“Now theses priests
Had been sent
By the Pharisees.”
Καὶ ἀπεσταλμένοι ἦσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων.
John then introduced the Pharisees. He said that these priests and Levites, who were questioning John the Baptist, had been sent (Καὶ ἀπεσταλμένοι ἦσαν) by the Pharisees (ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων). These Pharisees were influential spiritual and political leaders of a Jewish renewal movement, who followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions. Thus, these Pharisees might be considered the proto-Rabbis that flourished after the destruction of the Temple in 60 CE. There may have been about 6,000 Pharisees at the time of Jesus, as they were the continuing debating partners of Jesus, especially in Luke. However, they did not seem to be involved in the death of Jesus, that was more the concern of the priests and leaders in Jerusalem. Have you ever wondered about the Pharisees?