John 18:12
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
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(12) Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews.—A stop should be placed after “captain.” The “band and the captain” were the Roman cohort (comp. Note on John 18:3) and their tribune (Chiliarch; comp. Mark 6:21). The “officers of the Jews” were, as before, the Temple servants (see above, John 18:3), and the apparitors of the Sanhedrin.

Took Jesus, and bound him.—Comp. Notes on Matthew 26:50; Matthew 27:2.

John 18:12-13. Then the band, &c. — To whom Jesus, without any opposition, surrendered himself; took and bound him — Foolishly supposing, that he might attempt to make his escape. And led him away to Annas — Annas had been high-priest before his son-in-law Caiaphas. And though he had for some time resigned that office, yet they paid so much regard to his age and experience, that they brought Christ to him first. But we do not read of any thing remarkable which passed at the house of Annas, for which reason his being carried thither is omitted by the other evangelists.

18:1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse was pronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a garden that promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent. Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in our gardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ's sufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? When the people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch.See Matthew 26:50. 12. Then the band … took Jesus—but not till He had made them feel that "no man took His life from Him, but that He laid it down of Himself." As is usual for officers to do with ordinary malefactors which are great criminals; they put no difference between Christ and the most villanous thieves and murderers. There are many conjectures why Christ was first led to Annas, whereas Caiaphas was the high priest that year, not Annas (as the next words tell us); but it is uncertain whether it was because his house was very near, and in the way to Caiaphas’s house, or that he lived in the same house with his son in law; or out of an honour and respect to him, being the high priest’s father, or to please the old man’s peevish eyes with such a sight, or by this means to draw Annas to the trial of Christ, or because he had had a more than ordinary hand about the apprehending him, or to take direction from him what to do: we cannot give a certain account why they used this method; we are only certain they did it, and that they did not carry him before him as high priest; for the next words tell us ...( see John 18:13).

Which Judas received, and which came along with him, John 18:3. When Jesus had rebuked Peter, and healed the servant's ear, and showed such a willingness to surrender himself to them;

they took Jesus and bound him. This they did, partly for safety and security, he having several times escaped from them; and partly for contempt, and by way of reproach, using him as they would do the vilest of malefactors: and this was submitted to by Christ, that his people might be loosed from the cords of sin, be delivered from the captivity of Satan, and be freed from the bondage of the law; hereby the types of him were fulfilled, as the binding of Isaac, when his father was going to offer him up, and the binding of the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar: who that has read the ceremonies of the sheaf of the firstfruits, but must call them to mind, upon reading this account of the apprehension and binding of Christ, and leading him to the high priest? This sheaf was fetched from places the nearest to Jerusalem, particularly from the fields of Kidron: the manner was this (i):

"the messengers of the sanhedrim went out (from Jerusalem) on the evening of the feast day (the sixteenth of Nisan, and over the brook Kidron to the adjacent fields), and bound the standing corn in bundles, that it might be the easier reaped; and all the neighbouring cities gathered together there, that it might be reaped in great pomp; and when it was dark, one (of the reapers) says to them, is the sun set? they say, yes; and again, is the sun set? they say, yes: with this sickle (shall I reap?) they say, yes; again, with this sickle (shall I reap?) they say, yes; in this basket (shall I put it?) they say, yes; again, in this basket (shall I put it?) they say, yes; if on the sabbath day he says to them, is this sabbath day? they say, yes; again, is this sabbath day? they say, yes; (it was sabbath day this year;) Shall I reap? they say to him reap, shall I reap? they say to him reap; three times upon everything; then they reap it, and put it into the baskets, and, bring it to the court, where they dry it at the fire.''

Whoever reads this, will easily observe a likeness: the messengers of the great sanhedrim go to the fields of Kidron, in the evening, with their sickles and baskets; bind the standing corn; questions and answers pass between them and the people before they reap; and when they have done, they bring the sheaf in their basket to the court, to be dried at the fire. So the officers of the high priest, with others, pass over the brook Kidron, with lanterns, torches, and weapons; in the night go into a garden; there apprehend Jesus; questions and answers pass between them there; then they lay hold on him, bind him, and bring him to the high, priest.

(i) Misn. Menachot, c. 10. sect. 2, 3, 4.

Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
John 18:12-14. Οὖν] Since no further attempt at resistance dared be made. In the complete statement: the cohort and the tribune (ὁ χιλίαρχος τῆς σπείρης, Acts 21:31), and the servants, any special design (Luthardt: the previous occurrence, John 18:6, had for its result that now all helped, in order to secure Him) is not to be supposed, since ἡ σπείρα, κ.τ.λ., is the subject not merely of συνέλαβον and ἔδησαν, but also of ἀπήγαγον. Tholuck’s remark, however, is erroneous: that the soldiers had now first again (?) united with the Jewish watch.

