Original Research - Special Collection: Old and New Testament Studies

The ‘enigma of Jesus’’ temple intervention: Four essential keys

William Domeris
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2954 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2954 | © 2015 William Domeris | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 March 2015 | Published: 29 July 2015

About the author(s)

William Domeris, South African Theological Seminary, Bisho Area, South Africa; Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The emerging consensus, on the intervention of Jesus into the commercial operations of the Jerusalem Temple, speaks in terms of an enacted parable aimed at the temple hierarchy, against the backdrop of the ongoing economic and social oppression of the time. In this article, I consider four essential scholarly insights (keys): The possibility that Caiaphas introduced trade in sacrifices in the Jerusalem Temple; the link between the money changers and Greek-style bankers; the Jewish witness to the extent of high-priestly corruption in the 1st century CE; and finally the presence of the image of Baal-Melkart on the Tyrian Shekel. In the light of the fourth key, in particular, we discover Jesus, like the prophets of old (Jeremiah and Elijah), standing against the greed of the High priests and their abuse of the poor and marginalised, by defending the honour of God, and pronouncing judgement on the temple hierarchy as ‘bandits’ (Jr 7:11) and, like their ancestors, encouragers of ‘Baal worship’ (Jr 7:9).


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