The Second Temple Cleansing

by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

From the Mount of Olives they walked, as on the day before, across the valley of the brook Kedron, and again came into the Temple. You remember that two years before when Jesus visited the Temple, he then drove out from its court all the people that he found buying and selling and changing money.

But in the two years that had passed, they had all come
back, and the Court of the Gentiles was again a place of business and of confusion. All around were oxen lowing and sheep bleating; their owners calling upon the people passing by to come and buy them; cages full of pigeons and doves were standing on every side; and from a row of tables might be heard the chink of silver, as the money of foreign lands was changed for that of Judea.

When these traders saw Jesus standing before them, some of them could remember how two years before he had driven them out of the Temple, and all saw in him the man who only yesterday the people had welcomed as the coming King of Israel.

There was a look upon the face of Jesus which
made all these wrongdoers afraid of him; and when he spoke in the hearing of them all, "God's book says, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a den of robbers,'" with one accord they rushed out of the court before him, driving out the sheep and oxen, carrying away the cages of doves, and even upsetting the tables of the money-changers.

Jesus saw that people who were coming from outside the wall were carrying goods and jars of water and of oil through the Court of the Gentiles as the nearest way to the city, so that the court was becoming merely a street between the city and the country.

He put a stop to this
carrying of loads through the Temple courts; and would not allow even a jar of water to be taken by way of the Temple into the city. This building in all its parts was the house of God, and Jesus as the Son of God gave commands that everywhere it was to be used only for the worship of his heavenly Father.

After casting out all these evil things from the outer court, Jesus walked up the steps to the inner court, called the Treasury. There he sat down, and for the rest of the day taught the people who crowded around him.

While he was in the Treasury, they led to him the blind, and he gave them sight by a word; and the lame came in on crutches, or were carried in by their friends to his feet, and he gave them power to walk. Boys too were marching around the Temple and shouting everywhere, "May God save the Son of David!"

All these things made the priests and the rulers very angry; for they were only waiting for a chance to find Jesus alone and make him their prisoner, and they could do nothing while such crowds were around him, all believing that he was the promised Son of David and King of Israel. But these enemies of Jesus could not keep quiet amid all these praises.

"Do you hear," they said to Jesus, "what these boys are shouting? Why do you not tell them to be still?"

"Yes, I hear them," answered Jesus, "and have you never read what is said in the book of Psalms, 'Out of the lips of little children, even of babies in their mothers' arms, thy praises have been made perfect?'"

Jesus stayed in the Temple teaching until the evening drew near. Then he went with his disciples back to Bethany for the night. There among his friends he was safe.