Him, that He is ravished at the sight of her. None could overwhelm Him. He is the Lord of Hosts, the Captain of the armies of heaven, fierce and resolute in His restoring all things to the Father. No one can with stand Him as He roars like a lion at injustice. Blazing white glorious light blasts through the darkness and the hordes of hell cower at the sight of Him. Yet He is intoxicated by the love and devotion of His bride, it is she who loves Him with the whole heart who can turn his head, make Him weak with those dove’s eyes.

Another tradition in ancient times was to anoint the forehead of a guest that has come to a person’s home. This was done as a general custom of welcome as well as to give the person who might have traveled some distance a nice smell. The fragrant smell would cover the not so fragrant smell of the person from their journey. It was also the custom to wash the feet a guest. Remember that back then most of the roads and paths were dirt and would have been very dusty even dung from animals remained on roadways.

In the case of Matthew’s account this “alabastron” or alabaster container had a seal at the top as would any other expensive material of the day. The “jar” or container had a lid which was closed by a seal. Sometimes the seal had a small piece of cloth (such as linen or cotton) over the opening of the jar, then the lid was placed on and next came the seal. Sometimes the seal was covered with waxy substance such as melted bees wax or pitch and twine or leather strapping so that the lid would stay on firm, thus allowing the integrity of its contents to remain intact.

Alabaster then, as well as now was only produced in a few countries in the world, Italy, Greece, India and China, with what was considered an inferior quality coming from Israel. Since the Spikenard perfumed oil was produced in ancient India it is reasonable to assume that the oil was imported in an alabaster container which possibly came from the same country. There is no historical data relating to oils ever being contained in a “box”. All of the scholars that we have consulted agree that the term “box” should have been “jar” or something similar.

We believe it was the seal which was broken, so that the precious perfume could be poured out. The breaking of the seal was a traditional method of opening a vessel during ancient times. Think about this, if you broke a box and attempted to anoint someone, it stands to reason that you would have fragments of the broken box in the oil and would most likely cut or scratched the person with the sharp edges of the broken pieces. Again, there is no historical evidence of any “box breaking”. However, we have scriptural references of pouring out of oil such as on Aaron’s’ beard.

Netzer: Real. The original website that contained the information is gone, but I found another that supported the information. I have included the link to the present website, plus the information I copied/pasted for my reference.
“Archaeological investigation of Nazareth suggests that it was uninhabited from the eighth to the second centuries B.C. since no ceramic remains have been found from the Assyrian, Persian and early Hellenistic periods. This is consistent with two known events. One is the invasion by the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 B.C., when the people of Galilee were taken in captivity to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). Galilee became a Gentile region. Isaiah the prophet refers to this crisis: `In the past [God] humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.’ Yet, Isaiah promises, `[God] will honor Galilee of the Gentiles…. The people walking in darkness / have seen a great light’ (Is 9:1-2 NIV). Nazareth was resettled at the time of a second known event. During the rule of the Hasmonaean John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.), Galilee was reconquered by the Jews. In the years following, many Jews settled in Galilee, including, I suggest, the Davidic forebears of Joseph. We do not know where they lived before migrating to Nazareth. Perhaps they came from the Jewish dispersion in Mesopotamia, descendants of exiles from earlier deportations. Whatever the case, by Jesus’ time the small village of Nazareth was to a significant degree composed of a Davidic clan. Jesus, along with most of the inhabitants of Nazareth, belonged to the same extended family, descended from David the king of Israel.” (Barnett, P.W., “”Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity,” InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, p.93)

Information from old website:

Throughout the Christmas season, we celebrate the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.
It’s an event that Old Testament prophets wrote about hundreds of years before Jesus was born. A special look into these prophesies shows just how they were revealed.
Every day, three times a day, religious Jews pray for the coming of the Messiah.
“Traditional Jews believe that in every generation, there is a potential Messiah and that if the generation is worthy, the Messianic figure will be revealed,” explained Old Testament and Semitic scholar Michael Brown.
In Jewish thought, a man would be the Messiah if he could prove himself to be the Messiah. So what kind of proof are they looking for?
The Hebrew Bible says the Messiah would be a son of David, born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt and raised in Nazareth.
He would be a teacher and a healer. He would calm the seas and cleanse the temple. He would be welcomed as a king and yet killed as a criminal. Then three days after His death, He would rise from the dead.
These are just a few of the prophecies written about the Messiah. Only one man in history fulfilled them all.
“If we rightly understand the Hebrew Bible, either Jesus is our Messiah, or there can never be a Messiah,” Brown said.
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.
“There’s no question that in the mind of God, He was going to send a redeemer,” he added. “His intent for Israel was to be a priestly nation through whom the whole world could be blessed.”
“And it took 2000 years from Abraham to the coming of the Messiah to prepare a people who could welcome the Messiah,” Brown said.
Two-thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth was born into a world of political upheaval. The Jews had returned from exile in Babylon to a nation they no longer ruled.
“During these centuries, the Jewish people began to hear the promises of a son of David and realize, it’s someone greater. It’s not just a regular king. The regular kings have fallen short,” Brown said. “They were speaking of this anointed one that would be known as the Messiah.”
“Every prophecy that was spoken about someone from the line of David that was not fulfilled in their lifetime became a potential Messianic prophecy,” he continued.
The line of David was no longer in power. Herod the Great was on the throne and for the first time in history the Jews had a gentile king.
Because of his own lowly birth, Herod was threatened by the descendants of David. So he raided the public archives and burned the genealogies of the Jews.
Many of David’s descendants fled Jerusalem and settled in a village that soon became known as “the town of the Branch”– referring to the “branch of David.” Today, the village is better known by its Hebrew name: Nazareth.
It was the boyhood home of Jesus and according to Matthew’s gospel, the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy of Isaiah.
(It) was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:23)
But the town of Nazareth didn’t even exist until about 600 years after Isaiah’s time. And at first glance, you won’t find the word “Nazarene” anywhere in Isaiah, unless you read it in Hebrew.
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch (netzer) shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1)
“Matthew brilliantly puts together the voices of several prophets, that he’ll be the branch, literally the netzer, hence coming from this place Netzeret–Nazareth–it’s a perfect fit,” Brown explained. “But it’s one of these little jewels that Matthew puts there that you have to dig to discover and understand.”
In Jesus’ day, only about 150 people lived in Nazareth.
Pnce a family of kings, they now worked as farmers and shepherds. They recorded their genealogies and kept them hidden. By protecting their family history, they were also tracing the bloodline of the Messiah.
“Genealogies are important through the whole Bible,” Brown said. “It was really important that it was established that the Messiah was from the line of David.”
The gospels of Matthew and Luke record the bloodlines of Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary. Both were descendants of David– Joseph through King Solomon and Mary through David’s other son, Nathan.
“Matthew wants to show the royal descent. He is a direct descendant of King David through his earthly father, his foster father, Joseph,” Brown said. “But through his mother Miryam, better known to Christians as Mary… he is a blood descendant of David.”
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
It was in Nazareth that the angel Gabriel visited Mary. He told her she would give birth to the son of God. It was the fulfillment of a birth announcement recorded 700 years earlier in the book of Isaiah.
“Here’s a Jewish maiden, actually a virgin, which is the way the Greek translators of the Hebrew scriptures had put it 200 years before Jesus was born. They said it would be a virgin,” Brown said. “Here’s a virgin giving birth to someone named Emanuel, what does that mean?”
“This is the same child in Isaiah 7, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 11. This is the same child who has been born supernaturally,” he added. “It’s quite striking. You have to dig to find it, but when you dig, it’s one of those hidden treasures.”
A royal famly in hiding, a virgin with child and a nation waiting for a redeemer– the stage was set for the most significant birth in the history of the world.

Passover: Real. I used information from several websites, as well as from the Glo Bible and WordSearch 10.

Passover and White-washed Tombs: Real. I used information from this website

Passover and the Sacrificial LambI: Real. I used information from several websites as well as from the Glo Bible and WordSearch 10.

Paschal Lamb.
The Passover lamb was killed, in the time of the Second Temple, in the court where all other “ḳodashim” were slaughtered, in keeping with the Deuteronomic prescription, and it was incumbent upon every man and woman to fulfil this obligation. The time “between the two evenings” (“ben ha-‘arbayim”) was construed to mean “after noon and until nightfall,” the killing of the lamb following immediately upon that of the “tamid,” the burning of the incense, and the setting in order of the lamps, according to daily routine. The killing was done with great caution, to avoid contact with ḥameẓ. After the carcass had been properly prepared, and the blood properly disposed of, it was taken home by its owner and roasted and eaten at eventide. The owners of the lambs were divided into three sets (“kittot”) of at least thirty each, and during the slaughtering never less than thirty could be present in the courtyard. When the first group had entered the courtyard the doors were closed, and while the Levites sang the “Hallel” the lambs were killed, the psalms being sung, if necessary, three times.

Kodashim or Kod’shim or Qodhashim (Hebrew קדשים, “Holy Things”) is the fifth Order in the Mishna[1] (also the Tosefta and Talmud). Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest. Kodoshim deals largely with the religious service within the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korbanot (“sacrificial offerings”), and other subjects considered or related to these “Holy Things”

Jewish historians record that the lambs were brought from the fields of Bethlehem to the south up to Jerusalem and through the Northeast gate of the city by the pool of Bethesda, called the “Sheep’s Gate” (see above). (Because the sheep of Bethlehem were owned by the Sadducees, only these sheep were allowed to be sacrificed on Passover – for the purpose of filling their coffers.) So that the families could comply with the instructions from Exodus 12, the lambs were chosen the afternoon of the 9th so that they would be with the family from the 10th (which began at sundown) through the 14th.

Passover and Jesus’ Sacrifice: Real. While researching the different sacrifices performed in the Temple required in the Law, I came across this article, “Was Jesus Really Crucified with the Passover Lambs?” While I agree with much that the author said, and used it in GLORY REVEALED, I disagree in one aspect. The author contends that Jesus became our “Perpetual Sacrifice.” I believe that Jesus became all of the sacrifices required in the Law.

Pharisee. I used information found in the Glo Bible.

The most widely accepted etymology is that which traces the name back to the Heb. word , , which means “to separate.” A Pharisee, according to this explanation, is a “separatist” or a separated person. Despite the obvious appropriateness of the designation “separated,” it is not entirely clear in what sense it is to be understood. Had the Pharisee separated himself from the house of the Hasmoneans, from the Gentiles and their abominations, from cultural assimilation to the Hel. way of life, or primarily from “the people of the land”—the large mass of Jewry who lived with little concern for the things of the law? Actually the Pharisee lived in separation from all of these, but it is not known which particular aspect historically, if any, was responsible for the designation .

Some have disputed that the initial use of referred to the separation from groups of people or things, contending instead that the “separation” referred to was in the interpretation of Scripture, for one of the meanings of , , is “to divide” or “interpret.” Accordingly, the suggestion is that whatever “Pharisee” came to mean later, initially it meant “interpreter” and referred to the exceptional exegetical abilities of these men. This, however, seems much less likely than the former explanation.

An interesting and quite plausible alternative denies that the name derives from the verb , , and finds its origin instead in the Aram. word for “Persian” (root, ). This explanation, argued forcefully by T. W. Manson, is based on the strong resemblance between various doctrines of the Pharisees and doctrines of Zoroastrianism, the religion of Persia ( see below ). The Pharisees by their somewhat innovative teachings might well have been regarded as “Persianizers.” Whether or not this is the true etymology of “Pharisee,” the word play and its suitability can hardly have been missed, for example, by the Sadducees who regarded themselves as purists in doctrine. It may be that both etymologies were currently popular in NT times; it seems probable, however, that “Pharisee” was originally coined to reflect the separatist tendencies of these people.

2. Origin and history.
The roots of the Pharisees can be traced to the “Hasidim” of the 2nd cent.—those “pious men” of Israel whose loyalty to their covenant relationship with Yahweh impelled them to resist the increasing pressure toward Hellenization. The Maccabean uprising (167 b.c. and succeeding years) against the mad policies of Antiochus Epiphanes found the Hasidim in full support of the resistance. But with the rededication of the Temple in 164 b.c. and the achievement of religious freedom in 162 b.c. , the Hasidim, who were concerned primarily with the religious and not the political life of the country, became increasingly separate from the political intrigues of the Hasmoneans. Among the many sects spawned by the Hasidim was that of the Pharisees, and indeed they, perhaps more than any of the other sects, may be regarded as the direct continuation of Hasidism into the NT period. The earliest historical reference to the Pharisees is found in Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XIII. v. 9), who introduces them along with the Sadducees and Essenes as representatives of differing doctrinal viewpoints held at the time his narrative describes (about 145 b.c. ).

The next piece of information concerning the history of the Pharisees is also from Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XIII. x. 5; cf. BT, Kidd. , 66a for a similar account). He tells of John Hyrcanus (son of Simon Maccabeus) who was the high priest under whom political independence was finally achieved (128 b.c. ), and who was also a disciple of the Pharisees. Hyrcanus had invited Pharisees to a great dinner, and during the course of the festivities had shared with them his desire to attain righteousness and to please God, indicating that he would be glad to hear from them anything that would aid him in self-improvement. All concurred that he was already a righteous man. A certain Eleazar, however, a perverse individual according to Josephus, suggested that Hyrcanus really ought to give up the high priesthood and content himself with the civil government alone, since rumor had it that Hyrcanus’ mother had prior to his birth been a captive of the Seleucids. The implication was that the real father, and thus the priestly lineage, of Hyrcanus was questionable. The understandable offense taken by Hyrcanus was aggravated by a Sadducee named Jonathan, who insisted that such was the view of the Pharisees generally despite their loud disclaimers. When the Pharisees denied that Eleazar’s insult should require the death penalty, Hyrcanus allowed himself, by Jonathan’s urging, to be drawn away from the Pharisees, and to oppose their activities with much hostility. Thus in the earliest strand of historical information the beginnings of the breach between the Pharisees and the rulers are evident, and the rulers henceforth tended to espouse the Sadducean viewpoint. The rift that began here and continued to grow proved to be of great importance, since the Pharisees, according to Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XIII. x. 5), held very great influence with the masses. This fact itself is seen by many to lie at the root of the quarrel between Hyrcanus and the Pharisees.

