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Verses 15-17

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.”

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