Did Jesus Whip the Money Changers?


I left my husband because he broke through a door, took part of the doorframe and shoved me with it, then hit me upside the head with his partially closed hand. I told him that he was supposed to treat his wife as Jesus treated the Church. He responded that a man had the right to hit his wife when she was doing something he felt was wrong, because Jesus whipped the money changers. I have heard this passage used to support the right for a moral anger. What qualifies as a just anger? The money changers were not physically threatening anyone. Obviously, this was not a self-defense situation on Jesus’ part, yet it was a violent expression of anger.
I don’t think my husband had the right to hit me because he thought I lied about the number of boxes I unpacked and put away.
I don’t believe that anyone has the right to hit anyone else except in self-defense, but there is this incident in the bible. Can anyone shed some light on it for me?



.no one has the right to hurt you husband or otherwise,simple


I’ve always understood that the whip was to drive the animals out of the Temple, not to whip the sellers.


Some Catholic bible scholars think the whip of cords “was probably for driving out the animals, the merchants being expelled by His authoritative command.” ( 1942, on John 2:15 and the following verseA Commentary on the New Testament,)


The way you drive animals with a whip is to crack the whip in the air (thus getting the attention of the sheep in a noisy area). You don’t do it by whipping on the animals or the people. From the Bible, whips might sometimes be used in a farm situation, on a larger animal like a horse - something with a tough hide that wouldn’t feel it much.

But you wouldn’t want to hurt a sacrificial animal in any way.

Any blemish or wound on an animal made it not fitting to give it as a sacrifice to God. The idea was to give God the best animal, not the worst-treated one. So Jesus definitely wouldn’t have hurt His Father’s animals. That’s not what the cords were for.

Anyway, here is the text that mentions a whip or scourge:

John 2:14-17: "And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the Temple, the sheep also and the oxen; and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew; and to them that sold doves he said: “Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.” And his disciples remembered, that it was written: “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.’”

The grammar of the passage is that Jesus drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the oxen. It sounds like he may have actually flicked them on the butt with the cords, but an impromptu bundle of light cords wouldn’t do any damage to a sheep or an ox. Not quite the proverbial “50 lashes with a wet noodle,” but pretty close in harmlessness. It was just a farmboy way of getting a little more reach, rather than walking around and slapping them each on the butt with his hand to get them going.

Jesus was probably driving the animals past the Temple and the city walls and over to the next hill from Jerusalem, which was the traditional site of the sacrificial animal market and the money exchange. It was right next door to the Temple, practically, so this wouldn’t have taken long.

The word used in Greek that is translated as “scourge” or “whip” is “phragellion,” a diminutive form of the word “phragello,” scourge. (Supposedly from Latin “flagellum,” which is also “scourge.”) So it’s “little scourge” or “thing sorta like a scourge.”

(A real scourge would hurt an animal, but that’s because a real scourge had little pieces of metal tied to the end of each strand of the scourge. Scourges were punishment weapons for humans guilty of breaking Roman law, not farm implements.)

The other texts:

Mark 11:15-17: "And they came to Jerusalem. And when he was entered into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the chairs of them that sold doves. And he suffered not that any man should carry a vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying to them: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer to all nations’? But you have made it a den of thieves.”

Matthew 21:12-13: "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 chairs of them that sold doves. And he saith to them: “It is written, ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer;’ but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Hope this helped to clear your head of any wrong ideas you were given.

Please be safe.


Go to a battered women’s shelter and tell them what you have described here.
God bless you.
We’re not debating with this guy what Jesus did or didn’t do.
It’s about what he did to you.
It’s unacceptable and you need protection.
Be assured of our prayers.


None of this has Jesus hurting humans, or doing anything worse than normal farmwork with animals. Tables and chairs and money were knocked over, but not broken or destroyed. Jesus does give verbal rebukes to people who should have known better. That’s it.

Please stay safe.


Thanks you for the link. I found that helpful.


Thank you for the time you spent explaining this to me. According to some of the quotes above, this occurrence was partial fulfillment of Messianic scripture. Do you think this quote has an implication for moral justice or a “just anger”?


