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According to the only account given in the gospels (Matthew 27:62-66), the Jewish chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate on the day after Jesus was placed in the tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea following His death, and requested a guard for Jesus' tomb. Pilate put a guard of Roman soldiers at the disposal of these Jewish authorities, to be placed at the tomb in order to secure it until after the third day (Sunday), based on Jesus' statement as to when He would rise from the dead. (The gospel account says that the chief priests requested the soldiers in order to prevent the disciples from stealing the body of Jesus from the unguarded tomb, and then falsely reporting that He had come back to life.) After Jesus rose from the dead (accompanied by the appearance of an angel who had rendered the guards powerless to intervene -- either because of loss of consciousness or from fear), Matthew 28:11-15 indicates that the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, who paid them a sum of money to say that the disciples had come while the guards had been asleep, and had stolen Jesus' body. They also told the guards that they (the chief priests) would assure that Pilate would not take action against the guards in connection with the incident.
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