MembersThe Prophet of all Prophets on Proper Profits

The 12th installment of our series on the World of the Bible, to help you gain a better understanding of Scripture.

By David Lazarus | | Topics: World of the Bible
Jesus was quite clear on the proper behavior in making profits.
Photo: Abed Rahim/Flash90

And Jesus went into the Temple of God and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the Temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers… (Matthew 21:12).

In antiquity, merchants conducted their business outside, even bankers and moneychangers conducted their business in the open markets and city centers. The word for “table” in this verse, trapeza, is also used to mean a “bank” in Greek, and here we find it set up in the Temple courtyard.

In these courts there were many ongoing commercial transactions necessary to fulfill the requirements for the variety of offerings and sacrifices. During the annual festivals, as the multitudes made their way up to Jerusalem from the widespread Jewish Diaspora, one of the central stops was at these tables to change the different currencies. The long lines and hustle bustle of what looked like a market was unlike the image we hold of coming to worship God in his holy Temple. Is that what disturbed Jesus so much that he knocked the table over?

In Part 11 we learned...

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