Luke 3:1-2. Now in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Reckoning from the time when Augustus made him his colleague in the empire: Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea He was made governor in consequence of Archelaus being banished, and his kingdom reduced into a Roman province. See note on Matthew 2:22. And Herod Namely, Herod Antipas; being tetrarch of Galilee The dominions of Herod the Great were, after his death, divided into four parts or tetrarchies: this Herod, his son, reigned over that fourth part of his dominions. His brother Philip reigned over another fourth part, namely, the region of Iturea and that of Trachonitis; (that tract of land on the other side Jordan, which had formerly belonged to the tribe of Manasseh;) and Lysanias, (probably descended from a prince of that name, who was some years before governor of that country,) was tetrarch of Abilene, which was a large city of Syria, whose territories reached to Lebanon and Damascus, and contained great numbers of Jews. Annas and Caiaphas being the high- priests “By the original constitution of the Israelitish state, one only could be high-priest at one time, and the office was for life. But after the nation had fallen under the power of foreigners, great liberties were taken with the sacred office; and high-priests, though still of the pontifical family of Aaron, were put in or out arbitrarily, as suited the humour, the interest, or the political views of their rulers. And though it does not appear that they ever appointed two to officiate jointly in that station, there is some probability that the Romans about this time made the office annual, and that Annas and Caiaphas enjoyed it by turns. See John 11:49; John 18:13; Acts 4:6. If this was the case, which is not unlikely; or if, as some think, the sagan, or deputy, is comprehended under the same title, we cannot justly be surprised that they should be named as colleagues by the evangelist. In any event it may have been usual, through courtesy, to continue to give the title to those who had ever enjoyed that dignity, which, when they had no king, was the greatest in the nation.” Campbell. Thus the time of the public appearance of John the Baptist, the harbinger of the Messiah, is distinctly marked by Luke; for he tells us the year of the Roman emperor in which it happened, and mentions, not only the governor or procurator of Judea, and the high-priest who then officiated, but several contemporary princes who reigned in the neighbouring kingdoms. By his care, in this particular, he has fixed exactly the era of the commencement of the gospel. The word of God came unto John John, the son of Zacharias and forerunner of Jesus, was a priest by descent, and a prophet by office, (Luke 1:76.) He was surnamed the Baptist, from his baptizing his disciples; (see note on Matthew 3:1;) and was foretold anciently under the name of Elijah, because he was to come in the spirit and power of that prophet. From his infancy he dwelt in the wilderness, or hill-country, with his father, till the word of God, by prophetic inspiration, or, as some think, by an audible voice from heaven, such as the prophets of old heard, and which he knew to be God’s by the majesty thereof, came to him Called him forth to enter upon the work to which he was destined before he was conceived in the womb, namely, to prepare the Jews for the reception of the Messiah.
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