Mark 11:15
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
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(15-19) And Jesus went into the temple.—See Notes on Matthew 21:12-17.

Mark 11:15-17. And they come to Jerusalem — Jesus, having doomed the fig-tree to destruction, continued his journey to the city, where, when he arrived, he went straightway to the temple, and drove the buyers and sellers out of it, &c., and would not suffer any vessel to be carried through the sacred edifice. See the note on Matthew 21:12-14. Such strong notions had our Lord of even relative holiness, and of the regard due to those places, as well as times, that are peculiarly dedicated to God. The Jews, it must be observed, reckoning the lower and outward court of the temple a place of little or no sanctity, because it was designed for accommodating the Gentile proselytes in their worship, not only kept a daily market there of such things as were necessary in offering sacrifices, but suffered the common porters, in going from one part of the city to another with their burdens, to pass through it, for the sake of shortening their way. But as these abuses occasioned great disturbance to the proselytes, Jesus reformed them again as he had done three years before, (see John 2:14,) telling the people around him, that the Gentiles worshipped there by divine appointment, as well as the Jews, the temple being ordained of God to be the house of prayer for all nations; and to prove this, he cited Isaiah 56:7, from which the inference was plain, that they were guilty of a gross profanation of the temple who carried on any traffic, even in the court of the Gentiles, much more they who, to make gain, committed frauds and extortions in the prosecution of their traffic, because thus they turned God’s house of prayer into a den of thieves. The offenders, it appears, did not make the least resistance. Probably they were struck with a panic by the secret energy of Christ’s omnipotence, as was the case formerly, when he made the like reformation at the first passover after his ministry commenced. To this purpose, Jerome, on the place, says, “Igneum enim quiddam, atque sidereum, radiebat ex oculis ejus, et divinitatis majestas lucebat in facie.” For, a certain fiery and sparkling radiance issued from his eyes, and a divine majesty shone in his face.

Dr. Campbell justly notices here an inaccuracy in our translation of the original clause, which is rendered, shall be called of all nations the house of prayer, as if the last words had been, υπο παντων των εθνων, of all nations, whereas they are, πασι τοις εθνεσιν, for all nations. “The court of the Gentiles was particularly destined for the devout of all nations, who acknowledged the true God, though they had not subjected themselves to the Mosaic law, and were accounted aliens. The proselytes, who had received circumcision, and were, by consequence, subject to the law, were on the same footing with native Jews, and had access to the court of the people. Justly, therefore, was the temple styled, A house of prayer for all nations. The error in the common version is here the more extraordinary, as, in their translation of Isaiah, they render the passage quoted, for all people.”

11:12-18 Christ looked to find some fruit, for the time of gathering figs, though it was near, was not yet come; but he found none. He made this fig-tree an example, not to the trees, but to the men of that generation. It was a figure of the doom upon the Jewish church, to which he came seeking fruit, but found none. Christ went to the temple, and began to reform the abuses in its courts, to show that when the Redeemer came to Zion, it was to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The scribes and the chief priests sought, not how they might make their peace with him, but how they might destroy him. A desperate attempt, which they could not but fear was fighting against God.See the notes at Matthew 21:12-22.14. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever—That word did not make the tree barren, but sealed it up in its own barrenness. See on [1477]Mt 13:13-15.

And his disciples heard it—and marked the saying. This is introduced as a connecting link, to explain what was afterwards to be said on the subject, as the narrative has to proceed to the other transactions of this day.

Second Cleansing of the Temple (Mr 11:15-18).

For the exposition of this portion, see on [1478]Lu 19:45-48.

Lessons from the Cursing of the Fig Tree (Mr 11:20-26).

