"By Jesus’ day, Herod had greatly enlarged the temple at Jerusalem. To give you some idea of the size Herod’s temple mount (the temple platform with the colonnades) is 35 acres while David’s City is 13 acres in size. The simplicity of the temple was already beginning to be lost in Solomon’s temple. The tabernacle altar was 3 x 5 cubits. The altar in Solomon’s temple was 32 feet wide and 16 feet tall while Herod the Great’s altar was 45 feet tall!
...Let me summarize a few issues related to the temple. In Jesus’ day the office of the high priest went to the highest bidder. Whichever priestly family could pay Pontius Pilate the most money became the high priest. Most of the priestly families that controlled the temple in Jesus’ day were Sadducees rather than Pharisees. They owned all the shops on the south side of the temple where the buying and selling occurred. Everything was over priced and the priests got kickback commissions on all the buying and selling.
In the temple, people were making a racket out of the worship of God; just as late night TV Christian programs do in this country. Priests during the time of Jesus dedicated the morning offering to the emperor. This was not remembering your rulers in your prayer bur rather dedicating the morning offering to the emperor. There was supposed to be a morning and an evening offering to the Lord. In Herod’s temple, the morning offering was dedicated to the emperor. Religious Jews plugged their ears when the priests said that phrase.
In 66 A.D. when the Zealots drove the Romans from Jerusalem, the first thing they did was to stop the morning offering. As Richard Nixon would say, "To make one thing perfectly clear, this is revolt. There ain’t any prayer dedicating the offering to the emperor." The Bible says, "Thou shalt have a morning and an evening offering." They could have just stopped the prayer dedicating the morning to the emperor and kept the offering, but they wanted to make sure Rome knew this was a rebellion and so they stopped the morning offering completely.
The second thing they did was to kill most of the priests. The Zealots killed most of the priests, which lets you know that the wealthy, priestly aristocracy was completely alienated from the population. It was a very popular thing Jesus did when he turned the moneychangers’ tables over on Palm Sunday. It was not something that only Jesus was thinking about. This would have been greatly acclaimed by most of the people because of the corruption that came to the temple."
Fleming, James W. 2002. Desert Spirituality. Biblical Resources Conference Lecture Series, June., pgs 64-65