Market, Market Place

MARKET, MARKET PLACE (Heb. מַעֲרָב֒, H5114, Gr. ἀγορά, G59). There is little mention of market places in the OT, and the character of them would resemble those described in the gospels (see below). The usage in Psalm 55:11 (רְחֹב֒, H8148, KJV “streets”) is metaphorical.

It is necessary to distinguish between the references in the gospels and those in Acts. Although the primary meaning of the Gr. term (“place of assembly”) is applicable, the market places of the gospels are typically neareastern rather than Gr., much like the bazaars of present-day oriental towns. Not only were they used for buying and selling of goods, but a variety of other activities centered there: children engaged in their sports in the open places (Matt 11:16; Luke 7:32); the hiring of laborers took place (Matt 20:3); it was a place for exchange of greetings (Matt 23:7; Luke 11:43); the sick were brought for healing (Mark 6:56).

The two market places mentioned in Acts were in Gr. cities, and were typically Hellenic: surrounded by colonnades, temples, and public buildings, and adorned with statues they were centers of public life, lending themselves to such uses as the holding of trials (Acts 16:19) and as centers for public disputation (17:17).