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Cleansing the Temple

12 Then[a] Jesus entered the temple area[b] and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple courts,[c] and turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And he said to them, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,[d] but you are turning it into a den[e] of robbers!”[f]

14 The blind and lame came to him in the temple courts, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the experts in the law[g] saw the wonderful things he did and heard the children crying out in the temple courts,[h] “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of children and nursing infants you have prepared praise for yourself’?”[i]

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  1. Matthew 21:12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  2. Matthew 21:12 tn Grk “the temple.”sn The merchants (those who were selling) would have been located in the Court of the Gentiles.
  3. Matthew 21:12 tn Grk “the temple.”sn Matthew (here, 21:12-27), Mark (11:15-19) and Luke (19:45-46) record this incident of the temple cleansing at the end of Jesus’ ministry. John (2:13-16) records a cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. See the note on the word temple courts in John 2:14 for a discussion of the relationship of these accounts to one another.
  4. Matthew 21:13 sn A quotation from Isa 56:7.
  5. Matthew 21:13 tn Or “a hideout” (see L&N 1.57).
  6. Matthew 21:13 sn A quotation from Jer 7:11. The meaning of Jesus’ statement about making the temple courts a den of robbers probably operates here at two levels. Not only were the religious leaders robbing the people financially, but because of this they had also robbed them spiritually by stealing from them the opportunity to come to know God genuinely. It is possible that these merchants had recently been moved to this location for convenience.
  7. Matthew 21:15 tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  8. Matthew 21:15 tn Grk “crying out in the temple [courts] and saying.” The participle λέγοντας (legontas) is somewhat redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  9. Matthew 21:16 sn A quotation from Ps 8:2.