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Bible Lexicons

Old & New Testament Greek Lexical DictionaryGreek Lexicon

Strong's #749 - ἀρχιερεύς

Root Word (Etymology)
from (G746) and (G2409)
Parts of Speech
masculine noun
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  1. chief priest, high priest
Hebrew Equivalent Words:
Strong #: 3547 ‑ כָּהַן (kaw‑han');  
Frequency Lists
Verse Results
KJV (123)
Matthew 25
Mark 22
Luke 16
John 21
Acts 22
Hebrews 17
NAS (244)
Matthew 50
Mark 44
Luke 30
John 42
Acts 44
Hebrews 34
CSB (122)
Matthew 25
Mark 22
Luke 15
John 21
Acts 22
Hebrews 17
BSB (122)
Matthew 25
Mark 22
Luke 15
John 21
Acts 22
Hebrews 17
ESV (114)
Matthew 22
Mark 22
Luke 14
John 18
Acts 21
Hebrews 17
WEB (123)
Matthew 25
Mark 22
Luke 16
John 21
Acts 22
Hebrews 17
Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

ἀρχῐερ-εύς, έως, ὁ: Ion. ἀρχῐέρεως, εω, Hdt. 2.37, also in Pl. Lg. 947a: acc. pl. ἀρχιρέας v.l. in Hdt. 2.142:

arch-priest, chief-priest, ll. cc., freq. in Inscrr., νήσου OGI 93.3 (Cyprus), etc.: esp. in Roman provinces, of the Imperial cult, ἀ. Ἀσίας ib. 458.31, etc., cf. PRyl. 149.2 (i A. D.), etc.: at Rome, = pontifex, Plu. Numbers 9:1-23, etc.; ἀ. μέγιστος, = pontifex maximus, SIG 832, etc. (but ἀρχιερεύς alone, IG 7.2711, etc.): at Jerusalem, high-priest, LXX Leviticus 4:3, Matthew 26:3, etc. (Spelt ἀρχι-ιερεύς IGRom. 4.882 (Themisonium)).

Thayer's Expanded Definition

ἀρχιερεύς, ἀρχιερέως, , chief priest, high priest.

1. He who above all others was honored with the title of priest, the chief of the priests, הַגָדול כֹּהֵן (Leviticus 21:10; Numbers 35:25 (later הָרֹאשׁ כֹּהֵן, 2 Kings 25:18; 2 Chronicles 19:11, etc.)): Matthew 26:3, and often in the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistle to the Heb. It was lawful for him to perform the common duties of the priesthood; but his chief duty was, once a year on the day of atonement, to enter the Holy of holies (from which the other priests were excluded) and offer sacrifice for his own sins and the sins of the people (Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9:7, 25), and to preside over the Sanhedrin, or supreme Council, when convened for judicial deliberations (Matthew 26:3; Acts 22:5; Acts 23:2). According to the Mosaic law no one could aspire to the high priesthood unless he were of the tribe of Aaron, and descended moreover from a high priestly family; and he on whom the office was conferred held it till death. But from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, when the kings of the Seleucidae and afterward the Herodian princes and the Romans arrogated to themselves the power of appointing the high priests, the office neither remained vested in the pontifical family nor was conferred on anyone for life; but it became venal, and could be transferred from one to another according to the will of civil or military rulers. Hence, it came to pass, that during the one hundred and seven years intervening between Herod the Great and the destruction of the holy city, twenty-eight persons held the pontifical dignity (Josephus, Antiquities 20, 10; see Αννας). Cf. Winers RWB under the word Hoherpriester; Oehler in Herzog vi., pp. 198ff; (BB. DD., see under the words, High Priest, Priest, etc. The names of the 28 (27?) above alluded to are given, together with a brief notice of each, in an article by Schürer in the Studien und Kritiken for 1872, pp. 597-607).

2. The plural ἀρχιερεῖς, which occurs often in the Gospels and Acts, as Matthew 2:4; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:3; Matthew 27:41; Mark 8:31; Mark 14:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 19:47; Luke 22:52, 66; Luke 23:4; Luke 24:20; John 7:32; John 11:57; John 18:35; Acts 4:23; Acts 5:24; Acts 9:14, 21; Acts 22:30; Acts 23:14, etc., and in Josephus, comprises, in addition to the one actually holding the high priestly office, both those who had previously discharged it and although deposed continued to have great power in the State (Josephus, Vita38; b. j. 2, 12, 6; 4, 3, 7; 9; 4, 4, 3; see Αννας above), as well as the members of the families from which high priests were created, provided they had much influence in public affairs (Josephus, b. j. 6, 2, 2). See on this point the learned discussion by Schürer, Die ἀρχιερεῖς im N. T, in the Studien und Kritiken for 1872, p. 593ff and in his Neutest. Zeitgesch. § 23 iii., p. 407ff (Prof. Schürer, besides reviewing the opinions of the more recent writers, contends that in no instance where indubitable reference to the heads of the twenty-four classes is made (neither in the Sept. 1 Chronicles 24:3; 2 Chronicles 36:14; Ezra 10:5; Nehemiah 12:7; nor in Josephus, Antiquities 7, 14, 7) are they called ἀρχιερεῖς; that the nearest approximations to this term are periphrases such as ἄρχοντες τῶν ἱερέων, Nehemiah 12:7, or φυλαρχοι τῶν ἱερέων, Esra apocr. (1 Esdr.) (94); Josephus, Antiquities 11, 5, 4; and that the word ἀρχιερεῖς was restricted in its application to those who actually held, or had held, the high priestly office, together with the members of the few prominent families from which the high priests still continued to be selected, cf. Acts 4:6; Josephus, b. j. 4, 3, 6.)