συνέλαβον, κ.τ.λ.] A non-essential variation from Matthew 26:50, where the capture takes place before the attempt at defence made on Peter’s part. For ἔδησαν, see on Matthew 27:2.

On Annas, see on Luke 3:1-2. To him, which circumstance the Synoptics pass over, Jesus was at first (πρῶτον) brought, before He was conducted to the actual high priest, Caiaphas (John 18:24). An extrajudicial preliminary examination had first to be gone through. And Annas had been selected for this purpose because he was father-in-law of the actual high priest (ἦν γὰρ πενθερὸς, κ.τ.λ.); thus they believed it to be most certain that he would act beforehand[209] for his son-in-law, who then had to conduct the proper judicial process in the Sanhedrin, with sufficient care for the object in view. Ewald’s assumption (Gesch. Chr. p. 562), that Annas was at that time invested with the office of superior judicial examiner (דִּין אבי בית), does not correspond to the fundamental statement of John, which merely adduces the relation of father-in-law; and therefore, also, we are not to say with Wieseler and others (see also Lichtenstein, p. 418 f.), that Annas was president, Caiaphas vice-president of the Sanhedrin; or that the former still passed as the proper and legitimate high priest (Lange); or even that John conceived of an annual exchange of office between Annas and Caiaphas (Scholten; comp. on John 11:49). Quite arbitrarily, further, do others suppose: the house of Annas lay near to the gate (Augustine, Grotius, and many), or: Jesus was led, as in triumph, first to Annas (Chrysostom, Theophylact, and several others).

John 18:14 points back to John 11:50, on account of the prophetic nature of the saying, which had now come so near its fulfilment. Hence also the significant τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου is repeated.

[209] Comp. Steinmeyer, Leidensgesch. p. 115 f.

John 18:12. Ἡ οὖν σπεῖρααὐτόν. The Roman soldiers, ἡ σπεῖρα, under the orders of their Chiliarch (Tribune, Colonel), abetted the officers of the Sanhedrim, ὑπηρέται τῶν Ἰουδαίων, in the apprehension of Jesus. As a matter of course and following the universal practice ἔδησαν αὐτόν, “they bound Him,” with His hands shackled behind His back.

12–27. The Jewish or Ecclesiastical Trial

12. Then the band, and the captain] Therefore (John 18:3) the band &c., because of this violent attempt at resistance. The captain or chiliarch is the tribune or chief officer of the Roman cohort. The representations of the hierarchy to the Romans are confirmed by S. Peter’s act: Jesus the Nazarene is a dangerous character who stirs up His followers to rebellion; He must be properly secured and bound. Perhaps also their falling to the ground on meeting Him impressed them with the, necessity of using the utmost caution, as with a powerful magician. The whole force is required to secure Him.