See Poole on "Mark 11:11"

And they came to Jerusalem,.... The Ethiopic version reads, "he came"; that is, Christ; but not alone, for his disciples were with him: Beza says, that, one exemplar he had met with, adds "again", and so one of Stephens's copies; for they had been there the day before:

and Jesus went into the temple: the Syriac and Persic versions add, "of God"; into the court of the Gentiles, as he did the preceding day:

and began to cast out them that bought and sold in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves; which was done, as Matthew relates, the same day that he made his public entry into Jerusalem: wherefore it is highly probable, that upon Christ's leaving the city, they returned "again", and were the next morning sitting and doing business in the temple as before; and were drove out again by Christ, who, upon his return, found them there. They "that bought and sold in the temple", were those that bought and sold lambs for the passover, which was now at hand; and the sheep and oxen for the "Chagiga", or feast the day following; as well as doves hereafter mentioned, for new mothers, and such as had fluxes: and that part of the temple where this business was carried on, was in a large space within the area of the temple, where shops were built for that purpose: and by "the money changers", whose "tables" are said to be "overthrown", are meant, such as sat at tables to receive the half shekel, who changed those that brought whole shekels, or foreign money: and who had so much for changing, which was called "Kolbon"; from whence they had the name of "Collybistae", in the text: and "doves", as before observed, were the offering of the poorer sort of women after birth, at the time of their purification, and of profluvious persons; of which many came from all parts, at the time of the passover: upon which account, there was a great demand for these creatures; and many sat upon seats to sell them, which Christ overturned; See Gill on Matthew 21:12.

{3} And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

(3) Christ shows that he is indeed the true King and high Priest, and therefore the one who takes revenge upon those who do not show proper reverence for the holy function of the temple.

Mark 11:15-19. See on Matthew 21:12-17. Comp. Luke 19:45-48. Matthew deals with this partly by abbreviating, partly also by adding what is peculiar and certainly original (Mark 11:14-16).

ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν] but afterwards: κατέστρεψε, so that thus the latter occurred after the beginning and before the ending of the expulsion.

Mark 11:16. ἵνα] The object of the permission is conceived as its purpose. The form ἤφιε, as Mark 1:34.

διενέγκῃ σκεῦος διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ] In the estimation also of the Rabbins it was accounted a desecration of the temple, if anybody carried the implements of common life (σκεῦος, household furniture, pots, and the like) through the temple-enclosure, διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ (not ναοῦ), in order to save himself a circuit; they extended this even to the synagogues. See Lightfoot, p. 632 f.; Wetstein in loc. Olshausen is mistaken in explaining διαφέρειν as to carry to and fro; and Kuinoel and Olshausen, following Beza and Grotius, arbitrarily limit σκεῦος to implements used for the purpose of gain.

Mark 11:17. ἐδίδασκε] on what subject? What follows leaves no doubt as to the principal theme of this teaching.

πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] Dativus commodi: (destined) for all nations,—which has reference in Isaiah 56:7 to the fact that even the strangers dwelling among the Israelites were to return with them to the Holy Land (Ezra 2:43 ff; Ezra 7:7; Nehemiah 3:26; Nehemiah 11:21), where they were to present their offerings in the temple (according to the Israelitish command, Leviticus 17:8 ff; Leviticus 22:19 ff.; Numbers 15:14 ff.). Only Mark (not Matthew and Luke) has taken up the πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν from Isaiah, which probably has its reason not only in more careful quotation (Fritzsche, de Wette, Holtzmann, Bleek), but, inasmuch as it is an honourable mention of the Gentiles, in the Gentile-Christian interest, without, however, thereby indicating that Jesus had desired to announce the new spiritual temple of His church (Schenkel), which point of the action does not emerge in any of the evangelists, since they had failed to perceive it, or had suppressed it.

Mark 11:18. ἀπολέσωσιν] (see the critical remarks): how they were to destroy Him, deliberative. The future of the Recepta (how they should destroy Him) would designate the realization as indubitable (the question only still remaining as to the kind and manner of the destruction). See Kühner, II. p. 489 f.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 225 C.

ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν] The reason why they sought to destroy Him.

ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ, αὐτοῦ] which He, namely, had just set forth, Mark 11:17, after the cleansing of the temple. Baur arbitrarily suggests that Mark has dexterously inwoven the διδάσκειν from Luke.

