The Jewish high priests (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The high-priest

Was Annas

And Caiaphas.”

 

ἐπὶ ἀρχιερέως Ἄννα καὶ Καϊάφα,

 

Luke further set the historical background, as he indicated that there were two Jewish high priests (ἐπὶ ἀρχιερέως) Annas (Ἄννα) and Caiaphas (καὶ Καϊάφα).  The role of the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem was determined by the Roman authorities.  Annas had been the high priest from 6-15 CE, before he was deposed.  His sons took over, but eventually Caiaphas, his son in law, became the high priest from 18-36 CE, the correct timeframe for the activities of John and Jesus.  Annas had some prestige, connection, or power over Caiaphas as the former high priest and father in law.

Title (Prov 1:1-1:1)

“These are

The proverbs of Solomon,

Son of David,

The King of Israel.”

This introduction title to proverbs was a later addition to the main sections on the Proverbs of Solomon. However, it sets the tone for the whole work which is really poetic wisdom. This opening introduction clearly places Solomon, the Son of David, and King of Israel as the author as indicated in the stories about Solomon in 1 Kings, chapters 1-11. This adds value and prestige to these proverbs.

The actions of Jason, the high priest (2 Macc 4:11-4:17)

“Jason set aside the existing royal concessions to the Jews, secured through John the father of Eupolemus, who went on the mission to establish friendship and alliance with the Romans. Jason destroyed the lawful ways of living. He introduced new customs contrary to the law. He took delight in establishing a gymnasium right under the citadel. He induced the noblest of the young men to wear the Greek hat. There was such an extreme Hellenization. There was an increase in the adoption of foreign ways because of the surpassing wickedness of Jason. He was ungodly and no true high priest. The priests were no longer intent upon their service at the altar. Despising the sanctuary and neglecting the sacrifices, they hurried to take part in the unlawful proceedings in the wrestling arena after the signal for the discus-throwing. They disdained the honors prized by their ancestors. They put the highest value upon Greek forms of prestige. For this reason heavy disaster overtook them. Those whose ways of living they admired and wished to imitate completely became their enemies and punished them. It is no light thing to show irreverence to the divine laws, a fact that later events will make clear.”

Jason set aside the royal concessions of the former King Seleucus IV. This had been part of the mission of John the father of Eupolemu who went to Rome.  Jason introduced new customs, always a dangerous thing to do. He was delighted with the new Greek gymnasium. He had the young men wear the Greek hat, which would be a symbol of the Greek god Hermes, somewhat like a loyalty gang symbol. This Hellenization was bringing in Greek religion and customs. Besides, Jason was not a worthy true high priest. He had a bad influence on the other priests, as they were more interested in sports than their priestly sacrificial duties. They too preferred the Greek ways. However, this biblical author reminds them that things can change quickly. Your friends could become your enemies. Disaster was on the way for those who showed irreverence to the divine laws.