Have you read anything that would give this passage an implication about moral justice and a “just anger”.


This happened a while back and my son and I are safe, but my husband, of course, asserts that this incident was my fault. He insists that a man has the right to hit his wife if he thinks she is doing something wrong.

I am trying to discern, whether there would be a circumstance when a man has the right to throw things, scream, and hit things because he feels a moral wrong has occurred. (I think that a person can only strike another in self-defense.)

Does this passage pertain to a “just anger”? If so, what constitutes a “just anger.”?


NO. Why would you even think that?


Because if Jesus flipped over tables and chairs in anger, then there must be circumstances when it’s okay to do that.


Jesus does expect us to be doormats either.
You didn’t do anything deserving of that level of anger. It’s one thing to have righteous indignation. It’s another to intentionally harm someone “just because I lost it”.

Your husband has a very disordered view of the scenario. Both in Scripture and in your real life situation.
There’s no instance of spousal abuse that Christ would condone.
Let’s be clear.

Why would you be eager to excuse or condone this?


If you wake up one morning and you realize you’re God, and then you go to church and find an ATM next to the altar in church, maybe you can start flipping pews. :slight_smile:

The thing is, God has a right to have His House be a house of prayer, and the people who pray there have a right not to have their prayer space taken up with other things. Putting an ATM next to the altar is unjust, both to God and to humans. Therefore, it’s right for Jesus to be angry and to do something about it.

There is such a thing (in the Bible and in Christian teaching) as righteous anger, as opposed to wrath. However, righteous anger is about somebody doing injustice. You get angry so that you can defend yourself or others. Not getting righteously angry over injustice is unjust.

You can choose to forgive or say nothing or do nothing if that will actually help matters; but you usually need to do or say something about it, so that other people don’t suffer injustice too. You at least need to say to yourself, “This person did something unjust;” you can’t pretend to yourself that nothing bad happened, and it was perfectly normal.

For example, if a thief comes into your home and steals your stuff, you have a right to be angry. It’s your house, it’s your stuff, he’s violated your rights and done you an injustice.

If a guy kidnaps your kids and puts a knife to their throats, you have a right to be angry. He’s endangered your kids and traumatized them; he’s done them an injustice.

On the other hand, getting angry about a mistake, or stubbing your toe, is not righteous anger against an injustice. The mistake wasn’t made on purpose, and you didn’t stub your toe on purpose. No injustice was done; it just happened. You’re not defending yourself against anything, so being angry is foolish.

Wrath, unrighteous anger, is pretty much the result of foolishly demanding that the world and other people always turn out exactly the way you want. (That’s why they say that wrath comes from pride.) It’s “being mad at the world,” as they say, as if the world were out to get you.

This priest points out that wrath also says no to mercy, whereas righteous anger allows for mercy.

Ephesians 4 talks about righteous anger vs. unrighteous anger, in a way:
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Eph. 4:26-27)

That’s righteous anger - you get angry at injustice, you do something to correct it if you can, but you don’t do anything evil because of it.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31-32)

Wrath is accompanied with all sorts of bad stuff, like bitterness and slander.

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” (Prov. 15:18)

One who is slow to anger quiets things down, both before he is angry and when he finally is angered. I’ve seen this with my dad. He’s a good and gentle man, and it takes a lot to rile him up. If you do rile him up, he does something decisive to end the trouble. Very few people rile him up. :slight_smile:

Of course, we sinners have a hard time keeping wrath out, even when we have a righteous cause to feel righteous anger. So it’s good to have self-control, and to stay away from situations that may make us feel angry for no good reason. But anger itself isn’t necessarily bad.

Hope this helped.


This is the correct answer.

Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus hit people with the whips. It was for animals. That’s all. Jesus is a healer.




Your husband has no right to hit you, it has nothing to do with Jesus whipping the MEN who were defiling the temple. Men do not have any right to hit women, if two men get into it, that is a different matter.


Are you kidding me? What does the Bible say about how a husband should treat his wife? A husband should lay down his life for his wife, just as Christ laid down his life for us. Jesus never beat anyone-instead he took our punishment for us. St. Peter also writes that a husband should treat his wife with honor.


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