Historically, it is clear that more fundamental differences were responsible for this major division within Judaism. The increasing political orientation of the Hasmonean house, embodied, for example, in the adoption of the royal diadem by Aristobulus I (Jos Antiq. XIII. xi. 1; War I. iii. 1), was at variance with the exclusively religious orientation of the Pharisees. During the reigns of Aristobulus I and Alexander Jannaeus, the breach between the two factions continued—with the Pharisees enjoying increasing popularity among the people. When Jannaeus was defeated by the Nabataean Arabs, the malcontented population took advantage of the situation and instigated a rebellion against Jannaeus that was to last nearly six years (94-88 b.c. ). Although the Pharisees are not specifically mentioned in Josephus’ account (Jos. Antiq. XIII. xiii. 5; XIV. 2; War I. iv. 6), they must have played an important part in this rebellion, and would have been well represented among the eight hundred Jews crucified as victims of Jannaeus’ vengeance. Josephus does have Jannaeus refer to the Pharisees on his deathbed (76 b.c. ) and attributes his conflict with the nation to his harsh treatment of them (Jos. Antiq. XIII. xv. 5). Jannaeus is said by Josephus also to have counseled his wife Alexandra concerning the power of the Pharisees among the people and thus to have encouraged her, for very practical reasons, “to yield a certain amount of power” to them (Jos. Antiq. XIII. xv. 5). Queen Alexandra, whose brother Simon ben Shetach was leader of the Pharisees, found this advice agreeable, and during her reign the power of the Pharisees grew considerably, indeed to such extent that Josephus says they possessed the royal authority whereas Alexandra had only its burdens (War I. v. 2).

The Pharisees flourished under Simon as long as Alexandra lived. At her death (67 b.c. ) a struggle for the throne took place between her two sons, Hyrcanus II, the rightful heir who also possessed the support of the Pharisees, and his younger brother Aristobulus II who was backed by the Sadducees. Aristobulus proved the stronger of the brothers. Hyrcanus soon yielded to him and the political fortunes of the Pharisees declined. For the Pharisees, however, political matters were secondary, and adversity seems only to have had the effect of deepening and strengthening their religious commitment and effectiveness. Although Hyrcanus regained the high priesthood, thanks to the efforts of the opportunist Antipater, it was only at the cost of political sovereignty. This division within Judaism thus proved itself to be a major factor in the collapse of the Hasmoneans and the concomitant subservience to Rome.

The Pharisees retained their influence with the masses through all these vicissitudes, so that even Herod, a puppet of Rome, was careful not to offend them unduly. He had no regard for their religious teachings but was well aware of the threat they posed to the stability of his kingdom. At this time, according to Josephus, the Pharisees numbered “above six thousand” (Jos. Antiq. XVII. ii. 4). This, however, quite prob. refers only to members in the fullest sense and does not include many who should also be counted among the Pharisees. (T. W. Manson estimates that as much as five percent of the total population could be counted among the Pharisees.) They also held an important, though prob. not controlling (despite Talmudic claims), representation in the Sanhedrin through this period on into NT times.

In the gospels the Pharisees appear often as the chief antagonists of Jesus. They are portrayed as the religious “experts” of the day who took it upon themselves to scrutinize and ultimately to condemn the words and works of Jesus. A number of times they are linked with the Sadducees (e.g., Matt 16:1 ) and even with the Herodians (e.g., Matt 22:15 f.; Mark 3:6 ; 12:13 ) with whom they were by no means in agreement, but with whom they were able to unite against Jesus ( Matt 22:34 ). These passages doubtless reflect the place that the Pharisees held in the governing body of the Sanhedrin. Indeed, the considerable influence of the Pharisees apparently made it expedient for the politically more powerful Sadducees to respect and on occasion to yield to the opinion of the Pharisees. According to Josephus, the Sadducees repeatedly had to submit, albeit unwillingly, to the dictates of the Pharisees “since otherwise the masses would not tolerate them” (Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 4; cf. the Sanhedrin’s acceptance of Gamaliel’s recommendation in Acts 5:34 ff.).

The great Jewish revolt leading to the collapse of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 owed its vitality to the Zealots rather than to the Pharisees. In fact, the Pharisees appear to have been in principle opposed to the revolt and were among the first to make peace with the Romans. According to the Talmud, even before the hostilities were concluded, Johanan ben Zakkai asked for and received permission from the Rom. authorities to establish a school at Jamnia (Jabneh). Here and later, at Tiberias, a succession of famous rabbis, such as Gamaliel II, Akiba, Ishmael, and Meir, carried on the process of establishing and perpetuating the essence of Judaism. Without its Temple, the Jewish religion was forced to take on a new character, and when after the last Jewish rebellion ( a.d. 132) all hope of rebuilding the Temple was lost, the work of these men assumed a new importance. The Mishnah, compiled by the Patriarch Judah (c. a.d. 200), which is the culminating work of these scholars—and, in turn, a new beginning in the history of Jewish scholarship—is a monument of Pharisaic scholarship and a testimony to the final triumph of Pharisaism, which henceforth became synonymous with Judaism.

3. Composition and organization.
By way of contrast with the Sadducees, who were drawn almost exclusively from the aristocracy, the Pharisees largely were members of the middle class. They tended to be the businessmen—the merchants and the tradesmen of their day—and this apparently accounts for the large amount of Talmudic material given over to the intricacies of commercialism. These were men earnestly concerned with following after the law and who had thus separated themselves from the great mass of the populace—the so-called “people of the land” ( am ha-aretz )—by their strict adherence to the minutia of their legal tradition. The average Pharisee had no formal education in the interpretation of the law and accordingly had recourse to the professional scholar, the scribe (of which class the majority were Pharisees), in legal matters. Although the vast majority of the Pharisees were thus bourgeois laymen there appear to have been a number of Priests and Levites who were also Pharisees. They were a relatively small number within their own ranks, but they were nonetheless committed to Pharisaic ideals, seeing in them a means to raise the purity of the laity to a level approximating that of the priesthood (idealistically conceived).

The Pharisees, like other separatist groups (e.g. the Essenes), were organized into distinct and closed communities. The haburah , “community,” referred to in the Talmudic materials is prob. a Pharisaic community, and the haber , “companion” or member of the community, a Pharisee. Apparently several of these holy communities existed in the environs of Jerusalem, where their concentration heightened their effectiveness. Admission into these communities was strictly regulated. A candidate must first agree to take upon himself obedience to all the detailed legislation of the Pharisaic tradition, involving tithing and esp. ceremonial and dietary purity. He then entered a period of probation (the length of which was, according to differing viewpoints, either one month or one year) during which he was carefully observed with respect to his vow of obedience. Successful completion of this probation entitled the candidate to full membership in the community.

Each community was organized under the leadership of a scribe, who served as a professional authority in the interpretation of the law, and prob. had other officers as well. The communities not only provided opportunity for mutual scrutiny and mutual encouragement, but also had regularly scheduled meetings for worship (usually on the eve of the Sabbath). Study of the Torah and a communal meal were also a part of these gatherings. The pseudepigraphon known as the Psalms of Solomon is a document that was used in Pharisaic communities and quite possibly used liturgically in their worship services. It would have provided not only a strong anti-Sadducean polemic, and thus a reminder of the reason for the existence of the community, but also would have voiced the hopes of the Pharisaic community. The outreach and impact of the Pharisees was, of course, not limited to these closed communities. Through the activities of the synagogue, which served as the arm of the Pharisees, esp. in the teaching of Torah and in the administration of public charity, Pharisaism influenced a large segment of the populace, many of whom inclined toward the views of the Pharisees without taking upon themselves full membership in the community.

The closed communities of the Pharisees are thus parallel and closely related to the Essene separatist groups, known today particularly from the Damascus Document, and also, to a lesser extent, known through the Qumran Manual of Discipline. Without identifying the Pharisees and the Essenes, it may be readily admitted that they had much in common, in goals and methodologies as well as in the common milieu that constituted the motivating force of both movements.

4. Teaching in relation to other sects.
The prime distinctive of Pharisaism is not to be found in its zeal for the law, for this was a characteristic of all the religious sects among the Jews of the NT period. It is to be found instead in the peculiar importance attached to the oral law as contrasted to the written law or Torah.

a. Oral law.
The basic issue was the authority of the oral law. The Pharisees accepted along with the Torah, as equally inspired and authoritative, all of the explanatory and supplementary material produced by, and contained within, the oral tradition. This material apparently began to evolve during the Babylonian Exile through the new circumstances thereby brought upon the Jewish people. The Exile was seen as divine punishment for neglect of the law, and accordingly during this period there was an earnest turning to the law. Detailed exposition of the law appeared in the form of innumerable and highly specific injunctions that were designed to “build a hedge” around the written Torah and thus guard against any possible infringement of the Torah by ignorance or accident. In addition, the new circumstances of the Exile and the post-exilic period involved matters not covered in the written Torah; consequently new legislation had to be produced by analogy to, and inference from, that which already existed. The content of this oral law continued to evolve and to grow in vol. through the intertestamental, NT, and post-NT periods, finally to achieve written form in the Mishnah ( a.d. 200). For the Pharisees, the oral law came to be revered so highly that it was said to go back to Moses himself and to have been transmitted over the centuries orally, paralleling the written law that also derived from him.

Josephus refers several times to the expertise “in the interpretation of the Law for which the Pharisees had become known” (e.g., Jos. Life, 38). Of the various sects they were regarded as “the most accurate interpreters of the laws” (Jos. War II. viii. 14) and also were known for their austerity of life (Jos. Antiq. XIII. i. 3). Josephus further specifies that it was exactly this obsession with “regulations handed down by former generations and not recorded in the Laws of Moses” (Jos. Antiq. XIII. x. 6) that constituted the breach between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. With this may be compared the NT reference to the Pharisaic prepossession with the “tradition of the elders” or the “tradition of men” (cf. Matt 15:1-9 ; Mark 7:1-23 ; cf. Jos. Antiq. XIII. xvi. 2). The NT abounds with allusions to the scrupulous concern of the Pharisees with the minutia of their legalism: the tithing of herbs ( Matt 23:23 ; Luke 11:42 ); the wearing of conspicuous phylacteries and tassels ( Matt 23:5 ); the careful observance of ritual purity (e.g., Mark 7:1 ff.); frequent fastings ( Matt 9:14 ); distinctions in oaths ( 23:16 ff.), etc.

The Mishnah offers even more striking illustration of this precise definition of the law. Here is a virtual encyclopedia of Pharisaic legalism that instructs the reader with almost incredible detail concerning every conceivable area of conduct. It is impossible to do justice to this material by attempting to describe it; one can do no better than to sample the contents of the Mishnah for himself. This legal material of the Mishnah is described as Halacha (literally “walking”), that which prescribes, as contrasted with the other basic type of material in oral tradition (esp. in the Gemaras and Midrash) known as Haggadah , or that which edifies and instructs.

Under the direction of their scribes, the Pharisees tended to proliferate Halacha. This concern for every jot and tittle of performance might give the impression that the Pharisees were excessively rigid and intolerant. That they were rigorists there can be no doubt, but it is interesting to note that in their interpretation of the written Torah they often were more liberal than the literalist Sadducees. Moreover, even among themselves there was room for disagreement. In the last decades of the 1st cent. b.c. there sprang up two rival schools of interpretation among the Pharisees. The one, led by Shammai, was stringent and unbendingly conservative; the other, led by Hillel, was liberally inclined and willing to “reconcile” the laws with the actual situations of life. The rivalry between these two schools is permanently recorded in the Mishnah where frequently the differing views are contrasted. In the gospels certain questions put to Jesus by the Pharisees seem to have as their background, if not their actual motive, disputes between these two schools of interpretation (e.g., divorce, Matt 19:3 ff.). Jewish scholars often liken Jesus to Hillel and argue that in many respects he could be regarded as a disciple of Hillel. Nonetheless, on at least one point—that regarding grounds for divorce ( Matt 19:9 )—Jesus agreed with Shammai against Hillel. Hillel indeed anticipated Jesus’ summary of the law in his own negative formulation of the Golden Rule: “What you would not have done to thyself do not to another; that is the whole law, the rest is commentary” (BT Shabbath 31a). In the decades prior to the catastrophe of a.d. 70 it seems that the harsher attitude of the Shammaites tended to prevail among the Pharisees generally. From the following reconstruction onward it was the somewhat gentler viewpoint of the Hillelites that won out. Thus a division within the Pharisees came to an end, which could itself have been disastrous for the remaining history of Pharisaism.

The oral law of the Pharisees, however, is unquestionably impressive. This is true not only of the scope, the complexity of structure, and the inventiveness (not to say genius) of its exegesis, but also as a monumental expression of concern for righteousness. Although it is known that hypocrisy existed, there is no point in impugning the motives of these men generally. Yet there seem to be some inevitable weaknesses in a system that is devoted to the formulation of microscopic precepts. Really significant issues are too easily lost in the welter of trivial detail. Worse than that, often the very dictum of the law supposedly elucidated by the specifics of the oral tradition tends itself to fall victim to, and to be nullified by, the casuistry of the scribes. These, of course, are among the main criticisms of the scribes and Pharisees voiced by Jesus ( see below ).

b. The future life.
Among other doctrinal characteristics of the Pharisees, those having to do with the future life stand in particularly marked contrast with the views of the Sadducees. In that superb compendium of Pharisaic worship, the Psalms of Solomon, the eschatological expectations of a Messiah who would restore the fortunes of Israel are prominent. The Pharisees looked for that day when the evil regime of the present (esp. the wickedness of the Sadducees) would be dissolved and the glorious kingdom of righteousness for a righteous Israel would be inaugurated. The righteousness they themselves followed after with such zeal would, they hoped, serve as catalyst for the coming of the Messiah. It was not only here, however, that the Pharisees differed from the Sadducees with respect to the future, for the Pharisees also taught that there remained a future for the dead. According to Josephus, the Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul and in reward and retribution after death (Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; War II. viii. 14). In the latter passage he speaks of the soul moving into “another body.” It seems more likely that Josephus was intending to thus describe the resurrection of the body to his Hel. readers than that he was attributing the doctrine of transmigration of the soul to the Pharisees. These teachings were rejected outright by the Sadducees (who held to the old notion of Sheol; cf. Matt 22:23 ) presumably on the contention that such teachings were not to be found in the written Torah, and therefore were foreign imports. The bitter quarrel between the Pharisees and the Sadducees on this question is humorously illustrated in the clever way that Paul was able to pit the one group against the other by referring to the question of the resurrection of the dead in his trial before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 23:6 ff.). The ultimate triumph of the Pharisaic view is very apparent in the strong assertion of the Mishnah that “he that says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law” (but the last three words are omitted in some MSS) has “no share in the world to come” ( Sanhedrin 10:1 ).

