The National Treasury in Herod's Temple
Jesus referred to the Temple as the "House of God" and called it a "House of Prayer," not just for the Jews, but for all nations. When Jesus arrived with the mass of pilgrims, He overturned the tables and called it a den of thieves and a house of merchandise. The Temple was in some sense the national bank. It was a great public treasury with vaults containing immense stores of private wealth. These deposits never sat idle, but were loaned at high rates of interest. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote an account of the burning of the archives in Jerusalem and it gives an appalling picture of the incredible debts that were owed by the poor to the rich. It is believed that the intention of the burning was to 'destroy the money-lenders' tallies and to prevent the exaction of debts. After reading about how an infuriated mob (around 30 years later) robbed the Temple booths and dragged the sons of Annas to their death, it can only be imagined how much the Jewish authorities were hated by the humble commoners.