Mark 11:17
And he taught, saying to them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but you have made it a den of thieves.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Any vessel - Any vessel used in cooking, or connected with the sale of their articles of merchandise.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 11:17" And he taught, saying unto them, is it not written,.... In Isaiah 56:7.

My house shall be called of all nations, the house of prayer? For not only the Jews went up to the temple to pray, see Luke 18:10, but the Gentiles also, who became of the Jewish religion, and had a court built for that purpose; and so the whole temple, from hence, was called an house of prayer: and the meaning is, not only that it should be called so by the Gentiles, but that it should be so to them, and made use of by them as such. Jarchi's note on the clause in Isaiah 56:7 is, "not for Israel only, but also for the proselytes."

But ye have made it a den of thieves; for no other, in our Lord's esteem, were the buyers and sellers of sheep, oxen, and doves, and the money changers, and the priests that encouraged them, and had a profit out of them: now these had their seats, shops, and tables, within the mountain of the house; and even in that part of it, which was assigned to the Gentiles, the nations of the world, who became proselytes, and came up to Jerusalem to worship there at certain times; See Gill on Matthew 21:13.

And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be {d} called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

(d) Will openly be considered and taken to be so.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 11:17. ἐδίδασκε covers more than what He said just then, pointing to a course of teaching (cf. Mark 11:18 and Luke 19:47). Here again we note that while Mt. speaks of a healing ministry in the temple (Matthew 21:14) Mk. gives prominence to teaching. Yet Mt. gives a far fuller report of the words spoken by Jesus during the last week.—πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, to all the Gentiles, as in Isaiah 56:7, omitted in the parallels; very suitable in view of the fact that the traffic went on in the court of the Gentiles. A foreshadowing of Christian universalism.—πεποιήκατε, ye have made it and it now is.17. of all nations] Rather, for all nations. See margin. The words are cited from Isaiah 56:7.

a den of thieves] Literally, a cave of robbers or bandits. See Jeremiah 7:11. The distinction is to be borne in mind between “the robber,” brigand or violent spoiler (Matthew 21:13; Matthew 26:55; Luke 22:52; John 18:40; 2 Corinthians 11:26), and the “thief” or secret purloiner (Matthew 6:19; John 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). Trench’s Synonyms, § 44. What our Lord alludes to is one of “those foul caves which He had so often seen, where brigands wrangled over their ill-gotten gains.” Farrar, Life, II. 205.Mark 11:17. Ἐδίδασκε, He taught) The addition of teaching makes punishment salutary in its effect.—πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι, to all nations) Construe with the house of prayer. Comp. the accents, Isaiah 56:7 [My house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.]Verse 17. - My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations (πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν). St. Mark, writing for Gentiles, assures them that the God of the Jews is the God of all the nations; and that the court of the Gentiles, which was then so profaned, was a constituent part of his house of prayer. St. Jerome notes Christ's action in driving out the profaners of the temple as a great proof of his Divine power, that he alone should have been able to cast out so great a multitude. He says, "A fiery splendor flashed from his eyes, and the majesty of Deity shone in his countenance." The words, "My house shall be called the house of prayer," are a quotation from Isaiah 56:7; and it is a remarkable coincidence that in Ver. 11 of that chapter the rulers of the people are described as looking "every one for his gain from his quarter." A den of thieves (σπήλαιον ληστῶν); this should be rendered, a den of robbers. The Greek word for "thief" is κλέπτης, not ληστής. The two terms are carefully distinguished in St. John (John 10:1), "the same is a thief (κλέπτης) and a robber (λῃστής)." These priests, wholly intent upon gain, by various fraudulent acts plundered strangers and the poor, who came purchase offerings for the worship of God. Observe that the temple is called the house of God, not because he dwells in it in any corporeal sense, for "he dwelleth not in temples made with hands," but because the temple is the place set apart for the worship of God, in which he specially gives ear to the prayers of his people, and in which he specially promises his spiritual presence. Hence we learn what reverence is due to the houses of God; so that, as the master of a house resents any insult offered to his house as an insult to himself, so Christ reckons any wilful dishonor done to his house as a wrong and insult to him. Of all nations

Which rendering implies, shall be called by all nations. But render with Rev., a house of prayer for all the nations (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).

Thieves (λῃστῶν)

Rev., correctly, robbers. See on Matthew 21:13; and Matthew 26:55; and John 10:1, John 10:8. From ληίς or λεία, booty. In classical usage mostly of cattle. The robber, conducting his operations on a large and systematic scale, and with the aid of bands, is thus to be distinguished from the κλέπτης, or thief who purloins or pilfers whatever comes to hand. A den would be appropriate to a band of robbers, not to thieves. Thus the traveller to Jericho, in Christ's parable (Luke 10:30), fell among robbers, not thieves.

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