c. Free will and determinism.
On this difficult question, the Pharisees held to a mediating view that made it impossible for either free will or the sovereignty of God to cancel out the other. As Josephus put it, “Though they postulate that everything is brought about by fate, still they do not deprive the human will of the pursuit of what is in man’s power” (Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; cf. Antiq. XIII. v. 9; War II. viii. 14). By the word “fate,” a term familiar in Stoicism, Josephus intended to communicate to his Hel. readers the Jewish idea of “providence.” In holding to both sides of the antinomy, the Pharisees avoided the extreme views of both the Sadducees and the Essenes. The former argued that free will was ultimately determinative of the course of history (Jos. War II. viii. 14; Antiq. XIII. v. 9), whereas the latter went to the extreme of arguing that all was determined in advance and that therefore human will was of no consequence (Jos. Antiq. XIII. v. 9; cf. Antiq. XVIII. i. 5). Again the prevalence of the Pharisaic view in later Judaism is evident from the Mishnah as can be seen for example in Akiba’s dictum “all is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given” ( Aboth 2:16 ).

d. Angelology.
The Pharisees accepted a rather developed hierarchy of angels and demons. Although Josephus is silent on the subject, the NT ( Acts 23:8 ) relates that the Sadducees differed from the Pharisees, arguing there is neither “angel, nor spirit.” It seems unlikely that this piece of NT evidence should be taken in an absolute sense, since there is evidence of angels already in the Books of Moses, which the Sadducees accepted as authoritative. The Sadducees would have protested, however, the proliferation of angels in the intertestamental period, and esp. the individualizing and personalizing of such beings, as well as the structuring of them into hierarchies of two opposing kingdoms, in which the Pharisees indulged. Doubtless the Pharisees were accused of adopting their angelology and demonology from Babylonian and Persian sources. In the apocrypha, and esp. in the Apoc. Lit., such angelology flourished. In the later Jewish tradition, the rabbinic concept of angels apparently remained unsettled and there are signs of a continuing debate on the subject.

e. Humanity.
The Pharisees were champions of human equality. Unlike the aristocratic Sadducees, who with their vested interests were defenders of the status quo , the Pharisees can be characterized in a number of respects as representatives of a democratic movement. The Pharisaic antagonism to the political reign of the aristocrats constitutes a major reason for the popularity of the Pharisees among the masses. Indeed, the social position of the Pharisees as plebeians and the resultant hatred for the patrician Sadducees is taken by Finkelstein to be of crucial importance in the understanding of Pharisaism. For example, Finkelstein points to the Pharisees’ hunger for equality with the aristocracy as the principal reason for their favoring the doctrines of eschatology, determinism, and angelology, with their intrinsic promises to the downtrodden. To be sure, the Pharisees looked superciliously upon the am ha-aretz , “the people of the land,” who took no heed of the Torah, but this was precisely because the Pharisees were concerned to make righteousness of life a “democratic” phenomenon by extending it beyond the priestly class. The Pharisees, indeed, possessed an admirable reverence for humanity, and along with that reverence a high regard for tolerance (cf. Gamaliel’s restraint in Acts 5:34 ff.) and a great love of peace. Hillel’s famous saying recorded in the Mishnah, was “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving mankind and bringing them nigh to the Law” ( Aboth 1:12 ).

In summary, it is obvious that the emphasis of their teaching fell upon the ethical side rather than the theological side. That is, they were far more concerned with orthopraxy than with orthodoxy. Beyond their fascination with legal minutia and the great mass of theology that they held in common with all other 1st-cent. Jews, there were special tenets peculiar to Pharisaism. It was claimed by the Sadducees that these distinctive teachings of the Pharisees (i.e., resurrection and the future life; angelology and demonology) had been borrowed from the Persians and Babylonians, and esp. the Zoroastrian religion. It cannot be denied that these views, which are shared also by NT Christianity, were of great importance in Babylon and Persia, and that the contact of the exiled Jews with these cultures stimulated Jewish thinking on these subjects. While allowing this, however, it is difficult to believe that the Jews who otherwise insulated themselves so effectively from pagan contamination during the Exile would have adopted ideas that were alien to their written law. It is much more likely that certain ideas that were to a degree implicit but undeveloped in the written revelation received a new impetus and a subsequent development consonant with, and not contradictory to, that revelation. The Pharisaic justification for these views thus appears to have been a valid one.

A final point that should be noted is the tension within Pharisaism, which was both a conservative and a progressive movement—a movement championing tradition but capitalizing on adaptation. Surely here is something of the genius of the Pharisaic movement. It was able to move ahead with changing times and circumstances, making itself relevant to the vast majority of the population, yet remaining true to its basic commitments.

5. Jesus and the Pharisees.
If the Pharisees of Jesus’ day adhered at all to what has been sketched above as the essentials of Pharisaism, how are we to account for the scathing denunciations they received from the lips of Jesus? Taken at face value Matthew 23:13-39 presents anything but an attractive picture of the Pharisees. Jesus accused them of hypocrisy and pretentiousness, and pronounced upon them a succession of woes (seven in all) culminating in the terrible, climactic exclamation: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” ( 23:33 ). It is a tragedy that from this ch. in Matthew the word “Pharisee” has come to mean popularly a self-righteous, hypocritical prig. Unfortunately not even Christian scholarship was able over the centuries to rid itself of an unfair bias against the Pharisees. Some of this failure was, no doubt, due to an all too common anti-semitism, but much was the result of neglecting the rabbinic lit. (the Mishnah, the Tosefta, etc.) as valid historical sources. That lit.—if it was considered at all—was regarded as contradicting the picture of Pharisaism in the primary sources, Josephus and the NT. If the rabbinic sources contradicted the NT, it was argued, so much the worse for the rabbinic sources. It was never considered, however, that the contradiction might be only an apparent one and not a real one. Even if the fullest weight is given to the NT, it will do no good to shut the eyes to the positive qualities of Pharisaism as revealed in the rabbinic lit. As Jewish scholars rightly insist, and as Christian scholars have increasingly admitted, that picture of Pharisaism cannot be completely a fabrication. Although from a historical perspective the superiority of the NT documents to the Mishnah and later rabbinic compilations as sources for our knowledge of the 1st cent. cannot be doubted, yet it must be recognized that a fair amount of the latter material does provide accurate information concerning Judaism in this period.

In the gospels, it is clear that Jesus was not attacking a straw man; His criticisms of the Pharisees may be regarded as appropriate and justified. These criticisms center on the areas of teaching and practice. In the first instance—and here it is primarily the Pharisaic scribes that are in view—the content of the oral law was called into question. With devastating irony Jesus exclaimed, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!” ( Mark 7:9 ; cf. Matt 15:3 ). The “tradition of men” had taken the place of, indeed had nullified, the commandments of the word of God ( Mark 7:8 , 13 ). Jesus did not question the rightful authority of these scribes, nor would He have questioned everything that they taught. They “sit on Moses’ seat” and accordingly the people should “practice and observe whatever they tell you” ( Matt 23:2 f.). Although there certainly are the “weightier matters of the law,” not even the Pharisaic custom of tithing mint, dill, and cummin should be neglected ( 23:23 ). At the same time much of the legal minutia of the oral tradition constituted too difficult and unnecessary a burden, which the Pharisees made no move to alleviate ( 23:4 ; cf. Acts 15:10 ). Their apparent inability to maintain a consistency between their tradition and the written law made them, as Jesus put it, blind leaders of the blind ( Matt 15:14 ; cf. 23:16 , 17 , 19 , 24 , 26 ). Their culpability lay in the fact that they did not enter the kingdom of God, nor (what is even worse) would they by their teaching “allow those who would enter to go in” ( 23:13 ).

Even more pernicious than the teaching of the Pharisees, however, was the gap between their profession and their practice. Their over-concern with externals led almost naturally to a neglect not only of the weightier parts of the law, but also of the inner man and matters of the heart. The resultant hypocrisy Jesus described in the words of Isaiah ( 29:13 in Mark 7:6 f.), about a people who honor the Lord with their lips while their hearts are far from him. In fact, the Pharisees were intent upon cleansing the outside of the cup and plate whereas the inside remained dirty ( Matt 23:25 f.); they were like whitewashed tombs, disguising an inner corruption ( 23:27 f.). Some of this may well have been the inevitable product of the Pharisaic legalism. What was not inevitable, however, was the pride of which the Pharisees were simultaneously guilty. Their motive in holding to their observances was a wrong one: “They do all their deeds to be seen by men” said Jesus ( 23:5 ). They loved the special honor that was paid to them as men who were reputedly serious about their godliness ( 23:6 ff.), but their pride was totally without foundation—for the truth was, as Jesus summarized it, “they preach, but do not practice” ( 23:3 ).

Surprisingly, it can be demonstrated from the Talmud that hypocrisy was not unknown among the Pharisees. A famous passage denounces six types of hypocritical Pharisees (BT, Sotah , 22b), which exhibit many of the same faults pointed out by Jesus. Pretense and hypocrisy are condemned uncompromisingly in the Talmudic lit. (e.g. JT, Berakoth f. ix, 7; 13), and from this it may be concluded that in all probability these vices constituted special problems for Pharisees. The point to be noticed here is that the lit. of the Pharisaic tradition in no way sanctions hypocrisy. Indeed, it is at one with Jesus in its castigation of hypocrisy. Without denying that hypocrisy existed among the Pharisees, it can be seen that simply to equate the two is to make an unfortunate error.

It is also to be noted that the condemnation of the Pharisees in the gospels is not a universal one. That is to say, it must not be concluded that all the Pharisees were like those described in Matthew 23 . The gospels contain references to Pharisees who were admirable men. Nicodemus is an excellent example of what a Pharisee ought to have been. He was genuinely a seeker of truth ( John 3:1 ff.), spoke out for justice on behalf of Jesus ( 7:50 ), and remained a follower of Jesus even after the disciples had fallen away ( 19:39 ). Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin who looked for the kingdom of God ( Mark 15:43 ), and who was almost certainly a Pharisee, did not consent to the decision to do away with Jesus ( Luke 23:51 ). He was a disciple of Jesus “secretly, for fear of the Jews” ( John 19:38 ) and made final provisions for the body of Jesus. There may well have been many such Pharisees who believed in Jesus, albeit secretly. Even those who were not necessarily believers could display admirable traits: Gamaliel argued for tolerance ( Acts 5:34 ff.); others warned Jesus of an attempt on His life ( Luke 13:31 ); others showed hospitality to Jesus ( Luke 7:36 ff.; 11:37 ; 14:1 ). Initially the great mass of Pharisees would only have regarded the ministry of Jesus with interest. Soon, however, as the Pharisees became aware of the uniqueness claimed by Jesus, the opposition began to harden, and their hostility toward Him grew. Consequently in the gospels, as a body they appear in an ever poorer light, until finally they enact their part in the arrest of Jesus ( John 18:3 ).

To sum up, a fair examination of both the gospel records and the Talmudic lit. leads one to conclude that there is no necessity of seeing an absolute contradiction between the two views of Pharisaism. In the main, the gospel account of the Pharisees is a negative one. Two things, however, are to be noted: (1) not all of the Pharisees were bad; and (2) Pharisaism, as ideally conceived, ought to have been a good thing. The latter is precisely the reason for Jesus’ attack on the Pharisees. Nowhere does Jesus appear more like an OT prophet than in Matthew 23 . He called the Pharisees back to the “weightier matters of the law” ( 23:23 ). He called them to close the gap between their profession and their performance. It is because they were so close (and yet so far) from being what they ought to have been, and yet at the same time made a great fuss over their supposed accomplishments (cf. Luke 18:11 ), that Jesus took them to task in such ominous tones.

It goes without saying that this criticism was exceedingly painful to the Pharisees. Nonetheless it is not here that their quarrel with Jesus lay, for they too were at least theoretically against hypocrisy (if only they could see it). Their real quarrel was much deeper: they would have nothing to do with the personal claims of Jesus and the centrality of these claims to His message. Jesus, in fact, put His own person in that central place previously held by the Torah as God’s revelation to man.

The quarrel that Jesus had with the Pharisees was also a deeper one, which necessarily remained implicit, and not explicit, at this stage in His redemptive work. The point is, that even if they had accomplished what they theoretically set out to do in successfully living according to a reformed oral tradition, they had no claim upon God. “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” ( Luke 17:10 ). Merit before God on the basis of righteous works is a nonentity, and thus the whole Pharisaic outlook was vitiated by this basic deception. It was left to Paul to make this explicit in no uncertain terms.

6. Significance of Pharisaism.
A general preoccupation with the vices of the Pharisees has unfortunately often obscured not only the good aspects of Pharisaism but also its true character and significance. Pharisaism was admirable in its attempt, however futile, to bring every area of life into subjection to the law. Perhaps more important than the dismal failure of its legalism in this regard was the wellspring of piety that motivated the whole phenomenon known as Pharisaism. It was the longing for a righteous Israel and the hope of the coming Messianic kingdom that motivated these men. The piety and expectant tone of the Pharisaic Psalms of Solomon is virtually indistinguishable from that, so highly honored by Christians, which appears in the poetic utterances of Luke 1 and 2 . God was about to do a great work for His people, and in preparation it was necessary for the people to turn to the law anew. The scribes and Pharisees accordingly made the law an influence in the lives of the masses that it had never before been. Despite excesses and failures, to the extent that it remained Biblical it accomplished much. Pharisaism was at heart, though tragically miscarried, a movement for righteousness. It was this concern for righteousness that drove the Pharisees to their legalism with such a passion. Convinced they had attained the righteousness they sought, the Pharisees became prey to their own self-satisfaction, and unknowingly they rejected their only hope of righteousness. Nevertheless this basic drive for righteousness accounts for what may be regarded as attractive and Biblical both about Pharisaic and rabbinic Judaism. This later Judaism stands in continuity with Pharisaism and, as might be expected, displays some of the same vices and virtues. Not without reason did G. F. Moore write that “Judaism is the monument of the Pharisees” (II, 193). Exactly for this reas on, however, the quarrel between Jesus and the Pharisees finds its modern counterpart in that between Judaism and the Gospel.

Primary source material in addition to the NT and Josephus includes: The Mishnah (tr. H. Danby, 1933); and The Babylonian Talmud (English tr. ed. I. Epstein, 1935-1952; reprinted 1961).

