It had been over half a year since King Aristobulus had last visited the Temple in Jeru, as the Lamb of Israel had been away in Arabia and India for several months, and upon his return trusted advisors were beginning to warn him of the deteriorating situation. They were speaking of trouble and abuse in the capitol, alleging that commerce was going on within the sanctified premises, even on Holy Days. The older children of Ari and Salome were now entering their teen years while young Jeshua Justus Aristobulus was six years old. Ari and Salome each received reports from the nearby and faraway locales, and their eldest son Herod Timothy also received his own updates, he being the current official Crown Prince, as the adopted son of Agrippa II.
At a barbecue feast for friends and dignitaries, Salome served lamb, goat, grilled and smoked fish, bananas, chick peas and spelt together with the finest oils, sauces, herbs and spices. A close associate pulled him aside and Ari Jesh was told he should really see it for himself; that words cannot describe how things have changed in the Holy City. The current slide was compared to that day before Jahnathan Maccabee and his brothers reclaimed the City and restored the Temple to the Chosen. Jesh thought this to be an inappropriate exaggeration, but after being told again and again of the dysfunctional and disrespectful matters regarding the Temple, by several different men within a two-hour period, he conferred with Salome and then made plans for a surprise visit. The one thing that bothered him the most was that he had been told that money-changing tables had been set up inside the Temple court and were operating on Friday evenings, with foreigners entering and leaving the Temple without any guidance or supervision. Drunkenness, thievery and fighting were not uncommon, yet things were to get wildly worse only a few years later, but up to this point the news was both precedent setting and disturbing.
Aristobulus had been among the avant-garde in allowing the Temple to be used for worship by the many communities living in and visiting Jeru, but he always believed this had to be done in a way that honoured the Judaic people, the Temple, Jerusalem and even all of Israel and Judea. The Temple was to be opened up as a way of spreading goodwill, respecting Judaism, building peace and fulfilling the Law, not defiling and obliterating it! And on the solemn eve of Sabbath, no less!
After the guests left, Ari Jesh and Salome conferred more on the matter and it was agreed that Jesh would visit Jeru within fourteen days to assess the situation for himself, while Salome and the family would travel part way and she would stay at the summer place in Capernaum with the kids until he returned, and then together all would travel back to the palace in Chalcis.
Two weeks later, Jesh and several guards and scribes left Capernaum for Jeru, stopping along the way to spend an evening and overnight at an elder’s home in Shechem. Here they were treated as Saviours and healers, and Ari Jesh and several disciples each performed laying-on of hands for those hurting, and a communal meal was prepared for everyone, both inside and outside the elder’s home. All kinds of people came to Jeshua with problems, and he did his best to channel them back into the healing path, the pure water and light that restores vitality.
Upon arrival in the Holy City, it was clear as Jesh approached the Temple that he was visibly surprised, even stunned, shocked, at the busy state of affairs, and the loud hustle and bustle of business and trade. He had timed his somewhat covert entrance into the Temple for dusk on a Friday, a time of day and the week when he remembered praying there quietly as a youth.
Accompanied only by two heavily-laden mules, three men in front were followed by four in the rear. As they walked up the street leading to the main gates, Ari Jesh turned to his brothers and said, “Do not do what I do when we are on the Temple grounds. Just watch, listen and learn.”
He was dressed in priestly rather than kingly garb, and as he led the way into the courtyard, holy anger welled up inside him. Ari first knocked one table back toward the trader standing behind it, then crossed the aisle and lifted up another table and flipped it, then crossed back one more time and kicked a third table, scattering its piles of coins.
After overturning the third table he stopped and looked to the dazzled moneychangers, then raised his hands up in the air, slightly above his shoulders. Amid cries of “Who is this man?” and “Stop this crazy person,” Jeshua raised his hands higher and spoke loudly.
“IS THIS HOW MY FATHER TAUGHT YOU TO CARE FOR OUR TEMPLE???”
The gathering hushed at the sight and sound of Aristobulus, and he lowered his voice correspondingly.
“This is a home of worship; if you need a place to carry on your business then build it! The Sabbath and the Temple are not to be blasphemed in this manner. Pack your things and go.”
Many perplexed faces confronted Ari Jesh, who glanced at his men and then spoke even quieter: “What remains hidden will someday be revealed to you all.”
Ari then turned to two companions and motioned them to follow him inside the inner portion of the Temple, while instructing the others with him to wait out front, essentially blocking the door of entry so nobody could easily follow. They sought out the caretakers and rabbis to discuss who made the decision to allow this activity on the eve of the Sabbath, and when Ari found out that it had been approved by the primary assistant to the High Priest Joseph Cabi, he declared that it may become necessary to have this secretary’s stewardship of the Temple revoked, as a soul unworthy of such lofty responsibility. High Priest Joseph was out of town, having left that afternoon riding a single whisper, and the brothers of Ari Jesh speculated on further moves, thinking perhaps a change would also have to be made at the top.