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.

 

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Temple offerings (Ps 66:13-66:15)

“I will come into your house

With burnt offerings.

I will pay you my vows

That my lips uttered.

My mouth promised

When I was in trouble.

I will offer to you

Burnt offerings of fatlings,

With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”

Selah

Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.