Secondary material: E. Schürer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ , Division II, vol. II (1890); I. Abrahams, Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels (First Series, 1917; Second Series, 1924); A. T. Robertson, The Pharisees and Jesus (1920); R. T. Herford, The Pharisees (1924); K. Kohler, “Pharisees,” Jew Enc vol. IX (new ed., 1925), 661-666; F. C. Burkitt, “Jesus and the Pharisees,” JTS, XXVIII (1927), 392-397; G. F. Moore, Judaism (3 vols., 1927-1930); Judaism and Christianity (3 vols., edited respectively by W. O. E. Oesterley, H. Loewe, and E. I. J. Rosenthal; 1937-1938); W. O. E. Oesterley, The Jews and Judaism During the Greek Period (1941); J. Z. Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays (1951); T. W. Manson, The Servant-Messiah (1953); W. D. Davies, Introduction to Pharisaism (1954; reprint 1967); A. F. J. Klijn, “Scribes, Pharisees, Highpriests and Elders in the New Testament,” Novum Testamentum , III (1959), 259-267; T. F. Glasson, “Anti-Pharisaism in St. Matthew,” JQR, LI (1960-1961), 316-320; L. Finkelstein, The Pharisees (2 vols., 1962); M. Black, “Pharisees,” IDB, III (1962), 774-781; A. Finkel, The Pharisees and the Teacher of Nazareth (1964); J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Eng. tr., 1969).         D. A. Hagner

Phlacteries: This definition came fromWordSearch 10.

“Phylacteries” are tefillin, small boxes affixed by a leather strap to one’s head and left hand during morning and evening prayers; Scripture passages were inserted in these boxes (the practice is based on Deut. 6:8). These passages were then recited as part of the prayers; rules concerning this later became stricter under the rabbis. For the tassels, see Matthew 9:20 and Matthew 14:36 Matthew 23:4-5
— Bible Background Commentary

Pilate, Pontius: I found information about Pilate on the following sites:

Pilate and Sejanus: I found information on the Bethlehem Star website:

Sadducees: I found information about Sadducees in the Glo Bible.

An important Jewish sect, more political than religious, which arose among the priestly aristocracy of the Hasmonean period, but which ceased to exist with the demise of the aristocracy in a.d. 70. The Sadducees are perhaps today best known for their opposition to the popular party, the Pharisees, with whom they differed on various doctrinal and political questions.
The derivation of the name “Sadducee” has been the subject of considerable discussion but has not been established with any certainty. If one may bypass some of the more ingenious guesses (e.g. that it derives from the Stoics; from the Pers. word for “infidel”; or from the hypothetical name of a now unknown person), there are left three significant possibilities. (1) Since the Heb. word for Sadducees consists of the same three radicals as the word for “righteousness,” i.e. , it has been argued that Sadducees means “righteous ones.” This account, however, leaves unexplained the necessary vowel shift from the i of , , (“righteous”) to the u of (Sadducees). Moreover, although this explanation of “Sadducee” was accepted by certain of the early Fathers of the Church (cf. Epiphanius, Haer. 14, 2, 1), it is not at all clear in what sense “righteousness” could be attributed to, or even claimed by, the Sadducees as their distinguishing characteristic. (2) An explanation that has gained popularity in modern times and is held by the majority of contemporary scholars, traces the word back to the proper noun (Zadok). Sadducee thereby becomes the equivalent of “Zadokite” or “son of Zadok,” the Zadok (spelled in the LXX, ) in question being a descendant of Aaron, a leading priest under David ( 2 Sam 8:17 ; 15:24 ff.), and chief priest under Solomon ( 1 Kings 1:32 ; 2:35 ). The priestly line begun by Zadok continued to the Babylonian Exile and was reinstituted after the Exile in the person of Joshua ben-Jehozadak ( Hag 1:1 ), coming to an end only when the unscrupulous Antiochus IV installed Menelaus as high priest in 171 b.c. The line of authentic Zadokite priests nevertheless continued until around a.d. 70 at the rival sanctuary at Leontopolis in Egypt (cf. Jos. Antiq. XIII. 3. 1ff.). The Zadok priesthood itself remained highly honored in Israel (cf. Ezek 40:45 f.; 44:15 ff.) as is evident from Ecclesiasticus ( 51:12 , Heb.), and the writings of the Qumran Community (e.g., IQS 5). Since in Josephus and the NT the Sadducees are closely associated with the highpriesthood, it has been argued that the use of the name “Sadducee” was an attempt to legitimatize the Jerusalem priesthood by associating it with the line of Zadok. But, in point of fact, the Jerusalem priesthood of the Hasmonean period was manifestly not of Zadokite lineage, so that on the other hand it has been suggested that the use of “Sadducee” or Zadokite in referring to that priesthood could be derogatory—i.e., an ironical reference to the disreputable (although legitimate) priesthood of the pre-Hasmonean era. It is, of course, not impossible that “Sadducee” may trace back to a Zadok other than the high priestly Zadok. There is actually a late 9th cent. ( a.d. ) rabbinic tradition, the Aboth of Rabbi Nathan , which derives “Sadducee” from an obscure Zadok of the 2nd cent. b.c. who was a disciple of Antigonus of Socoh. However, since a second disciple of Antigonus, a certain Boethus, is said by R. Nathan to have originated the sect known as the Boethusians, it is generally held that with respect to “Sadducee” the tradition is merely a late etymological guess. If the word is derived from the name Zadok, almost certainly it would go back to Zadok the high priest. (3) In light of the difficulty of using “Zadokite” to refer to a non-Zadokite priesthood, T. W. Manson has rejected the previous explanation of the derivation of “Sadducee,” and suggested in its place that the Aram./Heb. word is a transliteration of the Gr. word , meaning “syndics,” “judges,” or “fiscal controllers.” The use of can be traced back to 4th cent. b.c. Athens. It came during the Rom. period to refer to individuals having responsibilities and authority quite similar to that held by the Sadducees in Jerusalem (i.e., serving in somewhat of a mediatorial role between the Rom. authorities and the local or national community). Thus the word “syndic” was used also to refer to members of the Jewish senate, the Sanhedrin. Besides avoiding the major problem intrinsic to the previous explanation, Manson notes that his theory is more consistent with the fact that among the Sadducees were many laymen, for whom a priestly designation (as “Zadokite”) would be meaningless. Thus the word is said by Manson to have originally denoted the “syndics” or Jewish officials of the Hasmonean era, who themselves, however, may well have preferred the etymology which designated them as “righteous.”

Looked at objectively, Manson’s explanation seems to possess more plausibility than the first two explanations. Etymology, however, is often notoriously unpredictable, and it is thus easily possible that, even with their respective difficulties, one of the other explanations is really the correct one. It would seem safe to say that soon after the word achieved currency and its referent was established, that its real etymology became unimportant (and may even have been forgotten) and that alternative etymological possibilities sprang readily to mind.

2. Origin and history.

We are limited in our knowledge of the Sadducees to the indirect information Josephus provides, supplemented by what can be learned from the NT and the Mishnah. Unfortunately, the precise origin of the Sadducees cannot be determined from these sources. The first mention of the Sadducees by Josephus (Antiq. XIII. 5. 9) refers to the period of Jonathan Maccabeus, successor to his brother Judas. We are only told that at this time “three schools of thought” existed (i.e., Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes). Something of the respective tenets of these three schools is given, but Josephus provides no account of their origin. Quite prob., however, the Sadducees or their precursors are to be identified with the aristocratic members of the early senate or Sanhedrin of Israel, which began prior to the Maccabean revolt and continued through the Hasmonean period. Josephus next tells (Antiq. XIII. 10. 5) how the high priest John Hyrcanus (135-104 b.c. ) was cajoled into transferring his allegiance and favor from the Pharisees to the Sadducees ( see PHARIaS ). This is an apparent beginning of the close connection between the Sadducees and the high-priesthood which continues into the NT period. A natural alliance between the two existed on the basis of the political interests of the aristocratic Sadducees and the eminent position of the Hasmonean princes. However, the privileged status which the Sadducees began now to enjoy was abruptly lost when Salome Alexandra, succeeding her husband Jannaeus as monarch (76 b.c. ), acted upon his advice and granted considerable power to the Pharisees, who were so influential among the masses. When Alexandra died (67 b.c. ), her two sons quarrelled over the succession. Aristobulus II, backed by the Sadducees, eventually won out over Hyrcanus II, the contender supported by the Pharisees. But Hyrcanus, at the in stigation of Antipater, continued in a struggle for the crown that was brought to an end only by an appeal to Rome. Pompey eventually invaded Jerusalem (63 b.c. ) and installed Hyrcanus II as high priest by way of reward for his assistance. Much later (40 b.c. ), the Sadducees were prob. supporters of Antigonus, son of Aristobulus II, who succeeded in wresting the high priesthood from Hyrcanus II. When Herod the Great captured Jerusalem three years later, he took vengeance on the “partisans of Antigonus” (Jos. War I. 18. 4; cf. Antiq. XV. 1. 1f.) who had opposed Hyrcanus II, among whom were doubtless a large number of Sadducees. With Herod the power of the Sadducees declined appreciably (cf. Jos. Antiq. XIV. 9. 4). Herod diminished the power of the Sanhedrin and hereditary high-priesthood with a disconnected succession of high priests of his own choosing. (Josephus counts, in the period of 107 years from Herod to the fall of Jerusalem, no less than 28 high priests, Antiq. XX. 10. 5) Not only was the high-priesthood as an institution degraded under Herod, but the Sadducees (who remained closely associated with the high priests) themselves suffered an increasing decline in the public opinion. The frequent linking of the Sadducees with the Boethusians—the high-priestly house of Boethus, appointed by Herod (cf. Jos. Antiq. XIX. 6. 2)—attests to this low esteem of the Sadducees. When in a.d. 6 Judaea became a Rom. province, the Sanhedrin, and with it the Sadducees and the high priest, were able to exercise more control in governing the country, but always of course under the watchful eye of the Rom. procurator. From this time onward the high priests were aristocratic Sadduceans and the majority of the members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees (cf. Acts 4:1 ; 5:17 ; Jos. Antiq. XX. 9. 1). Yet the Pharisees who were a minority in the Sanhedrin were highly influential in that body because of their popularity with the masses. As Josephus puts it “they accomplished nothing,” having to go along with the Pharisees, “since otherwise the masses would not tolerate them” (Antiq. XVIII. 1. 4). With the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the second Temple in a.d. 70, the Sadducees disappear from history. Their existence was inextricably tied to their political and priestly power, and when that came to an end they, unlike the Pharisees, were unable to survive.

3. Composition and character.

The determinative trait of the Sadducean party seems not to have been its priestly associations as is commonly believed, but rather its aristocratic character. While it is true that the high-priesthood and the chief priests consisted almost exclusively of Sadducees, there were among the priests many Pharisees, and prob. Pharisees even among the upper classes of priests. More important, however, many Sadducees were to be found among the lay nobility who exercised important authority as members or “elders” of the Sanhedrin. Accordingly, that which was common to the Sadducees was not clerical status, but aristocratic eminence. It is natural then that the Sadducean circle was a very exclusive one, remaining closed to the populace as a whole. Josephus states that only a small number of men knew the doctrine of the Sadducees, that these were “men of the highest standing” (Antiq. XVIII. 1. 5), and that the Sadducees had “the confidence of the wealthy alone” (Antiq. XIII. 10. 6).

It is unfortunate that the Sadducees have usually been understood only by way of their contrast to the Pharisees, for this has led to oversimplification and misunderstanding. Thus facile dichotomies have become popular, e.g., that the Sadducees represented the clergy and Temple, but the Pharisees the laity and synagogue; that the Sadducees were the proponents and the Pharisees the resisters of Hellenization; that the Pharisees were the urban bourgeoisie, the Sadducees the rural landowners; that the Pharisees were concerned with religion and the Sadducees with politics. It is undeniable that there is some truth in these various assertions, but none of these contrasts should be absolutized and made alone to account for the peculiar character of the Sadducees. The latter are what they are due to a subtle combination of many factors, in varying degree. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were clearly opposed on certain issues, yet the difference between them is usually not absolute.

The aristocratic makeup of the Sadducees, together with their power in the Sanhedrin and their control of the high-priesthood, made it inevitable that their dominating interests should be political in nature. Their wealth and position on the one hand and on the other hand the fact that their power was delegated to them by the Rom. occupation, combine to account for the most outstanding trait of the Sadducees, their rigid conservatism. This conservatism, of course, was inevitably tempered by the dictates of the Romans. Since their political involvements were conditioned by their vested interests in the preservation of the status quo, it follows that they pursued policies designed to appease the governing authorities of Rome. Thus, paradoxically, the Sadducees were seen to be in line with the Hellenizing tendencies of their predecessors, and the populace hated them for their accommodation to the Romans, based as it was on private expediency. The primary concern of the Sadducees in all of this was to keep the nation peaceable and thereby to avoid trouble for the Romans and, in turn, themselves. In their administration of the internal justice of the country, the Sadducees were exceptionally strict in matters of law and order. Josephus refers to the party of the Sadducees as being “more heartless (or ‘savage’) than any of the other Jews when they sit in judgment” (Antiq. XX. 9. 1; cf. the reference to the Pharisees as being “naturally lenient in the matter of punishments” as compared to the Sadducees, Antiq. XIII. 10. 6). Similarly, any popular movement was a potential threat to the Sadducees, esp. any that could be regarded as in any sense an “uprising.” This accounts for their diligence in attempting to suppress the Christian movement by disposing of Jesus. The chief priests undoubtedly express the Sadducean viewpoint (which here coincided with that of the Pharisees) when they warn, “If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation,” to which Caiaphas the high priest, unwittingly prophetic, adds, “it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” ( John 11:48-50 ).

As to their behavior in interpersonal relationships, Josephus says that they were far inferior to the Pharisees. While the latter were affectionate one to another and lived harmoniously, the Sadducees, he says, are “boorish” and with their “peers” ( ) they are “as rude as to aliens” (War II. 8. 14). This has been seen by some as consonant with the sociological explanation of the Sadducees as crude, unpolished, provincial landowners (in contrast to the urbane Pharisees). To be sure, Josephus has a decidedly negative view of the Sadducees (whom he left to become a Pharisee), yet there are also some indications in the NT which make the Sadducees appear anything but refined (cf. Matt 26:67 f.; Acts 23:2 ). Josephus also represents the Sadducees as inclined toward argumentation to the extent that they “reckon it a virtue to dispute” with their teachers (Antiq. XVIII. 1. 4), and prob. Josephus means this in a derogatory sense. Thus the Sadducees, with all the advantages of higher culture which wealth brings, nonetheless were apparently lacking in the elements of refinement and decency which one usually tends to associate with the aristocracy.

