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Captain of the Temple

The phrase, captain of the temple, in Gr. NT is στρατηγός του̂ ἱερου̂. This officer, with the priest and the Sadducees, heard the apostles preach and arrested them. In Acts 5:24-26, this man, with the high priest and the chief priests, again listened to the apostles preach, after which he arrested them. Cf. Luke 22:4, 52 for a similar situation, except that the pl., “captains,” is used. See Acts 16:20, in which passage the word magistrates stands for the same Gr. word.

The Talmud provides the most information about the captain of the temple, but it is still scanty. In the Kodashim, Middoth, ch. I, pp. 1-5, this man, “the officer of the temple mount,” is said to be in charge of twenty-four watches, or guard posts, located at important spots about the Temple courtyard. In Tamid, ch. I, pp. 1-12, it is said that this officer, second to the high priest, was in charge of three groups of priests who guarded the Chamber of Abtimas, the Chamber of the Spark, and the Chamber of Fire. In addition he commanded twenty-one groups of Levites who were placed elsewhere, particularly at the five gates.