And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you?…
though of considerable antiquity, was not of Mosaic origin, nor was it called by that name until the days of Antipater and Herod. In the time of Christ it was composed of seventy-one members, chosen from —
1. The chief priests and their families, the officiating high priest being president;
2. The elders, including both priests and laymen, and
3. The scribes, professional jurists, or experts in law. The court resembled that of Jehoshaphat's time (2 Chronicles 19:8-11), and possessed the power of judging a tribe, a false prophet, and a chief priest. It was not so much a theological court, to whose jurisdiction belonged all offences against the theocratical principles of the State, as the supreme native tribunal of Judea, to which all matters were referred that could not be dealt with in inferior courts, or that were not reserved by the Procurator. In the exercise of its judicial capacity, therefore (Deuteronomy 18:12), these emissaries were sent to inquire into John's credentials as a prophet.
(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?