The Sadducees, then, by virtue of their peculiar position, were preeminently concerned with politics and the stability of the state. But while these secular concerns were dominant, it cannot be denied that there was also a clearly religious aspect to the Sadducean viewpoint. It is in the realm of religion esp. that the conservatism of the Sadducees is apparent.

4. Teaching.

For the most part what we know of the religious teaching of the Sadducees we know only indirectly, that is, only in its negation of certain Pharisaic doctrines. The Sadducees, having rejected a great amount of the Pharisaic teaching as innovative, are properly seen as the conservative religious party; they appear to have regarded themselves as the stalwart guardians of the “pure faith” of the past.

Unquestionably the most important denial on the part of the Sadducees was that of the oral law. They denied the Pharisaic contention that the oral law traced back to Moses and that it was authoritative and binding. Josephus gives explicit information on this point, informing us not only of the fact that the Sadducees abrogated the regulations of the Pharisees, but also giving the reason for this as the absence of these regulations from the “Laws of Moses” (Antiq. XIII. 10. 6). Josephus, indeed, seems to attribute the controversies and differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees to this fundamental disagreement. The Sadducees were prob. in agreement with some parts of the oral law, but nonetheless rejected any suggestion that observance of the oral law was obligatory. With regard to matters not specified in the written law, the Sadducees seemed concerned to protect the right of private opinion. It may well be that behind this Sadducean viewpoint lay the vital concern of preserving the traditional priestly prerogative of interpreting the law, to which the Pharisaic structure of oral law posed no small threat.

To the Sadducean mind, the Pharisaic attempt to “build a hedge” around the Torah—i.e., to protect against transgression by detailed regulations—was mistaken and unnecessary. Indeed, the Sadducees seemed to perceive that such legal stipulation could have the effect of annulling the Mosaic law itself. Paradoxically, however, the Sadducees too had a tradition of “decrees” or interpretation of the law of Moses which was, in principle at least, indistinguishable from the Halacha , or legal tradition, of the Pharisees (cf. Matt. 16:12 ; Mishna: Makkoth 1, 6). On the whole, the Sadducees appear to have interpreted the Mosaic law more literally than did the Pharisees. While they tended to scoff at the scrupulousness of the Pharisees, they themselves were very exacting in matters of Levitical purity, this doubtless in keeping with their concern for the prestige of the priesthood and the Temple ritual. Needless to say, however, the Pharisees regarded the Sadducees as sinners of the worst kind who by their immoral conduct prostituted the sacred ritual of the Temple (cf. the Pharisaic Psalms of Solomon , where the “sinners” spoken of are to be identified with the Sadducees).

Turning to specific doctrinal beliefs of the Sadducees, one may begin by looking at what Josephus tells us of their view of free will and predestination (or Fate, as he calls it, using the Gr. concept). Whereas the Pharisees apparently tried to synthesize the two, the Essenes were at the one extreme of attributing all to Fate, while the Sadducees were at the other extreme of attributing all to free will. “They do away with Fate altogether” and throw everything back upon the free will and responsibility of man (Antiq. XIII. 5. 9; War II. 8. 14). For the Sadducees a man’s own decision accounted for his well-being or misfortune. This belief of the Sadducees has rightly been taken as implying a certain feeling of self-sufficiency on their part and a repudiation of any dependence upon divine providence.

A second negation further removed from God any effective relevance by arguing that there is no resurrection of the dead, nor any future life whether of bliss or sorrow. For the Sadducean denial of the resurrection of the body, NT evidence is plentiful (cf. Mark 12:18 ff., and parallels; Acts 23:8 ; cf. 4:2 ). From Josephus we learn that the Sadducees believed that the soul perishes with the body (Antiq. XVIII. 1. 4) and therefore can receive neither penalties nor rewards in an afterlife (War II. 8. 14). It is immediately obvious how this denial intensified an already this-worldly perspective which the Sadducees had by virtue of their position. If a man must be content with the present life alone, he is bound to capitalize on any present advantages he may enjoy. And this appears, in fact, to have been the practical philosophy of the Sadducees. It may be added that the Messianic hope played no role in the Sadducean perspective.

Along with the resurrection and the immortality of the soul, the Sadducees appear to have rejected the belief in angels and demons. In contrast to the Pharisees who held to these doctrines, the Sadducees, we are told, believe there is “no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit” ( Acts 23:8 ). The idea of a spiritual world containing elaborate hierarchies of angels and demons flourished particularly in the intertestamental period. This prob. gave the Sadducees a basis for rejecting such notions as innovative, although it must be admitted that angels and thus the spiritual world are encountered in the OT—even in the Pentateuch, which for the Sadducees was finally authoritative.

The doctrinal stance of the Sadducees as we have outlined it has called into question the Sadducean view of what we know as the OT. Are not most of the doctrines which the Sadducees rejected to be found within the OT? How then can we explain that the Sadducees rejected them? Confronted with this question some of the early Fathers (e.g., Hippolytus, Origen, Jerome) concluded that for the Sadducees only the Books of Moses were canonical Scripture. At the same period of time the Samaritans held to a canon consisting exclusively of the Pentateuch. But, the Samaritans were only half-Jews, and it is difficult to believe that evidence of the Sadducees’ rejection of the non-Mosaic writings would not have been noted either by Josephus or in the NT. Moreover, the Fathers may well have been speculating concerning the answer to the above questions.

A more probable solution would seem to lie along the following lines. The Sadducees accepted the OT canon commonly received by the Jews with the one reservation that the authority of the later writings was necessarily subordinate to that of the Books of Moses. It was prob. the allegedly immoderate development of specific doctrines in the intertestamental period that caused the Sadducees to overreact as they did in denying these doctrines altogether. Their final appeal was doubtless to the Pentateuch, but even here, as we have noted, they were inconsistent. Nor can we deny that their doctrinal views were tempered by the “common sense” of contemporary secular thought, such as it was, in the realms of revelation and eschatology. In their reactionary conservatism the Sadducees attempted to capitalize on their self-made image of themselves as the protectors of the pure and true religious tradition which alone went back to Moses.

5. Sadducees in the NT.

The Sadducees are referred to by name only in the synoptic gospels and Acts, and then not very often. To these references may be added those places where the “chief priests” are mentioned, for these were surely of the Sadducean stripe. It must be admitted, however, that by comparison with the Pharisees, the Sadducees seem insignificant in the gospels. This may be plausibly explained by the consideration of several factors. In the first place, unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees enjoyed the esteem of the masses, and professed a special concern for righteousness as manifested in their careful allegiance to the oral law. This made them natural targets of Jesus. The Sadducees, on the other hand, had influence only among the aristocracy, a segment of society with which Jesus had little to do, and were mainly concerned with their political interests. The Sadducees were, moreover, restricted for the most part to Jerusalem, whereas the gospels center on the Galilean ministry of Jesus.

Early in the gospels the Sadducees have almost no role to play. They do make an appearance, along with the Pharisees, at the Jordan where John castigates them as a “brood of vipers” ( Matt 3:7 ), but they do not appear to have been particularly interested in the early ministry of Jesus. The next reference to the Sadducees in the chronology of the synoptics occurs when they, again accompanied by the Pharisees, ask Jesus for a “sign from heaven” ( 16:1 ). Just after this, Matthew records Jesus’ warning concerning the “leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” which is “the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” ( 16:6 , 11 , 12 ). The word “Sadducees” does not occur in the parallels to this passage, although Mark does refer to “the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” ( Mark 8:15 ), the latter quite prob. referring to the Herodians who would certainly appear analogous to the Sadducees in many ways. Matthew 16 does not refer to the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees as being identical. The warning concerns the teaching of each group which, although not specified, is in its own peculiar way corrupt and contrary to the message of Jesus. The most significant mention of Sadducees in the gospels concerns an interview with Jesus in Jerusalem, at the end of His ministry, in which they tried to trap Jesus with a crafty question concerning the resurrection ( Matt. 22:23-33 ; Mark 12:18-27 ; Luke 20:27-38 ). In His answer, Jesus accused them of knowing neither the Scriptures nor the power of God, and He then proceeded to cite the Pentateuch ( Exod 3:6 ) in support of the doctrine of the resurrection.

The Sadducees appear to have been unconcerned about Jesus early in His career. Only as it became clear that He posed a threat to their security and position (as in His cleansing of the Temple; cf. Mark 11:18 ) did they begin to become alarmed and decide to take action (cf. John 11:47 ff.). Indeed, confronted with Jesus and His claims, the Sadducees were able to unite with the Pharisees, their traditional enemies, for the purpose of disposing of Jesus. Both parties collaborated in His arrest and “trial” by the Sanhedrin ( Mark 14:53 ff.; 15:1 ff.).

The Sadducees were agitated by the preaching of the apostles in the Early Church. The Book of Acts records that they arrested Peter and John for “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” ( Acts 4:1 ff.). Some time later, the Sadducees were “filled with jealousy” at the abundance of signs and wonders wrought by the apostles and arrested them again ( Acts 5:17 ff.). This action of the Sadducees is consistent with both their character and special interests. Josephus, indeed, implicates the Sadducees in the death of James, the half-brother of Jesus (Antiq. XX. 9. 1; cf. Acts 12:1 f.). The final reference to the Sadducees in Acts (and in the NT) occurs in the trial of Paul before the Sanhedrin, where in almost humorous fashion Paul is able to get the Pharisees and Sadducees into an intramural battle on the question of the resurrection, which brings the meeting to an end in a great clamor ( Acts 23:6 ff.).

The NT evidence while not of considerable extent is nonetheless valuable in itself and consistent with the picture of the Sadducees which can be gleaned from the writings of Josephus. It may finally be remarked that the evidence of Jewish oral tradition as codified in the Mishnah and other rabbinic compilations tends on the whole to support that same picture, whether on the Sadducean aversion for Pharisaic scruples (e.g., Parah 3, 3; Yadaim 4, 6f.) or concerning the question of life after death (e.g., Berakoth , 9, 4). At the same time, the rabbinic lit. must be used somewhat judiciously, for the Sadducees are from the later rabbinic (i.e., Pharisaic) standpoint heretics and virtual enemies of Israel (cf. Erubin 6, 2; Niddah 4, 2) and thus references to the Sadducees often are highly polemical.

Primary source material: The NT; Josephus (Loeb edition); and The Mishnah (trans. H. Danby, 1933).

Secondary materials: E. Schürer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ , Division II, Vol. II, (1890); D. Eaton, “Sadducees,” HDB IV (1902), 349-352; K. Kohler, “Sadducees,” Jew Enc, vol. X (new ed., 1925), 630-633; G. F. Moore, Judaism (3 vols., 1927-1930); T. W. Manson, “Sadducees and Pharisees—The Origin and Significance of the Name,” BJRL XXII (1938), 144-159; W. O. E. Oesterley, The Jews and Judaism During the Greek Period (1941); J. Z. Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays (1951); T. W. Manson, The Servant-Messiah (1953); L. Finkelstein, The Pharisees (2 vols., 1962); A. C. Sundberg, “Sadducees,” IDB IV (1962), 160-163; R. Meyer, “ , , ”TDNT VII (Ger. 1964; Eng. tr. 1971); B. Reicke, The New Testament Era (1964; Eng. tr., 1968); J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Eng. tr., 1969).         D. A. Hagner

Sanhedrin: I found information on the Sanhedrin in the Glo Bible.

A Heb. and Aram. term taken over directly into Eng. denoting the council of Jerusalem which constituted the highest Jewish authority in the Pal. of pre- a.d. 70. The Heb.-Aram. word is, in turn, a transliteration of the Gr. word   a noun constructed from the adjective   “sitting in council” (from   [with] +  [seat]). The occasionally encountered spelling “sanhedrim” is the result of a mistaken assumption that the word was in reality a masc. pl. Heb. noun. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish council of supreme authority which met in Jerusalem, must be distinguished from lesser, local courts of law to which the name “sanhedrin” was also regularly applied.

1. Sources for the study of the Sanhedrin.

The three primary sources of information for our knowledge of the Sanhedrin are (1) the NT documents, (2) the writings of the Jewish historian, Josephus, and (3) rabbinic tradition particularly as codified in the Mishnah (in the tractate “Sanhedrin”), but also found in other places such as the “Sanhedrin” tractate in the Tosefta (“Supplement”) and in the Gemaras of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. The information that can be gleaned from the NT and Josephus is, of course, indirect, whereas the rabbinic materials often intend specifically to provide information about the Sanhedrin. This fact is counterbalanced, however, by the comparatively late date (about a.d. 200) at which the rabbinic materials that had been handed down orally were finally written down.

It is, unfortunately, impossible to reconcile the description of the Sanhedrin in the rabbinic materials with that found in the NT and Josephus. An attempt has been made to do just this, however, by alleging that there were two major Sanhedrins in Jerusalem: (1) a political Sanhedrin composed of a priestly aristocracy headed by the high priest, concerned with civil affairs and the administration of criminal justice (of which we read in the NT and Josephus) and (2) a religious Sanhedrin composed of a laity of Pharisees headed by a rabbi, concerned with matters of religious life and the interpretation of Torah (of which we read in the rabbinic materials). While this ingenious and attractive theory has been accepted by a number of Jewish scholars (e.g. Lauterbach, Hoenig, Zeitlin, Mantel), it has not found general consent and is here rejected as a conjecture that is too facile and goes too far beyond what the concrete evidence warrants. As historical sources the reliability of the NT and Josephus far exceeds that of the rabbinic writings, which often reflect the state of affairs after, rather than before, the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. Consequently the traditions of the rabbis, while they may sometimes convey trustworthy information concerning the Sanhedrin, must be used critically. Where there is conflicting testimony between the NT and Josephus on the one hand and the rabbinic materials on the other hand, historically speaking, one is on safer ground to accept the former as trustworthy and to reject the latter as anachronistic.

2. Terminology.

The Gr. word , , is frequently encountered in Classical and Hellenistic Gr., where it commonly means “place of gathering,” but also comes to connote the gathering itself and in some instances even its authority. The word occurs also in the LXX where it refers to an assembly or court (but not to the Sanhedrin as commonly understood). While , , is common in the NT (over twenty occurrences) and in Josephus, it is not the only term or phrase used in referring to the great council of Jerusalem. The term , , “senate,” is found occasionally in the OT Apocrypha and Josephus, and occurs once also in the NT ( Acts 5:21 ). Another word used to refer to the Sanhedrin is , , “council of elders,” which is used twice in the NT ( Luke 22:66 ; Acts 22:5 ). A word used often by Josephus in referring to the Sanhedrin is , . While this particular word is not used by NT writers, the cognate noun , , “councillor,” is used by Luke ( 23:50 ) in referring to Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin. The noun , “council,” also is used by Josephus. The council is often referred to in the NT by speaking of its members using one, or a conjoining of more than one, of the following: , “chief priests”; , “scribes”; , “elders.”

