Annas was appointed High Priest in AD 6 by the Roman legate
Quiriniusjust after the Romans had deposed Archelaus, Ethnarch of Judaea, thereby putting Judaea directly under Roman rule as part of Iudaea Province. Annas served in the office for ten years, until the procurator Gratus dismissed him in AD 15.
After that, Annas saw several members of his family succeed him as High Priests:
Eleazar ben Ananus(16–17)
*Joseph Caiaphas (18–36), who had married the daughter of Annas (John 18:13)
Jonathan ben Ananus(36–37 and 44)
Theophilus ben Ananus(37–41)
Matthias ben Ananus(43)
Ananus ben Ananus(63)
Josephus comments on this situation:
:"It is said that the elder Ananus was extremely fortunate. For he had five sons, all of whom, after he himself had previously enjoyed the office for a very long period, became high priests of God - a thing that had never happened to any other of our high priests." (Jewish Antiquities XX, 9.1)
References in the Mosaic Law to "the death of the high priest" (Num 35:25, 28) suggest that the high-priesthood was ordinarily held for life. Perhaps for this reason, Annas was still called "high priest" even after his dismissal, along with
Caiaphas(Luke 3:2). He also may have been acting as president of the Sanhedrin, or a coadjutor of the high priest.
According to the
Gospel of John(the event is not mentioned in other accounts), Jesuswas first brought before Jonathan Ananus, and after a brief questioning of him (John 18:19-23) was sent to Caiaphas, where some members of the Sanhedrin had met, and the first trial of Jesus took place (Matt. 26:57-68).
* [http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1554&letter=A&search=Annas Jewish Encyclopedia: Annas]
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