John 2: 13-16 And the Jew's Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting; and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence, make not my Father's house a house of merchandise.
Joseph Caiaphas had been appointed High Priest under the procuratorship of Valerius Gratus in 18 CE. It is significant to me that he served in this capacity for 18 years until 36 CE. when Pilate himself was recalled, coinciding with the downfall and trial of Sejanus. High Priests came and went like the husbands of some movie stars, rarely serving more than 3 years. Caiaphas had probably worked out a good relationship with Valerius Gratus, Pilates predecessor, who himself served for eleven years in contrast to the normal 3 year terms of service. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that the unprecedented long terms of Gratus, Pilatus and Caiaphas coincide with the career of Lucius Aelias Sejanus. Judea may not have been considered a "plum" appointment because of the harsh surroundings but the opportunity for accumulating fortunes from graft and corruption was high. It is obvious that Caiaphas was "their man" in the Temple with access to the treasury as head of the party of the Sadducees and to all of the ancillary trade and commercial enterprises that surrounded the Temple. There were somewhere between 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims in Jerusalem and surrounding areas for the temple services of Passover, each carrying a purse. Money changing, the selling of sacrificial animals, the money coming to the treasury from Jews all over the Roman world and hundreds of enterprises associated with the Temple were all being siphoned to enrich Sejanus, the prefect and the High Priest and his Sadducee cronies beyond the dreams of avarice. When Jesus entered the Temple early in the year 30 and condemned these practices, overturning money changers tables, it sealed his death warrant. Joseph Caiaphas, as High Priest and head of the collaborating Sadducees, who controlled these commercial enterprises, had a great thing going for himself and his Roman cronies, Gratus and Sejanus in Rome and later Pilatus and Sejanus.