In the rabbinic sources, the word is the common word used to refer to the council. There are, however, other words and phrases for the same body: e.g. , “great house of justice”; , “assembly.”

3. History.

The rabbinic tradition as recorded in the Mishnah (San 1:6) traces the origin of the Sanhedrin back to the command of God to Moses to gather together seventy men chosen from among the elders of Israel ( Num 11:16 ). After the Exile it was said to have been reorganized by Ezra. While the precise origins of the Sanhedrin remain obscure, it is commonly argued that historically one cannot speak of the Sanhedrin proper until the Gr. period, i.e. the period of Israel’s domination by the Ptolemies and Seleucids. There are certain anticipations or foreshadowings of the Sanhedrin in the period immediately following the Exile. The place of the elders in Israel was, of course, ever an important one. Early in the history of Israel priests and judges administered justice in specific cases (e.g. Deut 19:15 ff.). Long before the Exile Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (872-848 b.c. ), is reported to have appointed a law court in Jerusalem consisting of “priests and heads of families of Israel, to give judgment for the Lord and to decide disputed cases” ( 2 Chron 19:8 ). Just after the Exile the importance of the elders (e.g. Ezra 5:5 ff.; 6:7 f.; 10:8 ) as well as the priests and nobles (e.g. Neh 2:16 ; 5:7 ; 7:5 ) in leadership and adjudication is readily evident. Despite the acknowledged similarity, however, it is still not the Sanhedrin of the NT period.

The first explicit mention of the body known as the Sanhedrin in historical sources is found in Josephus (Antiq. XII. 138ff.) where in his account of a decree of Antiochus III (223-187 b.c. ) reference is made to the , , or “senate” of the Jews. This “senate” was composed of priests and elders under the direction of the high priest, being constituted as an organized body concerned not merely with judicial matters, but having the broader responsibility of acting as the governing body for the whole of Pal. It was the practice of the Hel. kings to give a large degree of freedom to subject nations in the governing of their internal affairs. This seems to have been true of the Jewish nation under the Ptolemies and Seleucids. The senate of this period is also referred to in the books of the Maccabees (e.g. 1 Macc 12:6 ; 2 Macc 1:10 ; 4:44 ; cf. “the elders of the people,” 1 Macc 7:33 ). During the period of independence under the Hasmonean Dynasty the power of the council was somewhat curtailed, but it continued to exist as a body. The monarchical rulers of this period needed the support of the nobility who composed its members. It was the queen Salome Alexandra (76-67 b.c. ) who, at the advice of her dying husband Alexander Jannaeus, first installed large numbers of Pharisees in the Sanhedrin, making the Pharisees dominant in a group which had hitherto consisted wholly of Sadducees (Jos. War I. 5. 2).

After the Rom. occupation of 63 b.c. the council continued to exist under the leadership of the high priest Hyrcanus (II). Within a few years however, Gabinius, the Rom. governor of Syria (57-55 b.c. ), greatly reduced the power of the Jerusalem council by dividing the land into five “sanhedrins” ( , Jos. Antiq. XIV. 5. 4; , Jos. War I. 8. 5) or administrative councils. The high council thereby became merely one among the five, and its regional jurisdiction diminished considerably. This limitation was only temporary, however, for under the direction of Caesar, Hyrcanus was reappointed “ethnarch,” and the Jerusalem council regained its status, appearing again to have had authority over the whole of the land. Indeed, in 47 b.c. there is the remarkable occurrence of Herod being summoned from Galilee to appear before the Sanhedrin for having executed a certain Hezekiah without the permission of the high court. (Jos. Antiq. XIV. 3ff. In this passage the actual word , , occurs for the first time in historical sources in reference to the Jerusalem council, after which however this use of the word becomes common.) For the sake of Hyrcanus, Herod was absolved of this crime, only later—after he had been made king of the Jews—to take bloody revenge by killing the members of this Sanhedrin (Jos. Antiq. XIV. 9. 4; it is doubtful whether “all” the members are to be taken literally; cf. XV. 1. 2). The Sanhedrin continued to exist under Herod, but it was filled with tractable men and its power was severely limited. Herod used the court to carry out his will, but did not allow it or the high priest (Herod was unqualified for this office) to interfere with his reign. At the death of Herod in 4 b.c. his kingdom was divided among his three sons, the most important part (including Judea and Samaria) going to Archelaus who ruled as “ethnarch.” Despite the plea of the people to Augustus for more self-government (cf. Jos. Antiq. XVII. 11. 2ff.), the status and power of the Sanhedrin underwent no particular change.

In a.d. 6, however, when Judaea was made a Rom. province, the Sanhedrin and its president, the high priest, were granted almost exclusive control of the internal affairs of the nation, similar to that which it had under the Hel. kings. The sacred status of Jerusalem and its environs was recognized by the Romans and, so long as public order was maintained and tax revenues were forthcoming, they were content for national matters to be under the control of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. It is during the period of the Rom. procurators ( a.d. 6-66) that the Sanhedrin came to possess the greatest power and jurisdiction of its history, although the Jewish authority was always ultimately answerable to the Rom. governor. Josephus can speak of the dominion of the nation as having been entrusted to the high priests of this period (Antiq. XX. 10).

This is the Sanhedrin which we encounter in the NT documents. It is a body composed largely of members of the aristocracy (the chief priests and Sadducees), which under the leadership of the high priest, exercises considerable judicial authority in handling Jesus of Nazareth according to the gospels, and his disciples according to the Book of Acts. Its area of jurisdiction also appears to include the Diaspora to some degree (witness Paul’s request for letters to the synagogue at Damascus from the high priest, Acts 9:1 f.).

With the Jewish rebellion, which began in a.d. 66, martial law came into effect, and when Jerusalem finally fell in a.d. 70 the Sanhedrin was permanently dissolved. From this point onward Pal. was governed solely by orthodox Rom. provincial administration. Almost immediately, it appears, a new “Sanhedrin” was constituted at Jamnia. This “Sanhedrin,” however, was markedly different from its predecessor in that, needless to say, it had no political or governing power whatsoever, and was limited exclusively to the judgment of religious questions. Despite the rabbinic claims that this “Sanhedrin” stood in continuity with the Sanhedrin of earlier periods, it is evident that by comparison the new Sanhedrin was powerless. Whereas the Jerusalem Sanhedrin of the period of the Rom. procurators consisted largely of aristocratic men led by the high priest, the decrees of which were binding under penalty of severe punishment, the new Sanhedrin or Beth Din (court of Justice), as it was called, consisted exclusively of rabbinic scholars under a scholar-president whose decrees were theoretical and bore only the authority warranted by voluntary respect for scholarly wisdom.

4. Composition.

Although the rabbinic tradition knows only of a Sanhedrin composed entirely of scholarly scribes and Pharisees, historically it is known that throughout its history the Sanhedrin was dominated by a priestly aristocracy. And, to speak in terms of the parties that developed during Hasmonean times, the nobility almost without exception consisted of Sadducees. Pharisees were admitted into the Sanhedrin in considerable numbers at two particular junctures in its history: once under Salome Alexandra (as noted above) and subsequently under Herod the Great, who took this measure to limit more effectively the power of the older nobility who opposed him. According to the Mishnah (San. 1:6) the membership of the Great Sanhedrin numbered seventy-one. This seems to reflect accurately the situation before the fall of Jerusalem. (Mention is made also of smaller, local sanhedrins composed of twenty-three members.) Tribunals were quite prob. modeled in number after the tribunal of seventy instituted by Moses according to Numbers 11:16 f. (There are a number of indications that, among the Jews, councils of seventy were favored.) The extra man was apparently the leader or president of the Sanhedrin, which according to the evidence of Josephus and the NT, was the high priest. The rabbinic tradition, however, does not associate the Great Sanhedrin with the high priest. Instead, it attributes the leadership of the council to a president ( or “prince”) who was merely one of the scribes of the council. He was assisted by a vice-president ( , or “father of the house of justice”) who was also a scribe. This almost certainly reflects the post a.d. 70 situation and is wrongly taken as accurately describing the Sanhedrin of the time of Christ.

The office of high priest was, of course, hereditary although on occasion this was altered for political expediency. Exactly how other members of the Sanhedrin came to hold office remains obscure. A likely conjecture is that the body was self-perpetuating in the sense of electing its own members. The office was prob. given for life, but again this is uncertain. The criteria for membership were prob. age and wealth, although the Mishna mentions only one necessity—that the candidate be learned in rabbinic doctrine.

Particularly in the NT, one encounters repeated references to “chief priests” ( ), the pl. of “high priest,” , . This group which forms the leading component of the Sanhedrin, consisted of former high priests including members of the most important of the priestly families. Probably next to this group in prestige was the lay nobility, who like the priestly aristocracy were also of Sadducean sympathies, and who are prob. referred to under the title “elders” ( ). Another important group, an element of increasing importance in the Sanhedrin of the 1st cent., is that of the “scribes” ( ), the professional scholars who were experts in matters of Mosaic law (hence, “lawyers”). The scribes, by way of contrast with the other groups, were Pharisees. Although they were a minority in the Sanhedrin, they apparently enjoyed considerable popular support. So much so, that not only could nothing be accomplished without the Pharisees, but as Josephus indicated, the Sadducees often went along with them in order merely to be tolerated by the masses (Antiq. XVIII. 1. 4).

5. Session.

The Sanhedrin, like other local courts according to the Mishnah, almost certainly was prohibited from meeting on the Sabbath or on feast days. Whether it could in extreme circumstances legally meet on a feast day as it did in the trial of Jesus cannot be known, but seems improbable. In cases involving capital punishment, the sentence could not lawfully be delivered until the day following the trial, and therefore such trials were also prohibited on the eve of either a Sabbath or a feast day (San 4:1). Cases involving potential capital punishment were similarly barred from taking place at night (San 4:1). According to Tosephta (San 7:1), the hours of meeting on regular days were from the time of the morning sacrifice to the evening sacrifice.

There is some disagreement concerning where the Sanhedrin held its meetings. According to the Mishnah it met in the Temple precincts to the S of the Temple court, in what was called “The Chamber of Hewn Stone” (Mid 5:4). Josephus, however, appears to locate the meeting place of the Sanhedrin ( , , or ) in two different spots (cf. War V. 4. 2; VI. 6. 3), but this has been explained as referring to later meeting places. The NT has the Sanhedrin gathered at the palace of the high priest for the trial of Jesus, but the circumstances are exceedingly irregular (the meeting at night was illegal, and could not have taken place in the Temple precincts which would have been locked) and cannot be taken as normative in any sense.

The Mishna provides us with further information concerning the meetings of the Sanhedrin. The members are said to have sat in a semicircle in order that all might see one another, while in front of them on the right and left two scribes were positioned, who kept a written record of the testimony for acquittal or conviction (San 4:3). Also present were three rows of “disciples of the Sages” from which additional judges could be appointed, while a member of the congregation would be chosen to fill the gap caused among the disciples of the Sages (San 4:4). A great amount of additional information of the actual process of justice (e.g. capital cases had to begin with reasons for acquittal, and whereas testimony in such cases could be unanimous for acquittal, it could not be unanimous for condemnation—someone had to argue on behalf of the accused, San 4:1) is available in the Mishnah, but the question of whether or not such information can be accepted as at all accurate for the period of our concern remains crucial.

6. Competence.

The Sanhedrin certainly had complete control of the religious affairs of the nation as the Mishnah indicates. The high court was the supreme authority in the interpretation of Mosaic law and, when it mediated in questions disputed in the lower courts, its verdict was final. Beyond this, the Sanhedrin also governed civil affairs and tried certain criminal cases under the authority of the Rom. procurator. The Romans were quite content to let subject nations regulate internal affairs, but there were, of course, always limits. They, for example, would have reserved the right to intervene at will, and while it is probable that they usually went along with the high court’s decisions, they were under no compulsion to do so.

One of the most vexing questions concerning the Sanhedrin was whether or not the Romans had granted it the power of capital punishment. There is a fair amount of evidence which seems to indicate that the Sanhedrin did have the right to try capital cases and to execute capital punishment. In the Mishnah regulations are given for different types of execution. (Four kinds of capital punishment which could be inflicted by the court are enumerated in San 7:1.) There is, moreover, reference to the burning of a priest’s daughter for adultery, which prob. occurred before the fall of Jerusalem. Further records of actual executions are found in Josephus (Antiq. XX. 9. 1) who provides an account of the Sanhedrin’s trial and stoning of James, the brother of Jesus, as well as some other Christians. Documentary evidence has been discovered by archeologists which proves that Gentiles (even Rom. citizens) could be put to death by the Jewish authorities for trespassing the restricted areas of the Temple precinct. In the NT itself there is the account of the trial and stoning of Stephen by the Sanhedrin ( Acts 6:9 – 8:1 ).

While this evidence is weighty, it is not necessarily conclusive. The regulations in the Mishnah quite prob. describe the situation after the “re-constitution” of the Sanhedrin at Jamnia. The execution of the priest’s daughter referred to in the Mishnah may be readily explained if it occurred during the reign of Herod Agrippa I (who ruled as king over the whole of Pal.) in the years a.d. 41-44 when there was a temporary interruption in the procuratorial system of government in Pal. The stoning of James, it is known, took place just in this interval between Rom. procurators. The executions were still illegal, and Agrippa quickly had the high priest responsible (Annas II, or Ananus) removed from office (Jos. Antiq. XX. 9. 1). It is also during this period that the slaying of James the son of Zebedee took place, this by the hand of Agrippa ( Acts 12:1 ff.). The right of capital punishment over those trespassing the holy places of the Temple is surely to be regarded as an extraordinary privilege granted by the Romans merely for the sake of expediency. It would be rash to extrapolate from this and allege that therefore the Sanhedrin would also possess the right of capital punishment in other matters, at least over its own people, the Jews. The stoning of Stephen took place after a trial before the Sanhedrin on the charge of blasphemy. (Herein lies another problem in that technically Stephen was not guilty of blasphemy since he did not pronounce the ineffable Name, and thus at most he should have received forty stripes lacking one.) However, the execution bears the marks of precipitate action on the part of an enraged mob. On the other hand, if it was the carefully deliberate action of the Sanhedrin, it is not difficult to believe that occasionally the Jewish authority perpetrated an illegality which to the Romans was not very significant, and which was thus conveniently overlooked.

