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§ 282. Night-Examination before Annas.

IN the mean time, the high-priest, Caiaphas, informed of what had passed, had summoned a council of the Sanhedrim at his palace for the trial of Jesus. As this could not be accomplished until daybreak, Jesus was taken before Ananos, or Annas, the former high-priest, father-in-law of Caiaphas, for a preliminary examination.770770   In Luke, xxii., 66, we find that some time elapsed between the arrest and the meeting of the Council; the latter occurring “as soon as it was day.” This accounts for the arraignment before Annas, mentioned only by John (xviii., 13). As for the invention of such a fact as this, the idea is absurd; there could be no motive for it; and John himself only relates it by the way. The mention of such minute incidents, however, prove him to have been an eye-witness.—(Note to ed. 4th.) Bleek’s review of Ebrard has led me to re-examine this subject. I cannot think John would have given such prominence to the arraignment before Caiaphas had he not meant to unfold this preparatory trial further; and, therefore, cannot suppose that, in xviii., 19-23 he records the official examination before the Council. In that case he certainly would have dwelt upon it more, and made more of it. On the other hand, it is easy to understand that he omitted the latter examination, because generally known by other traditions, and gave the one which was least known. In fact, this is presupposed in the examination before Pilate, as recorded by him, when compared with the account of the trial before the Council in the other Evangelists. In xviii., 13, express mention is made of Caiaphas as ἀρχιερέυςfor that year,” to distinguish him from Annas, who bore the same title. In v. 14 he cites the declaration of Caiaphas (notable as coming from the lips of the Head of Ecclesiastical affairs during the year in which Christ suffered) in view of the omission of the full trial before him. In v. 24, after the examination, it is stated that Annas “sent him to Caiaphas, the actual high-priest.” Perhaps the leading out of Christ occasioned one of Annas’s servants to put the question (v. 25) which brought out Peter’s second denial; and perhaps, also, Luke, xxii., 61, should be joined in immediately after. In this case we should make the fore-court of the house of Annas the scene of Peter’s denials; and might infer that, when this preparatory examination before Annas was forgotten, or laid aside as unimportant, the denial of Peter, which was preserved on account of its intrinsic importance, was laid in the court of Caiaphas, in connexion with the second examination.

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Annas began with questions about his followers and his doctrine. But Christ gave no satisfactory replies. And this was fully consistent with his dignity; for he knew that the questions were put not to elicit truth, but to extort something that might be used against him; that the decision was as good as made, and the investigation only intended to throw over it the forms of justice. He referred Annas, therefore, to his public discourses in the Temple and in the synagogues. One of the servitors deemed his reply an insult to the high—priest’s dignity, and struck him in the face. The blow could not disturb his serenity of soul; he only asserted the justice of his cause in saying, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?


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