Verses 12-27. -

(2) The preliminary examination before Annas, interwoven with the weakness and treachery of Peter. This passage describes the first steps taken by the enemies of our Lord to conduct the examination which was to issue in a judicial murder, and therefore to provide the basis on which the charge might be laid before Pilate and that Roman court, which alone could carry into execution the malicious conclusion on which they had already resolved. Moreover, tiffs passage is interwoven with the melancholy record of the fall of Peter. There are grave difficulties in the passage, which have led to harsh judgment on the narrative itself and on its general truthful ness. Keim almost angrily dismisses it, and Strauss endeavors to show that it is incompatible with the synoptic narrative; while Renan, on the other hand, sees in it numerous lifelike touches and great circumstantial value. The prima facie objection is that John describes a preliminary examination before Annas, whom he confounds with the high priest, and says nothing of the judicial trial before the Sanhedrin under the presidency of Caiaphas. Baur and Strauss supposed that the author did this in order to exaggerate the guilt of the Jews by doubling their unbelief, and aggravating their offence by making two high priests rather than one condemn their Messiah. In reply to this we have simply to say that John, though he shows the animus of both these notorious men, does not mention the judicial condemnation pronounced by either (see Weiss, 3:334, Eng. trans.). The omission of the sublime answer of our Lord to the challenge of Caiaphas and others (Matthew 26:62, etc.; Luke 22:67, etc.; Mark 14:68, 70) is surely profoundly contradictory to the supposed theological purpose of the writer; and we can only account for its omission on the ground that the synoptic tradition had made it widely known, and that that tradition still needed correction by the record of important supplementary matter. Some harmonists have endeavored to transpose Ver. 24 into close proximity with Ver. 13, or to give, as the Authorized Version does, a pluperfect meaning to ἀπέστειλε of Ver. 24, the effect of which is to make the two examinations virtually one, but one from which John leaves out the most striking features. This is supposed to be necessitated by the Vers. 19-23, where the "high priest" is said to have interrogated Jesus. Moreover, the supposition of there being a considerable space in the city between the house of Annas and the palace of the high priest Caiaphas renders the harmony of the narratives touching the denials of Peter inextricably confused, seeing that, according to the synoptic narrative, they occurred in the court of Caiaphas, while in John they apparently were made in the court of Annas. This difficulty is entirely met by the natural suppositions arising out of the relations of these two men. Annas (Hanan, Ananias, Ananus) was a man of great capacity and exclusiveness, charged with fiery passions and bitter hatred of the Pharisaic party. He was appointed high priest in A.D. , by Quirinus, Governor of Syria; in A.D. he was compelled to retire in favor of his son Ishmael. After him followed Eleazar, and in A.D. Joseph Caiaphas, his son-in-law, was appointed, and this man held the office till A.D. . Three other sons of Annas held the like position, and it was during the high priesthood of one bearing his father's name (Ananus) that James the Just was cruelly murdered (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 20:08. 1). The influence of the old priest throughout the entire period covered by New Testament narrative was very great. Luke (Luke 3:2) speaks of Annas and Caiaphas as high priests, and Annas is again in Acts 4:6 spoken of as high priest. John never speaks of him as "high priest," unless he must be held to do so in this passage. Our most thoughtful commentators differ on the point whether John does not so designate him (Ver. 19), adopting the well-known usage of Luke, which gave him the title of high priest. The evangelic narrative reveals, however, quite enough to explain that he may have been at the heart of the antagonism to Jesus, have aided Caiaphas with his suggestions, and consented to conduct a preliminary midnight investigation which would give at least a semblance of legal sanction to the condemnation, which, between them, they would be able to secure as soon as the day dawned. In tract 'Sanhedrin,' Mishna, John 4:1 and John 5:5, we learn that, though an acquittal of a prisoner or accused person might be pronounced on the day of trial, yet a capital sentence must be delayed till the following day. As this trial must be brought at once to a termination, such an investigation as that which John describes would furnish the necessary validity. Moreover, some hours must have elapsed before the Sanhedrim under the legal superintendence of Caiaphas, could have assembled. Now, the domestic relation of Annas and Caiaphas would make it highly probable that the hall of the Sanhedrin and the house of Annas were on different sides of the same great court of the palace, and that one court, αὐλή, sufficed for both. With these preliminaries, let us proceed with the narrative as given by John. The frivolous supposition of Thoma, that the author of this Gospel was playing upon the idea of the beast (Judas) and the false prophet, and on the five brothers of the rich man of Luke's parable, is allowed to disfigure this writer's treatment of the introduction of the part taken by Hanan, or Annas, in the Passion-tragedy. Verses 12-14. - Οϋν, Therefore - i.e. since no further resistance was made by Jesus - the band (or cohort), which here takes the lead, and the captain of it, and the officers of the Jews in association with each other, took Jesus, and bound him, as sign that he was their prisoner, and to prevent escape until he should be in safe keeping. It is probable that the binding process was repeated by Annas and again by Caiaphas (Ver. 24 and Matthew 27:2), implying that during judicial examination the cordage was taken off, and reimposed when the accused was sent from one court to another; or else that additional bonds were placed upon him, for the sake either of greater security or of inflicting indignity. Christ, by accepting the indignity publicly, yielded his holy will, confessing the supreme ordinance of the Father as to the method in which he would now glorify him. And they led (him) to Annas first. The mention of the word "first" shows that John discriminated between the two legal processes, the first being a preliminary examination of the accused, with the view of extracting from him some matter which should furnish the priests with definite charges, and to make a show of partial conformity with the customs of their own jurisprudence. He was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that same year. John's reiteration of this statement (see John 11:49 and note) shows that he was in no ignorance of the custom and principle of high-priestly succession, which the Romans had treated so arbitrarily. "That same year" was the awful year in which the Christ was sacrificed to the willful ignorance, malice, and unbelief of the Jews. Now Caiaphas was he who counseled the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people (see John 11:50, 51); and while John leaves no doubt who is the virtual high priest, he calls attention to the fact that Jesus had no justice or mercy to expect from the decision of his judge, and also reminds his readers once more of the significance of every step in this tragedy. John 18:12The captain (χιλίαρχος)

See on Mark 6:21, and see on centurion, Luke 7:2.

Took (συνέλαβον)

Rev., better, seized. It is the technical word for arresting. Literally, took with them, of which there is a suggestion in the modern policeman's phrase, go along with me. Compare Luke 22:54.

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