The NT data clearly point to the conclusion that the Sanhedrin did not possess the power of capital punishment. Jesus appears to have been turned over to the Romans because the crime of which He was alleged to be guilty was regarded as deserving of capital punishment. At any rate, the assertion of John 18:31 made by the Jews to Pilate is beyond question: “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” Remarkably, there is a piece of Talmudic evidence that supports this assertion. In the Jerusalem Talmud (San 1:1; 7:2), it is said that the right of capital punishment was taken from Israel forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple. The round number forty quite prob. means to convey the period of Rom. procuratorship (precisely, a.d. 6-66). All of this fits with what is known of the Rom. custom in the government of the provinces. Capital punishment was almost always held by the governor as his own personal prerogative. It was on occasion granted to free cities in the empire, but that it would be granted to a city such as Jerusalem, or to a nation so infamously unruly as Judaea is hardly to be expected.

7. The Sanhedrin in the NT.

The action of the Sanhedrin in the NT bears out the picture here presented. The Sanhedrin is perhaps most conspicuous in its role in the trial of Jesus in the gospels. Without getting into the intricacies of the trial itself, the following may be said. The Sanhedrin had every right to prosecute Jesus for alleged crimes whether religious or civil. From what can be pieced together from the Gospel narratives ( Matt 26 ; Mark 14 ; Luke 22 ; John 19 ) the Sanhedrin rather than being a vehicle for the accomplishment of justice—for which the rabbinic model in the Mishnah is exemplary—here became guilty of a gross travesty of justice. The time and nature of its meetings, the manner in which the “trial” was conducted, its strange outcome—all point to the intent desire of the Jewish authorities to do away with Jesus. Here we have a group of desperate men who, while trying to keep a show of propriety and at least a semblance of “legality,” take what can only be regarded as very desperate measures. Long before His arrest and trial they had determined to have Jesus put to death ( Matt 12:14 ; Mark 3:6 ; John 11:53 ). It was only a question of how to do this, and under what charges to hand him over to the Romans for the capital punishment they themselves could not legally administer. Ultimately they found this in the political charge of sedition.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the Sanhedrin on occasion behaves more as one should expect this council to act. The apostles are brought before the court and admonished not to continue stirring up the people with their message ( 4:5-22 ; 5:17-42 ). At one point when some members of the council wanted to kill them ( 5:33 ) a Pharisee of the council, the famous rabbi Gamaliel, made an eloquent plea for justice ( 5:35 ff.). Similarly, when Paul was arraigned before the Sanhedrin, he was able (with some skill and knowledge) to elicit support from the Pharisees of the council who declared, “We find nothing wrong in this man” ( Acts 23:9 ). In the stoning of Stephen, however, the court appeared in a bad light, being guilty of an illegal, as well as an impetuous act.

There can be little question that the Sanhedrin in its full complement included some outstanding men. In addition to Gamaliel, already mentioned, the council included Joseph of Arimathea who was a disciple of Jesus secretly ( John 19:38 ), and Nicodemus who was also drawn to Jesus. The latter showed a genuine concern for justice in the high council’s intentions concerning Jesus when he said to his fellow members, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” ( John 7:50 ). One may only suppose that in the fiasco which served as Jesus’ trial, these more honorable members of the Sanhedrin were not present at the clandestine meetings, or that we have no record of their protestations. It has occasionally been suggested that Saul of Tarsus was a member of the Sanhedrin prior to his conversion. Acts 8:1 and 26:10 do not necessarily mean that Saul voted as a member of the council. What is meant is prob. only that he gave his assent unofficially, for it is virtually impossible that Saul at his young age could have been a member of the august council of elders.

Primary sources in addition to the NT include: Josephus , Loeb Classical Library, 9 volumes, eds. H. St. J. Thackeray, R. Marcus, A. Wikgren (1926-1963); The Mishnah (trans. H. Danby) (1933), esp. the tractate Sanhedrin , 382-400.

Secondary materials: E. Schürer, A History of the Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ (1885), 163-195; J. Z. Lauterbach, “Sanhedrin,” JE XI (1905), 41-46; H. Danby, “The Bearing of the Rabbinical Criminal Code on the Jewish Trial Narratives in the Gospels,” JTS XXI (1919), 51-76; S. Zeitlin, “The Political Synedrion and the Religious Sanhedrin,” JQR XXXVI (1945-1946), 109-140; “Synedrion in Greek Literature, the Gospels and the Institution of the Sanhedrin,” JQR XXXVII (1946-1947), 189-198; J. Jeremias “Zur Geschichtlichkeit des Verhörs Jesu vor dem hohen Rat,” ZNW XLIII (1950-1951), 145-150; S. B. Hoenig, The Great Sanhedrin (1953); T. A. Burkill, “The Competence of the Sanhedrin,” VB X (1956), 80-96; J. Blinzler, The Trial of Jesus (1959); H. Mantel, Studies in the History of the Sanhedrin (1961); P. Winter, On the Trial of Jesus (1961); T. A. Burkill, “Sanhedrin,” IDB IV (1962), 214-218; J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (1962; E. T. 1967), esp. 222-232; E. Lohse “ , ,” TWNT VII, part 2 (1964), 858-869; E. Bammel (ed.), The Trial of Jesus , Cambridge Studies in honor of C. F. D. Moule (1970).         D. A. Hagner

Sicarii: I found information on this website:

The Five Levitical Offerings:  I found information on the five different offerings made in the Temple on this website:

Thirty pieces of silver: I found information on the coins given to Judas on this website:

Tombs outside of Jerusalem: I found information on these tombs on this website:

Tradition of the Elders: I found information in the Glo Bible.

Tradition of the Elders

Tradition is the collective wisdom of any given culture, the notions of its world view and the insights of its institutions.
Ancient near East
Dead Sea scrolls
Tradition in the diaspora and the church
1. Ancient near East.
Tradition existed before the Neolithic food-producing revolution of the 9th-8th millennia b.c. It was formulated by two processes, the conservation of accumulated wisdom and the symbolization of ideas transmitted beyond the limits of horizontal communication. In effect, tradition in the ancient Near E was a complex literary vehicle which came into being before the innovation of writing. Ancient tradition was almost always verified and grounded in the religious ground-motive of the archaic-religious states. All of the most ancient literate cultures assumed that their writing system and its literary monuments were rooted in the very cosmos and enforced by the gods. To a great degree the keeping of tradition was a sympathetic magic bringing the microcosm of the town and its inhabitants into alignment with the universal macrocosm of the world-order. The traditional texts of the Sumerians, Elamites, Babylonians and Hittites as well as the Ugaritic tablets all follow this pattern. The proposal made by the negative higher critics of the 19th cent. that oral traditions existed previous to the enscriptured word of the OT, has never been proven. In fact, the very nature of “law” among human societies implies if not demands that some form of writing exists. To reduce the pre-Biblical cuneiform sources to the level of oral transmissions from the tribal “elders” of ancient amphictyonies is a gross misunderstanding.
2. OT.
The writers of the OT are adamant in insisting that the word-revelation of God was not only antagonistic but antithetical to the traditions of the nations. The common Near Eastern assumption that hoary antiquity verified authority, an underlying motive in all tradition, is refuted in every book of the OT. The God and Word of the patriarchs is stated to be a God of present action, and this aspect is restated to Moses before the Exodus ( Exod 3 ). The essential concept is that divine revelation is contrary to human knowledge. Nowhere does the OT support the word of any human group as authoritative; the traditions of the nations are judged and condemned. The three sacerdotal offices of the theocratic administration, prophet, priest and king, were God ordained and God centered. Almost all modern theories of the oral tradition of the OT presuppose the verity of the documentary hypothesis, “J,” “P,” and “E” or one of its modifications, the fragmentary hypothesis or the legendary hypothesis. It must be stated at the outset that these form the extant documents to a subjective historiographical method and in effect beg the question of origin. It is clear, however, that a degree of syncretism was in evidence so that the terms and styles of Ugaritic poetry and Canaanite architecture were absorbed by the Israelites after the conquest under Joshua. Undoubtedly the village elders during the period of the Judges followed formal traditions of justice ( Ruth 4:1-3 , et al.), which acted as insulations or hedges to the written Pentateuchal law. This intent to ring the oracles of Jehovah with additional and more precise requirements came to its fulfillment after the Babylonian Captivity. Under the later Judean kings and into the Hel. age, the various institutions of the Israelite monarchy became fixed and somewhat independent. The rise of the Temple administration ultimately placed the chief priest in the foremost executive position in the state during the Rom. period. With the expansion and solidification of the Temple services and powers a reliance upon tradition was a natural outcome. The ever-present threat of dilution of the core of the Jewish religious faith through syncretism with the paganism of the Pers. and Gr. world views enforced a greater stricture in the keeping of the law and a further development of tradition about the law. In the conflict between Judaism and Hellenism a new orthodox party appeared, the Pharisees. The enforcement of the Temple administration by the popular pharisaic movement fostered the further growth of a religious and cultural tradition. Archeological excavation at Masada and Qumran have produced ritual lavation pools and other ritual constructions not specifically mentioned in the OT, but frequently cited in later lit. Thus it can be assumed that many of the traditions which became fixed in the post-Biblical period had their origins in the Intertestamental age. Of specific importance were the various types of Temple taxes. During the OT period such taxes were based upon the commands of the Levitical code, but in the ensuing centuries the elaborate Temple hierarchy levied taxes in a great number of areas of the economy without specific Biblical warrant. These practices mentioned often in the Talmud and later still in the Responsa were sanctified by tradition alone.
3. Intertestamental.
The breakup of the Second Commonwealth into an array of religious and political parties left each to be founded and justified by tradition. The dependence upon oral authorities in the time-honored oriental fashion can be traced throughout the documents which have survived from this post-Hel. era. The Apoc. and Pseudep. were written at this time and they both include large portions of traditional method and material. In an age of turmoil and tension it is natural that men turn to a more stable and secure past and hallow its accomplishments, and the Intertestamental period did this in abundance. In the face of the mechanism of the Attic world view which now settled upon Asia, the remnants of the archaic religious states, Israel, Egypt, Babylon, Persia and Gaul all turned inward to their own past. The result was the movement toward neo-Platonism finally codified by Plotinus and his followers. The process of “hedging” the five Books of Moses by layers of oral tradition, commenting upon and solidifying the interpretation of the text, went on unabated throughout the period after the close of the canon. Much of this tradition was tr. from its Heb. and Aram. original into koiné Gr. In this manner it passed into the treasure of diaspora Judaism. The major alteration came about through the Rom. subversion of the Temple administration which resulted in a mistrust of the established interpretation of the law. In its place there appeared a vast number of apocryphal and apocalyptic renderings which are preserved in the DSS and the NT.
4. NT.
Frequently in the NT, the concept of the Jewish tradition is mentioned. The , , “giving over,” “handing down,” is also used of the apostolic writings ( 2 Thess 3:6 , et al.). However, the term , “tradition of the fathers,” which has been generally understood as the Pirqe Aboth , “Wisdom of the Fathers,” was a set of written rabbinic traditions. This teaching was accepted by the Pharisees, but rejected by the Sadducees. There is no question but that the rabbis already held an important and central position in Judaism. They were to become the inheritors of the whole of Jewish tradition after the final destruction of the sacerdotal rites and administration of Judaism in a.d. 70. Phariseeism and rabbinic Judaism were both founded on the mass of tradition. This dead weight of orthodoxy was often rejected by Jesus in His interchanges with His questioners. More specific terms applied to the traditions of the fathers are , “the tradition of the elders” which of course is a reflection of the Heb. , of the OT. It appears in Matthew 15:2 and Mark 7:5 as the term used by the Pharisees themselves with its obvious positive reference back to the Mosaic administration ( Exod 3:16 , et al.). On the other hand, to offset this assumption Jesus specifically refers to it as , “the tradition of men,” thus removing from it any or all connection with divine authority. It is clear in the gospels that this term is one of derogatory significance ( Mark 7:8 ). So opposed to the keeping of the tradition of the fathers did the church become, that Peter characterized it as, , “the futile ways inherited from your fathers” ( 1 Pet 1:18 ). The single most apparent aspect of Jesus’ teaching was the attitude of personal authority with which He spoke in opposition to the qualified quotations of the rabbinical tradition ( Mark 1:22 ). In the view of the NT, the attempt to modify and extend the ancient law to the newer historical circumstances, the process called by the Jews Halachah, had merely taken Judaism further from its ultimate rest in God’s covenant. In effect the tradition had rendered Judaism a mere set of external principles unconcerned with motives or intents. All the true meaning of the OT revelation had been lost ( Matt 23:1-36 ). The atrophy of ritual in Judaism after the fall of the Temple complex to Titus also marked the decline in the use of the Heb. tongue. As the Jews of the Diaspora faced this loss of their ancient heritage, a movement to write down the ancient traditions became imperative. In succession the Mishna and Gemara ( see under TALMUD ) were set down and thus the oral “hedge” around the law was like the OT inscripturated.
5. Dead Sea Scrolls.
The discovery of the DSS has cast much light on the formative period of the tradition of the elders, esp. since new collections such as 1QS have indicated that sectarian as well as rabbinic Judaism was in the process of expanding the law. The DSS display the same types of refinements of the tradition as seen in the Talmud: concern for the text of the five Books of Moses; detailed instructions on offerings and tithes; ritual cleanliness and defilement; instruction concerning rituals and verification of current practices. The zeal with which this tradition was carried out to the last letter of its content is demonstrated by the community of Qumran itself, a religious commune existing under the harshest conditions of life. As with the rabbinical traditions the DSS have a twofold purpose in view in their attempt to perfect the traditional system of the law: 1. To maintain against the encroaching paganism the ancient Israelite theocracy; 2. To preserve a remnant of purified Israel against the world until the apocalyptic release. This last futuritive ideal has often been overlooked in modern discussions of the Jewish traditionalism. In the DSS the apocalyptic mode is uppermost and foremost.
H. J. Holtzmann, Kanon und Tradition (1859); C. Ullmann, Reformers before the Reformation , 2 vols. (1874-1877); A. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah , 2 vols. (1883); A. K. G. Harnack, History of Dogma , 7 vols. (1895-1900) see index; G. C. Aalders, De Profeten des Ouden Verbonds (1918); H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch , I (1922) 610-720; B. H. Branscomb, Jesus and the Law of Moses (1930); H. Birkeland, Zum hebräischen Traditions-wesen (1938); J. Pedersen, Israel, Its Life and Culture , 4 vols. (1940) see index; S. Mowinckel, Prophecy and Tradition (1946); G. Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects of Hebrew Prophets (1948); E. J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (1949) 10-100; D. Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism (1956); P. Wernberg-MƏller, The Manual of Discipline (1957); S. Mowinckel, “Tradition,” IDB, vol. 4 (1962) 683-685; R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (1969) 19-82.         W. White, Jr.

