Historic Jesus

The moneychangers in the temple probably conducted their business in the Court of the Gentiles. Most of the coins in circulation were of Roman or Greek origin and therefore had images of pagan deities embossed on them. Such coins were not acceptable as a gift to God or as payment of the annual temple tax. The moneychangers exchanged unacceptable coins for the acceptable Tyrian coins, taking a small commission for themselves. When exchanging coins brought to the festivals by pilgrims from far countries, the moneychangers could manipulate the exchange rates. They could readily abuse their position during the times of major festivals. When Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers, he accused them of turning the house of prayer into a "den of thieves."