Among the Jewish religious leaders who had the apostles Peter and John arrested while they were preaching was “the captain of the temple.” (Acts 4:1-3) The Bible gives no description of the temple captain’s responsibilities, but some historical sources provide interesting background.
It seems that by the time of Jesus, that official position was held by a priest who was second in authority to the high priest. The temple captain maintained order in and around the temple in Jerusalem.
He supervised temple worship as well as what may be called a temple police force. Subordinate captains under his command oversaw the watchmen who opened the temple gates in the morning and closed them at night, ensured that no one entered restricted areas, and guarded the temple treasury.
The priests and Levites who worked at the temple were organized into 24 divisions, each of which served for one week at a time in rotation, twice a year. Each division likely had its own captain.—1 Chronicles 24:1-18.
These temple captains were men of influence. They are mentioned along with the chief priests who conspired to have Jesus put to death, and they also employed the forces under their command to have Jesus arrested.—Luke 22:4, 52.