Matthew 26:65, The High Priest Rends His Clothes
Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses?
//In the interrogation of Jesus, Caiaphas, the high priest, grows frustrated with Jesus’ refusal to answer his inquiries. When Jesus finally claims that Caiaphas will see him “sitting on the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven,” Caiaphas rends his clothes in shock and dismay.
Here’s the interesting question: what was Caiaphas wearing? Were they his ceremonial garments? The high priest wore a sleeveless, purple robe hemmed with blue, purple and scarlet tassels shaped like pomegranates alternating with small bells. Only the high priest could don this robe, and only for very special occasions … like Passover Week. At the time of Jesus, this special robe was stored in the Antonia fortress next to the Temple, under Roman lock and key, allowed out only for the ritual celebrations.
Adding to the debate is the word that Matthew uses to refer to the garment: himation, rather than the Gospel of Mark’s more common term chiton. This switch in wording may be meant to refer directly to the ceremonial robe, which would mean that Caiaphas deliberately broke the law forbidding the tearing of holy garments. Presumably, in Matthew’s telling, this act foreshadows the destruction of the Temple 40 years later and the end of the priesthood ceremonies.