Jerusalem in Our Lord’s time, much like Washington in our time, was split between rival political parties. The only thing they could agree on was that Jesus was a threat to their power. So, the party of the Pharisees, of the Chief Priests, of the Sadducees got together, with each making an attempt to trip Jesus into saying something they could use against him in court.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to go back over Jewish History to point out how the various factions found their places on the political scene. It is always easiest to begin with the year 1000 B.C. when David took over Jerusalem, and the country was all behind him.
Trouble began with David seducing Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. After David made his peace with God, and Bathsheba bore him the son Solomon, David promised Bathsheba that Solomon would follow him on the throne.
David went on to have other wives who bore him sons; and one of those, Adonijah, raised a private army, and with David in his dotage, Adonijah began acting like he was king. That sent Bathsheba to David, holding him to his promise of giving the crown to her son. Bestirring himself, David sent the priest Zadoc to crown Solomon king.
When Zadoc brought Solomon to the spring of Gihon to anoint him king, he was certain that Adonijah would immediate kill him for challenging his power, but in obedience to David he risked his life to pour the oil.
Surprisingly, the whole nation arose, shouting, “Long live King Solomon!” The people not only put Adonijah to flight, but they also resolved to reward the bravery of Zadoc by promising that for ever after the oldest son in his family line would be proclaimed High Priest.
From that time, from 967 down to 152 B.C., for over eight hundred years, the High Priest was a direct descendant of Zadoc. Then, in 152 B.C. when Zadoc’s only descendent was an imbecile, the Jewish leaders gave the High Priest title to Jonathan, the surviving brother of their heroic Judas Maccabeus.
That assumption of thr High Priest role by Jonathan gave rise to four parties that lasted through the time of Jesus. The conservative Jews would not accept anyone but a descendent of Zadoc, but they split into the Pharisees, or the separated ones, and the Essenes, who left us the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thirdly, the family and relatives of Jonathan became the Party of the High Priest.
But, the irreligious boyhood chums of Jonathan took over the money-making aspects of the temple, were a separate group They knew that their chum Jonathan was not a blood relative of Zadoc, but since Jonathan, was High Priest, was a descendent of Zadoc as the High Priest, and they were his backers, they could call themselves "Zadocites; and that name got smoothed down to Sadducees. The Sadduccees didn’t share in the belief in hesven,