on Luke 22 :4
And captains - Among the priests who were in waiting at the temple, some were appointed φυλακες, for a guard to the temple; and over these were Ϛρατηγοι commanding officers: both sorts are mentioned by Josephus, War, b. vi. c. 5. s. 3. Bp. Pearce, See another sense of captains, in the note on Matthew 27:65 (note). Dr. Lightfoot supposes these to have been the captains over the watches; for in three places the priests kept watch and ward in the temple, viz. in Beth Abtenes, in Beth Nitsots, and in Beth Mokad. The Levites also in twenty-one places more, Middoth, chap. i. Though these watches consisted of several persons in each, there was one set over them, as the captain or head of that watch. He thinks that Matthew, Matthew 27:65, refers to one of these: Ye have a watch of your own; let some of them be sent to guard the sepulchre. The captain of the temple, he supposes to have been the chief or head of all these watches; and thus he was captain of the captains. In the same Talmudical tract it is said, The ruler of the mountain of the temple (i.e. captain of the temple) takes his walks through every watch with torches lighted before him: if he found any upon the watch, that was not standing on his feet, he said, Peace be with thee: but if he found him sleeping, he struck him with a stick, and he might also burn his clothes. And when it was said by others, What noise is that in the court? the answer was, It is the noise of a Levite under correction, whose garments they are burning, because he slept upon his watch. This custom casts light on Revelation 16:15 : Behold, I come as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. It is easy to distinguish this captain of the mountain of the temple from the ruler of the temple, or sagan: the former presided over the guards; the latter over the whole service of the temple. We have them both distinguished, Acts 4:1 : there is the captain of the temple; and Annas, who was the sagan. See Lightfoot.
on Luke 22 :4
Chief priests and captains - See the notes at Matthew 26:14. See the account of the bargain which Judas made with them explained in the Matthew 26:14-16 notes, and Mark 14:10-11 notes.
Absence of the multitude - The multitude, "the people," were then favorable to Jesus. He had preached in the temple, and many of them believed that he was the Messiah. It was a hazardous thing, therefore, to take him by force, and in their presence, as they might rise and rescue him. Hence, they sought to take him when "he" was away from the multitude; and as Judas knew of a place where he could be found "alone," they were glad of the opportunity of so easily securing him.
on Luke 22 :4
22:4 Captains - Called captains of the temple, Lu 22:52. They were Jewish officers, who presided over the guards which kept watch every night in the temple.