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Mark 11:15

ESV And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
NIV On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves,
NASB Then they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves;
CSB They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,
NLT When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,
KJV And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

What does Mark 11:15 mean?

The temple itself makes up a small part of the Temple Mount, sitting on the west side, slightly towards the north. From west to east is the Holy of Holies, the altar, and then the Women's Courtyard. A wall surrounds this area. Around the temple building is the Court of the Gentiles, specifically set aside so Gentiles can worship the Jewish God. Porticoes edge the mount, the largest on the south side, where religious teachers talk and debate (Luke 2:41–52). When the text says that something happens in "the temple," it's most likely including any of these areas on the Temple Mount.

When Israel enacts a census, men aged twenty and older are required to bring half a shekel to God as an atonement for their lives (Exodus 30:11–16). As Jews live all over the Roman Empire, they don't always carry Jewish coins, so money-changers set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles to exchange money—for a small fee. Some sacrifices require a pair of turtledoves or pigeons (Leviticus 1:14; 5:7; 12:8; 14:22; Luke 2:22–24). A lamb (Leviticus 4:32), ram (Leviticus 5:18), or goat (Leviticus 3:12) might make the trip from a far-off city undamaged, but probably not birds, so enterprising locals also sell birds for sacrifice.

These stalls, prophesied in Zechariah 14:21, were Sanhedrin-sanctioned rivals to the larger markets on the Mount of Olives. Scholars posit that they were very recent, started by Caiaphas around AD 30. Scholars do not know what grudge Caiaphas had against the Mount of Olive merchants to warrant such a sacrilegious response. These businesses filled a need, but did so by turning the Temple Mount into a profit-motivated marketplace. Worst, these stalls and their traffic clogged up space specifically set aside for Gentile God-followers who have come to pray (Mark 11:17).

About two hundred years earlier, the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the temple by using it to sacrifice pigs to Zeus. Judas Maccabeus led the Jews in a successful revolt and purified the temple. About a decade before Jesus was born, Herod the Great renovated the building, making it more extravagant than any but Solomon's original. The temple had become a symbol of Jewish nationalism, as well as a way for residents of Jerusalem to make money, as they supplied visiting Jews from throughout the Roman Empire with whatever they needed to make sacrifices.

This puts the hatred of local leaders for Jesus into clearer focus. When Jesus condemns temple-based capitalism, rebels against aristocracy that benefits from temple rituals (Mark 11:27–33), and prophesies the destruction of the temple itself (Mark 13:1–2), He shows Himself to be a threat not just to the corrupted Judaism of the Pharisees but to the entire way of life of Jerusalem and the temple.

The religious and civil leaders find this a compelling reason to have Jesus killed—even more so that His claims to be the Son of God
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