The Sect of the Sadducees

Acts 5:12-16 Solomon's Porch

Acts 5:17-23 Sadducees

Acts 5:24-28 Chief Priests
ACTS 5:17-18  17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.

Who laid their hands on the apostles and put them in prison?
"The high priest" (Acts 5:17) and the other members of "the sect of the Sadducees" (Acts 5:17) who were with him.

Who were the Sadducees?
The Sadducees were a major religious sect in Israel. The chief priests were Sadducees, as were many of the other members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. Sadducees had wealth, political power, and collaborated with the Romans to retain their wealth and political power. And unlike the sect of the Pharisees, the Sadducees only believed in the first five books of the Old Testament.

Why were the high priest and the other Sadducees "filled with indignation" (Acts 5:17)?
The Sadducees didn't believe in life after death and couldn't take the apostles preaching about the resurrection of Jesus, whom they had manipulated Pilate to crucify (see Praetorium). The Sadducees also couldn't have been happy about the fact that "a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem" (Acts 5:16), not to come to them but to seek after the apostles.

If the high priest and his fellow Sadducees were so upset, why did they put the apostles in prison overnight instead of trying them right away?
They wanted to gather the full Sanhedrin, including their rival sect of the Pharisees, and hold an official court.

ACTS 5:19-20  19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Did the angel open the prison doors to let the apostles escape?
Instead of escaping, they were told by the angel of the Lord to go and preach "in the temple" rather than just outside of it as they had been preaching thus far. The Lord was going to have the apostles confront the Sanhedrin and was setting the stage with a demonstration of His power, which will be appreciated by at least one alert member of the Sanhedrin, as we will soon read about.

ACTS 5:21-23  21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”

Who were the "officers" (Acts 5:22)?
The leaders of the Jewish temple guards

When did they and the prison guards realize that the apostles were gone?
When they opened the prison "doors" (Acts 5:23) to fetch them.

How could the "guards standing outside before the doors" (Acts 5:23) have seen neither the angel open the doors nor the apostles leave?
The angel had blinded their eyes to what he did. And if the guards were standing literally "before the doors," the apostles may have walked right through them as enabled by the angel.