The Trial of Jesus: I used several sources for the trial.

The Glo Bible:

I. The Jewish trial.

The purpose of the Jewish leaders was to “arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him” ( Matt 26:4 ). This, not legality, was the controlling principle of the trial and the reason for the many irregularities.

1. Preliminary examination.

While the Sanhedrin gathered, Jesus was held at the house of Annas, former high priest and sharer of the dignity and power of the office with his sonin-law Caiaphas. As no part of a regular trial, Jesus was interrogated concerning His disciples and doctrine ( John 18:19 ). The purpose was to gain evidence for the trial. Jesus insisted, in effect, that the trial begin with examination of witnesses, not with probing of the accused ( 18:20 , 21 ). Charges must come before answers.

2. The night trial.

Haste was important, though illegal. Jesus must be condemned before His friends could rally. The Temple gates were closed for the night. The high priest’s quadrangle served as informal emergency quarters. Off the open center court was a large room isolated only by pillars. Here they assembled, just across the courtyard from the apartment of Annas. As the Sanhedrin were assembling, the chief priests worked frantically to find and train witnesses. Though carefully instructed and solemnly sworn in, the perjured witnesses could not agree ( Mark 14:56 ; Deut 19:15 ). Jesus treated this phase of the trial with silent disdain.

In a move of desperation, the high priest put Jesus under oath ( Matt 26:63 , 64 ). Jesus freely admitted His claim that He was the Christ, the Son of God ( 26:65 , 66 ), though He knew it would cost His life. The issue was clear. On this claim and nothing else hinged the condemnation of Jesus by the Jewish court. By the clever ruse Caiaphas made each member of the Sanhedrin, including himself, an accredited witness. Since Jesus, a man, could not be deity, they assumed He must be a blasphemer worthy of death. Jesus was condemned by common consent, but not sentenced. The group broke into disorder. Some spat upon Jesus, others struck Him ( Mark 14:65 ).

3. The morning session.

The Friday trial at daybreak was to give semblance of legality to the decision of the night trial and to prepare to present the matter to Pilate. The high priest began the trial again, eliminating parts that had been unfruitful. Jesus was questioned directly by the court, and again He testified that He was the Son of God. All claimed to witness the blasphemy. All arose and led Him to Pilate ( Luke 22:66 – 23:1 ). Blasphemy was still the one and only charge.

II. The Roman trial.

Jesus was still condemned but not sentenced. As a jury, they brought the verdict of guilty, but Rome alone could legally give the sentence of death.

1. Attempted evasion.

The Jews hinted strongly that Pilate should yield to them the right of trial and exercise only his right of execution. This was sometimes done by Rom. governors either through indolence or as a favor, esp. in matters of religion. Pilate was in no mood to yield, and said in effect, “Give me both the power to try and to execute or be satisfied with the penalties you are allowed to inflict on the condemned” ( John 18:29-31 ).

2. Accusations.

If Jesus was to be tried and sentenced by Rome, a new case must be made. Rome was not interested in blasphemy. Forced against their will and expectation to formulate a charge, the Jews began to pour forth vehement accusations. There were three main counts: perverting the nation, preventing the paying of tribute to Caesar, and saying that He is a king ( Luke 23:2 ). Only the third impressed Pilate. If it should be true, Jesus could be guilty of treason. If so, He must die. Rome knew no greater crime than treason.

3. Examination and acquittal.

Pilate returned to the Praetorium to examine Jesus. Jesus admitted that He was a king, but explained to Pilate that He was not the kind of king that would seek to overthrow the government. His authority was in the realm of truth ( John 18:33-37 ). Pilate, being satisfied, went out to the Jews and pronounced the words of acquittal: “I find no crime in him” ( v. 38 ). This would have ended the trial if justice had been the object.

4. Referral to Herod.

When the Jews shouted all the more accusations, Pilate feared a hopeless impasse. Finally, the word Galilee gave him a thought. Herod Antipas was in the city. Why not give him the honor and danger of passing on the case? The gesture was appreciated by Herod, but he was too astute to allow himself to be involved in a treason trial. He treated Jesus as a cheap entertainer and heaped ridicule upon Him when He did not cater to the desires of the court. No legal purpose was served.

5. Jesus or Barabbas.

Evasion did not solve Pilate’s problem. Jesus came back from Herod. Pilate tried twice more to gain consent for the release of Jesus ( Luke 23:13-23 ). Justice, scourging, pity, and festive spirit made no difference. The people wanted only Jesus’ blood; that of Barabbas would not do ( 23:18 ).

Behold the Man!

In a final appeal to their humanity, Pilate brought Jesus out with bleeding back from the scourging, with the crown of thorns on His head, and with the purple robes of mockery. The Jews were all the more insistent that Jesus be crucified ( John 19:1-6 ).

7. The sentence.

Compromise became impossible. Pilate had to release Jesus at all costs or crucify Him at all costs. Finally, fear of Jewish blackmail became greater than his sense of justice. Pilate was unwilling to face his record before Caesar. To appease the Jews, Pilate crucified Jesus ( John 19:16 ).

S. Andrews, The Life of our Lord Upon the Earth (1891), 505-544; J. Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ (1894), 15-113; W. Chandler, The Trial of Jesus (1908) 2 vols.; P. Vollmer, The Modern Student’s Life of Christ (1912), 240-257; J. Blinzler, The Trial of Jesus (1959), 81-245; P. Winter, On the Trial of Jesus (1961), 20-135.         W. T. Dayton

Trial: Barabbas

Although unattested in extant Palestinian sources (as are many customs), the specific custom mentioned here is the sort of custom the Romans would have allowed. Roman law permitted two kinds of amnesty, the indulgentia (pardoning a condemned person) and—what Pilate probably has in mind here—abolitio (acquitting a person before judgment). Romans and Greeks seem to have granted mass amnesty at some other regular feasts, and Romans occasionally acquitted prisoners in response to the cries of crowds; Roman provincial officials were also permitted to follow previous officials’ precedents or provincial customs.
Bible Background Commentary – The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament.

The Glo Bible

(  Aram., son of the father , or son of Abba ). The criminal whom the crowd, in response to Pilate’s offer, chose for release instead of Jesus.

The release of Barabbas instead of Jesus at the demand of the people is recorded in all four gospels ( Matt 27:15-26 ; Mark 15:6-15 ; Luke 23:16-25 ; John 18:39 , 40 ) and is referred to in Peter’s sermon in the Temple portico ( Acts 3:14 ). Barabbas is identified as “a notorious prisoner” ( Matt 27:16 ), “a robber” ( John 18:40 ), and as one of “the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection” ( Mark 15:7 ). The motive for the insurrection in Jerusalem, during which he had committed murder ( 15:7 ; Luke 23:19 ), is uncertain. It may have been a bold case of brigandage, but prob. it was a politically motivated attempt to throw off the hated yoke of the Romans. As the leader of the group, Barabbas had gained a reputation as a species of hero.

Beyond the evidence in the gospels, nothing is known about the governor’s custom of releasing a prisoner at the Passover. But the releasing of prisoners for various reasons was known (Jos., Antiq. XX. ix. 3; Livy, V. 13; Deismann, Light from the Ancient East , p. 267). Pilate offered the crowd the option between Jesus and Barabbas in the expectation that Jesus would be released. The chief priests could readily influence the vote of the people because the sight of Jesus as a helpless and unresisting prisoner deeply outraged their Messianic expectations concerning Him. Their vote was motivated not by popular esteem for Barabbas, but by aroused antipathy to Jesus because of disappointed hopes.

The name Barabbas may simply be a conventional proper name. It is found as the surname of several rabbis. Jerome ( On Matthew ) asserts that in the apocryphal Gospel According to the Hebrews the name was “son of their master” ( filius magistri eorum ), which points either to a form Bar-rabban (“son of a rabbi”) or to Bar-Abba (“son of the father,” in the sense of teacher). That Barabbas was chosen because he was the son of a rabbi is improbable.

Origen ( Commentary on Matthew ) noted a reading “Jesus Barabbas” in Matthew 27:16 , 17 and called it an ancient reading. It appears in the 9th cent. Codex and in some Syrian sources. This would make it a patronymic (cf. Simon Barjonah). If his personal name was “Jesus,” in itself not improbable, it made Pilate’s offer more pungent—“Jesus Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth.” This reading has been accepted by some scholars, but its authenticity must remain dubious.

Nothing is known concerning the subsequent history of Barabbas.

E. P. Gould, “St. Mark,” ICC (1896), 285-287; W. B. Wright, The Heart of the Master (1911), 186-195; A. E. J. Rawlinson, “St. Mark,” WC (1927), 227-229; H. A. Rigg, “Barabbas,” JBL, 64 (1945), 417-456; C. E. B. Cranfield, “St. Mark” (1959), 449, 450.         D. E. Hiebert

Trial – flogging; Jewish

Trial – Roman scourging

Trial – Crown of Thorns: I found information in the WordSearch 10.

Jesus was mocked by Roman soldiers who placed a crown of thorns upon his head, similar to this painted illustration. Mark’s gospel records that Jesus was mocked as a king 3 times. To the Roman soldiers the title of King was laughable.
Pontius Pilate pronounced the final sentence upon Jesus of Nazareth some time between six and nine o’clock. He gave the orders to the Roman soldiers that Jesus was to be crucified. The soldiers led Jesus into the open court of the governor’s Palace, and when they called the rest of the Roman cohort together to take part in a cruel scourging they stripped Jesus of clothing and put upon him a purple robe. The purple robe was to symbolize royalty, and they mocked him as King of the Jews.
The scourging is performed with a whip called the “flagrum” and had pieces of sharp instruments embedded into the cord which was designed to remove flesh quickly. As Jesus was bent over with a lacerated body they hailed him King of the Jews, and the soldiers put together a garland of flexible boughs (Aramaic “nubk”) which were bushes filled with long sharp thorns, and they created a crown of thorns and placed it upon his already bruised head. To mock him even further they created a scepter made out of a reed and placed it in his right hand, and they began striking him similar to when he was stricken before the Sanhedrin.
Matthew 27:27-31
27 – Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band [of soldiers].
28 – And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29 – And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 – And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31 – And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify [him].

Crown of Thorns in Smith’s Bible Dictionary

Mt 27:29 Our Lord was crowned with thorns in mockery by the Roman soldiers. Obviously some small flexile thorny shrub is meant perhaps Capparis spinosa. “Hasselquist, a Swedish naturalist, supposes a very common plant naba or nubka of the Arabs, with many small and sharp sines; soft, round and pliant branches; leaves much resembling ivy, of a very deep green, as if in designed mockery of a victor’s wreath.”

Crown of Thorns in Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Our Lord was crowned with a Crown of Thorns, in mockery by the Romans (Matt. 27:29). The object of Pilate’s guard in doing this was probably to insult, and not specially to inflict pain. There is nothing to show that the shrub thus used was, as has been supposed, the spina Christi, which could have been easily woven into a wreath. It was probably the thorny nabk, which grew abundantly round about Jerusalem, and whose flexible, pliant, and round branches could easily be platted into the form of a crown.

Crown of Thorns in the Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)

thornz (akdnthinos stephanos): Three of the four evangelists mention the crown of thorns, wherewith the rude Roman soldiers derided the captive Christ (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2). All speak of the akanthine (Acanthus) crown, but there is no certainty about the peculiar plant, from the branches of which this crown of cruel mockery was plaited. The rabbinical books. mention no less than twenty-two words in the Bible signifying thorny plants, and the word akantha in the New Testament Greek is a generic and not a specific term. And this word or its adjective is used in the three Gospels, quoted above. It is therefore impossible definitely to determine what was the exact plant or tree, whose thorny branches were selected for this purpose. Tobler (Denkbl., 113, 179) inclines to the Spina Christi, as did Hasselquist. Its botanical name is Zizyphus Spina Christi, It is very common in the East. Its spines are small and sharp, its branches soft, round and pliable, and the leaves look like ivy, with a dark, shiny green color, making them therefore very adaptable to the purpose of the soldiers. Others have designated the Paliurus aculeatus or the Lycium horridum. Both Geikie (Life of Christ, 549) and Farrar (Life of Christ, note 625) point to the Nubk (Zizyphus lotus). Says the latter, “The Nubk struck me, as it has all travelers in Palestine, as being most suitable both for mockery and pain, since its leaves are bright and its thorns singularly strong. But though the Nubk is very common on the shores of Galilee, I saw none of it near Jerusalem.” The settlement of the question is manifestly impossible.

Crown of Thorns in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary
Christ’s “crown of thorns” has been supposed to have been made of the Ramnus nabeca (Hasselquist) or the Lycium spinosum, probably the latter (Sieber). To mock rather than to pain Him was the soldiers’ object, and they took whatever came to their hand first. The dark green was a parody of the triumphal ivy wreath.

Heart Message
The Crown of Thorns
A Crown of Life

Hail, King of the Jews

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. Matt. 27:27-30

Mathew, Mark and John report in their gospels that when Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers, they brutally scourged him, probably using the infamous Roman Flagrum, a multi-thonged whip embedded with sharp pieces of lead, metal or bone designed to remove flesh.

After the scourging, the soldiers had a bit of sadistic fun with the bleeding savior, mocking his claims of Kingship by dressing him up with a scarlet robe, placing a staff in his hand, as if it were a king’s scepter, and cruelly creating a crown from a thorn bush and pressing it into his scalp. They kneeled before Him in sarcasm saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

His crown of thorns, the crown that fallen humanity placed on his head was an awful symbol showing man’s complete contempt for all that God loves and values. It was also emblematic of our Saviors love for all of us and our minds which are deceived and pained by so much of this world’s lies. Perhaps it is also a vicarious witness that he bore the very thorns created by man’s original sin and rebellion in the garden, so that we might one day wear the crown of life and glory. (James 1:12, Rev. 2:10, 1 Peter 5:4)

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev. 19:11-16

Trial – Game of the King: I found information about this on several websites, but saved these two for my research: