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6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
• And put on them their clothes.' This was done as a token of respect, 2 Kings ix. 13.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Others showed the same respect by throwing their garments before him; others by cutting down branches of trees, and casting them in the way, This was the way in which conquerors and princes were often honoured. To cast flowers or garlands, or boughs, before a warrior returning from victory, or a king entering into his kingdom, was a common way of testifying joyful and triumphant feeling. John says, xii, 13, that these branches were branches of the palm-tree. The palm was an emblem of joy and victory, Rev. vii. 9.
The palm-tree is common in warm climates, and was abundant in Palestine. The finest grew about Jericho and Engeddi. Hence Jericho was called the city of palm-trees.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David : Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; Hosanna in the highest.
The word “hosanna' means Save now, or save, I beseech thee. It is a Syriac word, and was the form of acclamation used among the Jews. It was probably used in the celebration of their great festivals. During those festivals they sang the 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th psalms. In the chanting or singing of those psalms, the Jewish writers inform us that the people responded frequently hallelujah, or hosanna. 'Son of Davíd.' The Messiah. 'Blessed is he,' &c. That is, blessed be the Messiah. This passage is taken from Ps. cxviii. 25, 26. To come in the name of the Lord, is to come by the authority of the Lord; to come commissioned by him to reveal his will. The Jews had commonly applied this to the Messiah. • Hosanna in the highest.' This may mean either Hosanna in the highest, loftiest strains, or it may be a prayer to God, 'Save now, O thou that dwellest in the highest, in the highest heaven, or among the highest angels.'
Mark adds, that they shouted, Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord. That is, the kingdom promised to David, 1 Kings ii. 4; viii. 25.
Luke adds, xix. 38, that they said ' Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.' The word peace is used here as significant of joy
-joy, triumph, exultation in heaven at this event; increased rejoicing from the accession of the redeemed : and the highest glory to God.
Among such a multitude the shouts of exultation and triumph would by no means be confined to the same words. Some would say one thing, and some another; one evangelist recorded what was said by one part of the multitude, and another what was said by another part.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this ? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
There was great excitement. The sight of such a multitude, the shouts of the people, and the triumphant procession through the city, excited much attention and inquiry.
12 | And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
The account of the barren fig-tree and of the cleansing of the temple is stated in Mark xi. 12–19. See also Luke xix. 45–48. From Mark xi. 11-15, it is probable that this cleansing of the temple did not take place on the day that he entered Jerusalem in triumph, hut on the day following. He came and looked round upon all things, Mark says, and went out to Bethany with the twelve. On the day following, returning from Bethany, he saw the fig-tree. Entering into the temple, he purified it on that day; or perhaps he finished the work of purifying it on that day, which he commenced the day before.
The temple was built on mount Moriah. The first temple was built by Solomon, about 1000 years before Christ, 1 Kings vi. He was seven years in building it, 1 Kings vi. 38. This temple, erected with great magnificence, remained till it was destroyed by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, five hundred and eighty-four years before Christ, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6, 7, 19.
After the Babylonish captivity, the temple was rebuilt by Ze rubbabel, but with vastly inferior and diminished beauty. This was called the second temple. It was often defiled in the wars before the time of Christ, and had become much decayed and impaired. Herod the Great, being exceedingly unpopular among the Jews, on account of his cruelties, (see note, Mati. ii.) was desirous of doing something to obtain the favour of the people, and accordingly about sixteen years before Christ, he commenced the work of repairing it. This he did, by removing one part after another till it had become in fact a new temple, greatly surpassing
che former in magnificence. It was still called by the Jews the second temple; and by Christ's coming to this temple, the prophecy, Haggai ii. 9, was fulfilled. John says, ii. 20, forty and six years was this temple in building.' Christ was then thirty years of age, which, added to the sixteen years occupied in repairing it before his birth, makes forty-six years,
The temple itself was a small edifice, and was surrounded by courts and chambers half a mile in circumference. Into the sacred edifice itself our Saviour never went. He was not a priest, and consequently was allowed to enter no further into the temple than the other Israelites. The works that he is said to have performed in the temple, therefore, are to be understood as having been performed in the courts surrounding the sacred edifice. Those courts will now be described.
The entrance to the courts on the top of the mount was by nine gates, all of them extremely splendid. On every side they were thickly coated with gold and silver. But there was one gate of peculiar magnificence. This was called the beautiful gate, Acts iji. 2. It was on the east side, and was made of Corinthian brass, one of the most precious metals in ancient tiines. This gate was fifty cubits, or seventy-five feet in height.
The whole temple, with all its courts, was surrounded by a wall about twenty-five feet in height. On the inside of this wall, between the gates, were piazzas or covered porches. On the eastern, northern, and western sides there were two rows of these porches; on the south, three. These porches were covered walks, about twenty feet in width, paved with marble of different colours, with a flat roof of costly cedar, which was supported by pillars of solid marble, so large that three men could scarcely stretch their arms so as to meet around them. These walks or porches afforded a grateful shade and protection to the people in hot or stormy weather. The one on the east side was distinguished for its beauty, and was called Solomon's porch, John x. 23. Acts iii. 11. It stood over the vast terrace or wall which he had raised from the valley beneath, and which was the only thing of his work that remained in the sacred temple.
When a person entered any of the gates into this space within the wall, he saw the temple rising before him with great magnificence. But the space was not clear all the way up to it. Going forward, he came to another wall, inclosing considerable ground, esteemed more holy than the rest of the hill. This between the first and second wall was called the court of the Gentiles. It was so called because Gentiles might come into it, but they could proceed no further. This court was not of equal dimensions all the way round the temple. On the east, north, and west, it was quite narrow. On the south it was wide, occupying nearly half of the whole surface of the hill. In this court the Gentiles might
Here was the place where much secular business was
transacted. This was occupied by the buyers and sellers, and the money changers, and Jesus purified it by casting them out.
The inclosure within the second wall was nearly twice as long from east to west as from north to south. This inclosure was also divided. The eastern part of it was called the court of the women; so called because women might advance thus far, but no further. It was entered by three gates : one on the north, one on the east, directly opposite to the beautiful gate, and one on the south. This court of the women was inclosed with a double wall, with a space between the walls about fifteen feet in width, paved with marble. In the corners of that court were different structures for the various uses of the temple. It was in this court that the Jews commonly worshipped. Here, probably, Peter and John, with others, went up to pray, Acts iii. 1. Here too the pharisee prayed; the publican standing far off in the outer court, Luke xviii. 9-14. Paul also was seized here, and charged with defiling the temple, by bringing Gentiles into that holy place, Acts xxi. 26–30.
A high wall on the west side of the court of the women divided it from the court of the Israelites; so called because all the males of the Jews might advance there. To this court there was an ascent of fifteen steps. These steps were in the form of a half circle.
Within the court of the Israelites was the court of the priests, separated by a wall about a foot and a half in height. Within that court was the altar of burnt-offering, and the laver standing in front of it. Here the priests performed the daily service of the temple.
The temple, properly so called, stood within this court. It surpassed in splendour all the other buildings of the holy city; perhaps in magnificence it was unequalled in the world. It fronted the east. From the mount of Olives there was a beautiful and commanding view of the whole sacred edifice. It was there that our Saviour sat, when the disciples directed his attention to the goodly stones with which the temple was built, Mark xiii. 1. The entrance into the temple itself was from the court of the priests, by an ascent of twelve steps. The porch in front of the temple was a hundred and fifty feet high, and as many broad. The open space in this porch through which the temple was entered, was one hundred and fifteen feet high, and thirty-seven broad, without doors of any sort. The appearance of this, built, as it was, with white marble, and decorated with plates of silver, was exceedingly splendid. Josephus says, that in the rising of the sun it
reflected so strong and dazzling an effulgence, that the eye of the spectator was obliged to turn away.
The temple itself was divided into two parts: the first called the sanctuary, or holy place, was sixty feet in length, sixty feet
in height, and thirty feet in width. In this was the golden can. dlestick, the table of shew-bread, and the altar of incense. The holy of holies, or the most holy place, was thirty feet each way. In the first temple, this contained the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law, the mercy-seat, and the cherubim. Into this place no person entered but the high-priest, and he but once in the year. These two apartments were separated only by a vail, very costly and curiously wrought. It was this vail which was rent from the top to the bottom when the Saviour died, Matt. xxvii. 51.
And cast out them that bought and sold in the temple. The place where this was done was the outer court, or the court of the Gentiles. This was esteemed the least sacred part of the temple. The things which they bought and sold were, at first, those pertaining to the sacrifices. It is not improbable, however, that the traffic afterwards extended to all kinds of merchandise. “The tables of the money-changers. The money in current use was Roman coin. But the Jewish law required that every man should pay a yearly tribute to the service of the sanctuary of half a shekel, Ex. xxx.
11–16. This was a Jewish coin ; and it must be paid in that coin. It became, therefore, a matter of convenience to have a place where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half shekel. This was the professed business of these men. They would demand a small sum for the exchange; and among so many thousands as came up to the great feasts, it would be a very profitable employment. The seats of them that sold doves.' Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice, Lev. xiv. 22. Luke ii. 24. Hence it became a busiuess to keep them to sell to those who were required to offer them.
Mark adds, xi. 16, that Christ would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. That is, probably, any of the vessels or implements connected with the traffic in oil, incense, wine, &c., that were kept for sale in the temple.
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
This is written in Isa. lvi. 7. The first part of this verse only is quoted from Isaiah. The rest but ye have made it a den of thieves,' was added by Jesus, denoting their abuse of the temple. In their dens thieves devise and practise iniquity. These buyers and sellers imitated them. They made the temple a place of gain; they cheated and defrauded; robbed the poor by selling what they had at an enormous price.
The following reasons may be given why this company of buyers and sellers obeyed Christ: 1. They were overawed by his authority; struck with the consciousness that he had a right to command. 2. Their own consciences reproved them; they knew they