3. In the Epistle to the Hebrews Christ is called 'high priest,' because by undergoing a bloody death he offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice to God, and has entered the heavenly sanctuary where he continually intercedes on our behalf: ; cf. Winzer, De sacerdotis officio, quod Christo tribuitur in the Epistle to the Hebrews (three Programs), Leips. 1825f; Riehm, Lehrbegriff des Hebräerbriefes, ii., pp. 431-488. In Greek writings the word is used by Herodotus 2 ((37), 142) 143 and 151; Plato, legg. 12, p. 947 a.; Polybius 23, 1, 2; 32, 22, 5; Plutarch, Numa c. 9, others; (often in Inscriptions); once (viz., Leviticus 4:3) in the Sept., where ἱερεύς μέγας is usual, in the O. T. Apocrypha, 1 Esdr. 5:40 1 Esdr. 9:40, and often in the books of Maccabees.

Thayer's Expanded Greek Definition, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights rserved. Used by permission. BibleSoft.com
Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament

ἀρχ -ιερεύς , -έως , ,

[in LXX for H3547, H1419 כּ֞ , H7218 כּ֞ ;]

1. high-priest: Mark 2:26; Mark 14:47, al.; of Christ: Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1, al.

2. In pl., chief priests, including ex-high-priests and members of high-priestly
Matthew 2:4, Mark 8:31, al. (Cremer, 294; DCG, i, 297 f.; MM, s.v.).

Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament.
Copyright © 1922 by G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L.. T & T Clarke, London.
Vocabulary of the Greek NT

P Leid G.4 (end of ii/B.C.) τοῖς ἐπιστάταις τῶν ἱερ [ ]ν καὶ ἀρχιερεῦσι seems to define the term in Egypt, but it had also more special use. P Tebt II. 315.31 (ii/A.D.) τὸν ἀπιθοῦντα μετὰ φρουρᾶς τῷ ἀρχιερῖ πέμπιν is indeterminate. But in ib. 294.2, according to Wilcken and the editors, the same official, known as ἀρχιερεὺς Ἀλεξανδρείας καὶ Αἰγύπτου πάσης, is addressed as idiologus, ";administrator of the Private accounts"; (Edd.). Preisigke 305.9 has υἱοῦ Τρήσεως ἀρχιερέως (A.D. 210), in a dedication. Michel 1231 (early i/B.C.) Ἀρχιερεὺς μέ [γ ]ας rededicates to Ζεὺς Ὄλβιος (of Olba in Cilicia) buildings once constructed by Seleucus Nicator : we are reminded of the phrase in Hebrews 4:14.

Ἀρχιερεύς and ἀρχιερεὺς μέγιστος were the regular terms in the East for translating the title pontifex maximus, borne by the Emperors : see LAE, p. 369 f., where Deissmann refers to the evidence from the inscriptions collected by Magie, p. 64. A word common in classical and later literature, though only once in the Gk OT, apart from Apocr. (esp. Macc), needs no further illustration. But we may note the form with γ in P Hib I. 62.8 (B.C. 245) τῷ ἀρχιγερεῖ ἐν Θώλτει (see the editors’ note), and the unelided ἀρχιιερεύς in P Petr III. 53 (p).2 (iii/B.C.).


The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.
Copyright © 1914, 1929, 1930 by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Derivative Copyright © 2015 by Allan Loder.
List of Word Forms
αρχειρείς αρχιερεα αρχιερέα ἀρχιερέα αρχιερει αρχιερεί ἀρχιερεῖ αρχιερεις αρχιερείς ἀρχιερεῖς αρχιερευς αρχιερεύς ἀρχιερεύς ἀρχιερεὺς αρχιερεύσι αρχιερευσιν αρχιερεύσιν ἀρχιερεῦσιν αρχιερεων αρχιερέων ἀρχιερέων ἀῥχιερέων αρχιερεως αρχιερέως ἀρχιερέως αρχιεταίρος αρχιευνούχον αρχιευνούχος αρχιευνούχου αρχιευνούχω αρχιμάγειρον αρχιμάγειρος αρχιμαγείρου αρχιμαγείρω αρχιοινοχοϊαν αρχιοινοχόον αρχιοινοχόος αρχιοινοχόου αρχιοινοχόω αρχιπατριώται ἱερεῖς archierea archieréa archierei archiereî archiereis archiereîs archiereon archiereōn archieréon archieréōn archiereos archiereōs archieréos archieréōs archiereus archiereús archiereùs archiereusin archiereûsin arhchiereon arhchiereōn arhchieréon arhchieréōn hiereis hiereîs iereis
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