Annas was the high priest of Israel AD 6-15. His true Jewish name is Hanan. Once elected, the high priest was the chief minister of public worship and head of all the services of the Temple. He had to supervise personally at the Day of Atonement, but sometimes at other feasts, such as the Pasch. In civil matters the high priest was the head of the Sanhedrin, the presidency which was automatically his. The actual power of Annas dwindled under Herod the Great.

Called by Josephus as Ananus, the son of Seth. Annas was first appointed high priest by Cyrenius, or Quirinus, proconsul of Syria, about ad 7 or 8., but was afterwards deprived of it, being removed after 7 years (Kitto says 15 years) by Valerius Gratus, procurator of Judea. The office was given to Joseph, also called Caiphus about 25, who continued until 35 or 36.

Annas was deposed by the royal priesthood by Roman authority, but he had gained such a foothold while in office that he continued to be the power in Israel, even though his son-in-law, Caiaphas, was the legal high priest. He was regarded as the real high priest by the stricter Jews. Likely, he was the richest man in Israel, controlling all the temple traffic money-changers, etc. People, however, regarded him as God's high priest. Besides Caiaphas, five of his sons and one of his grandsons occupied the high priest office, so that Annas remained the power behind the throne until the revolt of 66. The John mentioned in Acts 4 was Anna's son and was high priest in AD 36.

It was before Annas that Jesus was first taken as prisoner on the night of his seizure. He also assisted in presiding over the Sanhedrin in judgment of Peter and John. The mere fact that he should have noticed Jesus at all shows a political significance.

Always (among) Sadducees, Josephus pictures Annas as a happy man. Controlled 5 sons in-law. Hanan - the younger. Kitto thinks that Annus was regarded as being the practical high priest jure divino, and having authority in spiritual matters, while Caiphas was the pontiff practically recognized by the government. Caiphus held the office, Annas the power. Gratus was put in his place, first Ismael, son of Phabi, and shortly after Eleazer, son of Annas. From the latter, the office passed to Simon; from Simon to Caiaphas. Annas and Caiphas had no use for Jews who did not swell their coffers, just as the Baptist had no stomach for the Temple hypocrites. Put to death, Annas was deprived of sepulcher.
[291, 309, 324, 330, 12, 380, BD]

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