John 2:15
And when he had made a whip 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;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And the sheep, and the oxen.—For this read, both the sheep and the oxen. The change is of only one word, but it gives an entirely different sense. The driving out with the scourge was not of “all (men) and sheep and oxen,” but of “all,” i.e., both sheep and oxen.

John 2:15-17. And when he had made a scourge of small cords Εκσχοινιων, of rushes, rather, which he found strewed on the ground. This circumstance, seemingly slight, was inserted to show that the instrument could not be the cause of so wonderful an effect as is here mentioned. He drove them all out — Namely, out of the court of the temple; both the sheep and the oxen — Though it does not appear that he struck even them, much less any of the men. But a terror from God, it is evident, fell upon them. And poured out the changers’ money — Upon the ground; and overthrew the tables — At which they were sitting. And said to them that sold doves, Take these things hence — Greek, ταυτα, the cages wherein the pigeons were exposed to sale, pointing to them. Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise — Make not the temple, which is dedicated to the worship of God, a place for carrying on low traffic. It is remarkable, that the guilty persons did not offer to make the least resistance; probably, a consciousness of guilt restrained them, or the wonderful things which Jesus had performed at this festival, though not recorded, with the influence of Christ’s miraculous power on their minds, made them afraid to resist him. Nevertheless, in the apprehension of the disciples, he exposed him self to great danger, by turning out a body of factious men, whom the priests and rulers supported. On this occasion, therefore, they called to mind, Psalm 69:10, The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up — Imputing their Master’s action to such a concern for the purity of God’s worship, as the psalmist of old was animated by. The truth is, it certainly was an evidence of a very extraordinary zeal indeed; a zeal nothing inferior to that for which the prophets were famed.2:12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it. He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.A scourge - A whip.

Of small cords - This whip was made as an emblem of authority, and also for the purpose of driving from the temple the cattle which had been brought there for sale. There is no evidence that he used any violence to the men engaged in that unhallowed traffic. The original word implies that these "cords" were made of twisted "rushes" or "reeds" - probably the ancient material for making ropes.

15. small cords—likely some of the rushes spread for bedding, and when twisted used to tie up the cattle there collected. "Not by this slender whip but by divine majesty was the ejection accomplished, the whip being but a sign of the scourge of divine anger" [Grotius].

poured out … overthrew—thus expressing the mingled indignation and authority of the impulse.

It concerns not us to inquire where our Saviour had the small cords, of which he made his whip; there were doubtless cords enough at hand, taken off from beasts brought thither, though he was himself in no Franciscan habit, as the papists idly dream. But herein was the mighty power of God seen, that Christ, a single, private, obscure person, should without any more noise or opposition drive out the multitude of these hucksters, and overturn their tables. Nor I think (after the consideration of this circumstance) need we inquire by what authority he did this? It was prophesied of him, Malachi 3:1, that he should come to his temple; Malachi 3:3, should sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver. Christ here, according to that prophecy, cometh to his temple, and begins to purge it. And when he had made a scourge of small cords,.... That is, Jesus, as the Persic version expresses it. This scourge might be made either of thongs cut out of the hides of beasts slain in sacrifice; or of the cords, with which the owners of the cattle had brought them to this place; or with which they had fastened them in it. And it seems to be made, and used, not so much for force and terror, as to intimate, that these persons, the violators of the holy place, deserved the scourge of divine wrath and punishment; as well as to show the miraculous power of Christ in driving such a number of men before him, with so small and insignificant a weapon; for the phrase is diminutive. The reason given by Dr. Lightfoot, and others, why Christ made use of a whip, or scourge, rather than a staff, is, because it was contrary to a Jewish canon (d) to go into the mountain of the house, or temple, with a staff in the hand; and yet the man of the mountain of the house, or the master of it, who used to go about every ward with torches burning before him, if he found a Levite asleep in his ward (e), struck him with his staff, and had power to burn his clothes.

He drove them all out of the temple; that is, he drove out "the men", as the Persic version reads; the merchants, the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers: "and the sheep, and the oxen" likewise; the Persic version adds, "doves"; but these are after mentioned:

and poured out the changers money; off of the tables, or out of the boxes, or dishes, or drawers, or purses, in which it was put:

and overthrew the tables; at which they sat, and on which they told their money.

(d) Misn. Beracot, c. 9. sect. 5. (e) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 2.

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;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. when he had made a scourge] Peculiar to this account; not in the similar narrative of the Synoptists.

and the sheep, &c.] Rather, both the sheep and the oxen. ‘All’ does not refer to the sellers and exchangers, but anticipates the sheep and the oxen. The men probably fled at once. The order is natural; first the driving out of the cattle, then the pouring out of the money and overturning the tables. The word for ‘money’ literally means ‘something cut up small,’ hence ‘change.’ The common exchange would be foreign money for Jewish, payments to the Temple being necessarily made in Jewish coin.John 2:15. Φραγέλλιον, a scourge) Admirable zeal!—ἐκ σχοινίων) of several cords: for so scourges were formerly made. Moreover there was no material which inflicted less lasting hurt on the body than this. Nor is it said, that He inflicted a single blow upon the men: He accomplished His purpose by the terror [which He inspired].Verse 15. - And when he had made a scourge of small cords (σχοινία of twisted rushes from the scattered fodder or litter of the cattle). This feature of the Lord's action was not repeated at the close of the ministry. Observe that John singles out this punitive element in the first public appearance of the Lord for especial notice, and adds it to the otherwise resistless force which he was accustomed to wield by the glance of his eye or the tones of his voice. The "scourge," as Godet says, is a symbol, not an instrument. It was in Christ's hands a conspicuous method of expressing his indignation, and augmenting the force of his command, by an indication that he meant to be obeyed there and then. He drove them all out of the temple court (ἱερόν); that is, the intrusive sellers of the sacrificial beasts, the herdsmen, and traffickers. Also (τὰ τε) the sheep and the oxen, which moved at once in a vast group, turning, fleeing to the great exits; and he poured out on the ground, and with his own hand, the coins of the exchangers (κολλυβιστῶν), and overthrew the tables. "Christ had," as Hengstenberg says, "a powerful confederate in the consciences of the offenders." The presentiment of coming revolution and overthrow aided the impression produced by that majestic countenance and commanding glance, manner, and voice, that so often made men feel that they were utterly and absolutely in his power (cf. John 18:6, note). A scourge (φραγέλλιον)

Only here in the New Testament. Only John records this detail.

Of small cords (ἐκ σχοινίων)

The Rev. omits small, but the word is a diminutive of σχοῖνος, a rush, and thence a rope of twisted rushes. The A.V. is therefore strictly literal. Herodotus says that when Croesus besieged Ephesus, the Ephesians made an offering of their city to Diana, by stretching a small rope (σχοινίον) from the town wall to the temple of the goddess, a distance of seven furlongs (i., 26). The schoene was an Egyptian measure of length, marked by a rush-rope. See Herodotus, ii. 6. Some find in this the etymology of skein.

Drove out (ἐξέβαλεν)

Literally, as Rev., cast out. See on Matthew 10:34; see on Matthew 12:35; see on Mark 1:12; see on James 2:25.

All

Referring to the animals. The A.V. makes the reference to the traders; but Rev., correctly, "cast all out - both the sheep and the oxen."

Money

See on John 2:14.

Tables

Wyc., turned upside down the boards. See on Luke 19:23.

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