When did Jesus actually cleanse the temple? John has the cleansing of the temple early in Jesus' ministry, during his first recorded visit to Jerusalem for the passover. John records three separate visits to Jerusalem for the passover. The synoptics have the cleansing during Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem immediately prior to his crucifixion, Mk.11:15-18, Matt.21:12-17, Lk.19:45ff. There are hints that John used Mark's account, although he may well have used an existing oral tradition similar to Mark. None-the-less, John would have known of the Synoptic tradition of a cleansing toward the end of Jesus' ministry.
Commentators, such as Tasker and Leon Morris, argue that there is no reason why Jesus couldn't have cleansed the temple on a number of occasions - would he not get upset and cause a commotion on other visits to the temple? Murray argues that an early cleansing is more likely historically accurate, given that the witnesses at Jesus' trial cannot agree on their evidence. This would certainly be the case if the cleansing had taken place two years earlier.
It is interesting how the temple had become a focus of national pride and designed in such a way as to exclude Gentiles. Yet, God's intention for his house was that it be a "house of prayer for all the nations", Isa.56:7. Now, not only was it exclusive, but defiled, and so in need of radical renewal.
v13 εγγυς adv. near. temporal use of an adverb of place.
ανεβη (αναβαινω) aor. "[Jesus] went up" - up to the hill country of Judea, but also the term used of going on a pilgrimage.
v14 τω ιερω (on) dat. "the temple courts" - the outer court of the temple, the court of the Gentiles.
τους πωλουντας (πωλεω) pres. part. "men selling" - articular participle serves as a substantive, but it may also be classified as introducing a dependent statement of perception, expressing what Jesus "found" upon entering the temple court - stall-holders selling ..... and money changers sitting. The issue is that the temple has a higher purpose and this purpose is being prostituted by trading, even if the trading is of animals for sacrifice and exchange of foreign coinage for Tyrian coinage.
καθημενους (καθημαι) part. "[others] sitting at tables [exchanging money]" - [coindealers/coinchangers] sitting. The participle as above, "the ones sitting exchanging money", or adjectival, attributive, "money changers who were sitting." Used of a person who exchanges money in denomination terms, although here of exchanging one type of coinage for another. The Tyrian coinage was prescribed, not because it was free of idolatrous images, which it wasn't, but probably because it was of fine quality and exact weight.
v15 ποιησας (ποιεω) aor. part. "he made" participle is adverbial, possibly temporal.
φραγελλιον (ον) "whip" - Lat. flagellum. Scourge but also a whip to drive animals which is most likely the meaning here.
εξεβαλεν (εκβαλλω) aor. "drove [all] from" – same word used of the spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness.
των κολλυβιστων (hV ou) "[he scattered the coins] of the money changers"
ανετρεψεν (ανατρεφω) aor. "overturned"
v16 Where Mark has Jesus saying "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers", John has Jesus saying "stop turning my Father's house into a market." In Mark the issue is corrupt trading, whereas in John it is trading itself, and this in line with prophetic fulfillment, "and there will no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day", Zech.14:21.
τοις ... πωλουσιν (πωλεω) dat. pres. part. "to those who sold" - participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object.
εντευθεν adv. "out of here" - adverb of place.
μη ποιειτε (ποιεω) pres. imp. "how dare you turn / stop turning" this negation is used to express the cessation of an action in progress; "stop making".
του πατρος "[my] Father's [house]" - Note Jesus' childhood reference to the temple as "my Father's house" in Lk.2:49.
εμποριου (ον) gen. "into a market" - genitive is adjectival, of definition, epexegetic. Trading, of itself, pollutes the proper function of the temple.
v17 εμνησθησαν (μιμνησκομαι) aor. pas. "remembered"
γεγραμμενον (γραφω) perf. part. "[it is] written" - perfect participle with the present tense of the verb to-be forms a periphrastic perfect construction emphasizing aspect, the ongoing reality of God's revealed word.
του οικου (ος) "[zeal] for [your] house" - the genitive is usually taken as verbal.
καταφαγεται (κατεσθιω) fut. ind. mid. "will consume" - In the Hebrew text the word is perfect, indicating that the psalmist is, at the present moment, undergoing suffering due to his zeal for the temple. The LXX has a variant reading where the word is in the future tense, although this may be a later Christian influence where the gospel quote is read back into the LXX text. The future tense gives the quote a messianic flavor.
v18 οι Ιουδαιοι (ος) "the Jews" - referring to Jewish authorities. It is unlikely that the reference is to the traders.
απεκριθησαν (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. "demanded / responded" is used to introduce a direct statement rather than actually answering Jesus, so translated "The Jewish authorities intervened and said."
σημειον (ον) "miraculous sign It seems that the messianic signs, the lame walking, the blind seeing, weren’t enough.
δεικνυεις (δεικνυμι) "can you show" - John combines what are separate questions in Mark. John goes on to explain that the only sign they will receive is the resurrection, although for the immediate audience it is not really a sign but rather a dark saying. Mark has no sign, Matthew and Luke have the sign of Jonah. For Matthew, 12:39f, Jesus' sign to his own sinful generation aligns to Jonah's three days in the belly of a large fish (another dark saying) , whereas in Luke it aligns to Jonah's preaching ministry in Nineveh, 11:29. In Matthew 16:4 the phrase "sign of Jonah" is used without explanation. Preaching (the proclamation of the resurrection of Christ) to a "wicked generation" is most likely the meaning of the sign of Jonah. Although, note that Matthew, along with John, obliquely hints that the sign is itself the resurrection.
v19 λυσατε (λυω) aor. imp. act. "destroy". It seems likely that the imperative here is being used to express a 3rd. class condition where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, you continue on your present path, then you will bring about the destruction of this temple." To this sign, the destruction of the temple which was realized in 70AD, Jesus adds και, "and", "in a brief time (three days) I will raise up another center of worship", Hunter. The reference to "three days" is surely a reference to Jesus' resurrection, at which time Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman will be realized; "the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth", Jn.4:23.
τον ναον (ος) "temple" - Possibly the inner sanctuary of the temple, shrine.
εγερω (εγειρω) fut. "raise" - Like "destroy", the word can easily mean the raising up or rebuilding of buildings just as easily of the rebuilding of a body. "
v20 οικοδομηθη (οικοδομεω) aor. ind. pass. "It has taken to build" - The temple complex was not completed until the early 60's so this part of the building work was still in progress, yet the temple proper had been rebuilt by Herod the Great during the years 20-18BC. The aorist is appropriate for the completed temple, but not for the ongoing building work- a clear gloss.
τεσσερακοντα και εξ ετεσιν dat. "forty-six years" - The dative is temporal or possibly locative, giving the sense "this temple was built forty six years ago."
v22 οτε ουν "after" - ηγερθη (εγειρω) aor. pas. "he was raised" - transitive, "when he was raised", or intransitive "when Jesus rose from the dead." Either way, both are true. The passive is usually taken as theological – i.e. the Father does the raising.
εμνησθησαν (μιμνησκομαι) aor. pas. "recalled" -
επιστευσαν (πιστευω) "they believed" - John is probably thinking of Psalm 69:9 quoted in v17. Zeal for God's dwelling place did consume /destroy Jesus, but in the end, you can't keep a good man down!
τη γραφη (η) dat. "the scripture" - the writing. As with τω λογω, "the words", dative of direct object after the verb "to believe."