ὅτε ὀψὲ ἐγένετο] on that day, Mark 11:12; hence not ὅταν (see the critical remarks).

Mark 11:15-19. Cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48). The state of things Jesus saw in the temple yesterday has been in His mind ever since: through the night watches in Bethany; in the morning, killing appetite; on the way, the key to His enigmatical behaviour towards the fig tree.

15. and Jesus went into the temple] The best MSS. omit the word Jesus here. The nefarious scene, which He had sternly rebuked on the occasion of His first Passover, and which is recorded only by St John (John 2:13-17), was still being enacted.

them that sold and bought] For the convenience of Jews and proselytes residing at a distance from the Holy City, a kind of market had been established in the outer court, and here sacrificial victims, incense, oil, wine, and other things necessary for the service and the sacrifices, were to be obtained.

the tables of the moneychangers] Money would be required (1) to purchase materials for offerings, (2) to present as free offerings to the Temple treasury (Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1), (3) to pay the yearly Temple-tax of half a shekel due from every Jew, however poor. All this could not be received except in a native coin called the Temple Shekel, which was not generally current. Strangers therefore had to change their Roman, Greek, or Eastern money, at the stalls of the moneychangers, to obtain the coin required. This trade gave ready means for fraud, which was only too common.

that sold doves] Required for poor women coming for purification (Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 12:8; Luke 2:24) from all parts of the country, and for other offerings. The sale of doves appears to have been in a great measure in the hands of the priests themselves, and one of the high priests especially is said to have gained great profits from his dovecots on Mount Olivet.

Mark 11:15. Ἤρξατο, began) Men ought to have been wise [the day before], whilst the Lord was still sparing and warning by mere gestures [In the temple, “He looked round about upon all things,”] Mark 11:11.

Verse 15. - And they come to Jerusalem: and he entered into the temple. Not the holy place, nor the holy of holies (into which the high priest might alone enter), but into the temple court; for into that the people went to pray, and to witness the sacrifices which were being offered before the holy place; for this court was, so to speak, the temple of the people. Our Lord was not a Levitical priest, because he was not sprung of Levi and Aaron. Therefore he could not enter the holy place, but only the outer court of the temple. And began to cast out (ἐκβάλλειν) - it was a forcible expulsion - them that sold and them that bought in the temple. There were two occasions on which our Lord thus purged the temple - one at the beginning of his public ministry, and the other at the end of it, four days before his death. There was a regular market in the outer court,' the court of the Gentiles, belonging to the family of the high priest. The booths of this market are mentioned in the rabbinical writings as the booths of the son of Hanan, or Annas. But this market is never mentioned in the Old Testament. It seems to have sprung up after the Captivity. Our Lord adopted these strong measures

(1) because the temple courts were not the proper places for merchandise, and

(2) because these transactions were often dishonest, on account of the avarice and covetousness of the priests. The priests, either themselves or by their families, sold oxen and sheep and doves to those who had need to offer them in the temple. These animals were, of course, needed for sacrifices; and there was good reason why they should be ready at hand for those who came up to worship. But the sin of the priests lay in permitting this buying and selling to go on within the sacred precincts, and in trading dishonestly. There were other things needed for the sacrifices, such as wine, and salt, and oil. Then there were also the money-changers (κολλυβιστής, from κόλλυβος, a small coin) - those who exchanged large coins for smaller, or foreign money for the half-shekel. Every Israelite, whether rich or poor, was required to give the half-shekel, neither less nor more. So when money had to be exchanged, an allowance or premium was required by the money-changer. Doves or pigeons were required on various occasions for offerings, chiefly by the poor, who could not afford more costly offerings. From these also the priests had their gain. The seats of them that sold the doves. These birds were often sold by women, who were provided with seats. Mark 11:15Money-changers (κολλυβιστῶν)

Another unclassical word, but used also by Matthew. "Such words as these might naturally find their place in the mongrel Greek of the slaves and freedmen who formed the first congregations of the church in Rome" (Ezra Abbott, Art. "Gospels," in Encyc. Britannica). See on Matthew 21:12.

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