15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple [grounds] and began driving out [with force] the people who were [a]selling and buying [animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the seats of those who were selling doves;16 and He would not permit anyone to carry [b]merchandise or household wares through the temple [grounds, using the temple area irreverently as a shortcut]. 17 He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.”18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this and began searching for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, since the entire crowd was struck with astonishment at His teaching.
Mark 11:15These vendors could charge pilgrims inflated prices for animals designated for sacrifice because OT law forbade the use of animals with blemishes or defects (Deut 17:1 etc.), and the religious leaders had dictated even more stringent requirements. For example, they ruled that a blemish on an eyelid disqualified an animal for sacrifice (according to the Talmud).
Mark 11:16Lit a vessel. The Mishnah declared that one should not enter the temple mount with his staff (walking stick) or wallet, or with his shoes on, or with dust on his feet (according to the Talmud). Carrying merchandise through the temple showed even greater disrespect.
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