In John chapter 2, Jesus drove away the animal sellers and money changers. How did these kind of activities start in the temple? It seems that they did not come into existence in the pages of the OT? -- Heymans (Hong Kong)
They were just trying to make a profit, but desecrating the temple in the process. People bought animals to sacrifice when they lived too far away. The sellers made a nice commission!
I think I relate. Today I got ripped off. I was at the airport in Milan, changing $100 into pounds sterling. But automatically they charged a double commission (dollars into euros, euros into sterling), so I got only 40 pounds. I should have had a lot, lot more. It was just wrong. Like what was happening at the temple, it was profiteering plain and simple.
As for when this devious practice started, maybe take a look at http://www.biblehistory.net/volume2/Annas.htm or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_the_Money_Changers.