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John 2:15-17

2:15 So he made a whip of cords 1  and drove them all out of the temple courts, 2  with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers 3  and overturned their tables. 2:16 To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make 4  my Father’s house a marketplace!” 5  2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal 6  for your house will devour me.” 7 

1 tc Several witnesses, two of which are quite ancient (Ì66,75 L N Ë1 33 565 892 1241 al lat), have ὡς (Jws, “like”) before φραγέλλιον (fragellion, “whip”). A decision based on external evidence would be difficult to make because the shorter reading also has excellent witnesses, as well as the majority, on its side (א A B Θ Ψ Ë13 Ï co). Internal evidence, though, leans toward the shorter reading. Scribes tended to add to the text, and the addition of ὡς here clearly softens the assertion of the evangelist: Instead of making a whip of cords, Jesus made “[something] like a whip of cords.”

2 tn Grk “the temple.”

3 sn Because of the imperial Roman portraits they carried, Roman denarii and Attic drachmas were not permitted to be used in paying the half-shekel temple-tax (the Jews considered the portraits idolatrous). The money changers exchanged these coins for legal Tyrian coinage at a small profit.

4 tn Or (perhaps) “Stop making.”

5 tn Or “a house of merchants” (an allusion to Zech 14:21).

sn A marketplace. Zech 14:20-21, in context, is clearly a picture of the messianic kingdom. The Hebrew word translated “Canaanite” may also be translated “merchant” or “trader.” Read in this light, Zech 14:21 states that there will be no merchant in the house of the Lord in that day (the day of the Lord, at the establishment of the messianic kingdom). And what would Jesus’ words (and actions) in cleansing the temple have suggested to the observers? That Jesus was fulfilling messianic expectations would have been obvious – especially to the disciples, who had just seen the miracle at Cana with all its messianic implications.

6 tn Or “Fervent devotion to your house.”

7 sn A quotation from Ps 69:9.

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