The money changers in the Temple (Mt 21:12-21:12)

“Then Jesus entered

The Temple.

He drove out

All who were selling

And buying

In the Temple.

He overturned

The tables

Of the money-changers.

He overturned

The seats of those

Who sold doves.”

 

Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ ἱερόν καὶ ἐξέβαλεν πάντας τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν κατέστρεψεν καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστεράς,

 

This description of Jesus in the Temple by Matthew, can be found in Mark, chapter 11:15, almost word for word, and Luke, chapter 19:45, with a short summary, as well as John, chapter 2:14-16, with a more elaborate description, but at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.  Matthew described how Jesus entered the Jerusalem Temple (Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  Then Jesus drove out or threw out everyone who was selling, exchanging, or buying animals for the sacrifice offerings in the Temple (καὶ ἐξέβαλεν πάντας τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  John said that he had whips.  He overturned the tables of the money-changers (καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν κατέστρεψεν), who converted foreign coins into the Temple shekels for the Temple offerings.  He also overturned the chairs or the seats of those who were selling doves (καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστεράς) for the Temple sacrifices.  All these people were functionaries of the Temple.  They were trying to help people make the right sacrificial offerings there.  Obviously, they made money from these sales, but this was the normal customary thing in the Temple.  Jesus upset these people with this somewhat violent action.  Up until this point Jesus had been very mild mannered.

 

The nets of the enemy (Hab 1:14-1:17)

“You have made people

Like the fish of the sea,

Like crawling things

That have no ruler.

The enemy brings

All of them up

With a hook.

He drags them out,

With his net.

He gathers them

In his seine.

Thus,

He rejoices.

He exults.

Therefore,

He sacrifices

To his net.

He makes sacrifices

To his seine.

His portion is lavish

By them.

His food is rich.

Is he then to keep on

Emptying his net?

Will he keep destroying nations

Without mercy?”

This enemy would keep devouring the people.  Yahweh has made people like fish in the sea, since they have no ruler, much like crawling things.  Thus, this enemy has a hook with a net.  He has dragged the people out of the sea, as if they were fish in a net.  He has gathered them in his seine, which is a great big net.  Thus, this enemy is happy and exulted about his big catch of humans, much like a proud fisherman.  Then, this enemy would sacrifice offerings to his big nets, because they have contributed to his lavish life style with rich food.  He has become wealthy by catching all these humans in his big fish nets.  Thus, he kept emptying his nets and catching more humans in them.  He continued to destroy nations and countries without any mercy for anyone.  His evil ways just went on and on.

The future of Jerusalem depends on the Sabbath observance (Jer 17:26-17:27)

“The people shall come

From the towns of Judah,

From the places around Jerusalem,

From the land of Benjamin,

From the Shephelah,

From the hill country,

From the Negeb.

They will bring

Burnt offerings,

Sacrifices,

Grain offerings,

Frankincense,

Thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

But if you do not listen to me,

To keep the Sabbath day holy,

To carry no burden

Through the gates of Jerusalem

On the Sabbath day,

Then I will kindle a fire

In its gates.

It shall devour

The palaces of Jerusalem.

It shall not be quenched.’”

Thus the future of Jerusalem rested on whether they observed the Sabbath correctly. Many people would come from the towns in Judah and the places around Jerusalem. However, there would also be people from Benjamin that is just north of Jerusalem, as well as the people from the area around Shephelah, west of Jerusalem, the hill country, north of Jerusalem, and Negeb, the desert area south of Judah. All these people would bring many gifts and sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem. These gifts included the many kinds of sacrifice offerings like the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the thank offerings, with various sacrificial animals and frankincense. The opposite is true if they did not keep the Sabbath, they would suffer destruction. Yahweh was going to start a unstoppable fire that would devour the gates and the palaces of Jerusalem. The choice was theirs, Sabbath observances and good things, or no Sabbath observances and a big fire.