Poll-tax to Caesar

15 (A)Then the Pharisees went and [a]plotted together how they might trap Him [b]in what He said. 16 And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the (B)Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and [c]do not care what anyone thinks; for You [d]are not partial to anyone. 17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it [e]permissible to pay a [f](C)poll-tax to (D)Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus perceived their [g]malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the (E)coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a [h]denarius. 20 And He *said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21 They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, (F)Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 And hearing this, they were amazed; and (G)they left Him and went away.

Jesus Answers the Sadducees

23 (H)On that day some (I)Sadducees (who say (J)there is no resurrection) came to [i]Jesus and questioned Him, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘(K)If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up [j]children for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us; and the first married and died, and having no [k]children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 It was the same also with the second brother, and the third, down to the seventh. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her in marriage.”

29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, (L)since you do not [l]understand the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither (M)marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 (N)I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 When the crowds heard this, (O)they were astonished at His teaching.

34 (P)But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced (Q)the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, [m](R)a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘(S)You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [n]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘(T)You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 (U)Upon these two commandments [o]hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”

41 (V)Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the [p]Christ? Whose son is He?” They *said to Him, “(W)The son of David.” 43 He *said to them, “Then [q]how does David [r](X)in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

44 (Y)The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at My right hand,
Until I put Your enemies under Your feet”’?

45 Therefore, if David calls Him ‘Lord,’ [s]how is He his son?” 46 (Z)No one was able to offer Him a word in answer, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him any more questions.

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 22:15 Lit took counsel
  2. Matthew 22:15 Lit in word
  3. Matthew 22:16 Lit it is not a concern to You about anyone;
  4. Matthew 22:16 Lit do not look at the face of people
  5. Matthew 22:17 Or lawful; i.e., by Jewish law and tradition
  6. Matthew 22:17 I.e., a tax on each person in the census
  7. Matthew 22:18 Or wickedness
  8. Matthew 22:19 The denarius was a day’s wages for a laborer
  9. Matthew 22:23 Lit Him
  10. Matthew 22:24 Lit seed
  11. Matthew 22:25 Lit seed
  12. Matthew 22:29 Or know
  13. Matthew 22:35 I.e., an expert in the Mosaic Law
  14. Matthew 22:38 Or first
  15. Matthew 22:40 I.e., completely depend
  16. Matthew 22:42 I.e., Messiah
  17. Matthew 22:43 Or in what sense does
  18. Matthew 22:43 I.e., by inspiration
  19. Matthew 22:45 Or in what sense is

Paying Taxes to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees[a] went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words.[b] 16 They sent to him their disciples along with the Herodians,[c] saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful, and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.[d] You do not court anyone’s favor because you show no partiality.[e] 17 Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right[f] to pay taxes[g] to Caesar[h] or not?”

18 But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, “Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” So[i] they brought him a denarius.[j] 20 Jesus[k] said to them, “Whose image[l] is this, and whose inscription?” 21 They replied,[m] “Caesar’s.” He said to them,[n] “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”[o] 22 Now when they heard this they were stunned,[p] and they left him and went away.

Marriage and the Resurrection

23 The same day Sadducees[q] (who say there is no resurrection)[r] came to him and asked him,[s] 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and father children[t] for his brother.’[u] 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children he left his wife to his brother. 26 The second did the same, and the third, down to the seventh. 27 Last[v] of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.”[w] 29 Jesus[x] answered them, “You are deceived,[y] because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels[z] in heaven. 31 Now as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God,[aa] 32 I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?[ab] He is not the God of the dead but of the living!”[ac] 33 When the crowds heard this, they were amazed at his teaching.

The Greatest Commandment

34 Now when the Pharisees[ad] heard that he had silenced the Sadducees,[ae] they assembled together.[af] 35 And one of them, an expert in religious law,[ag] asked him a question to test[ah] him: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”[ai] 37 Jesus[aj] said to him, “‘Love[ak] the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[al] 38 This is the first and greatest[am] commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[an] 40 All the law and the prophets depend[ao] on these two commandments.”

The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord

41 While[ap] the Pharisees[aq] were assembled, Jesus asked them a question:[ar] 42 “What do you think about the Christ?[as] Whose son is he?” They said, “The son of David.”[at] 43 He said to them, “How then does David by the Spirit call him ‘Lord,’ saying,

44 The Lord said to my lord,[au]
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?[av]

45 If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”[aw] 46 No one[ax] was able to answer him a word, and from that day on no one dared to question him any longer.

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 22:15 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
  2. Matthew 22:15 tn Grk “trap him in word.”
  3. Matthew 22:16 sn The Herodians are mentioned in the NT only once in Matt (22:16 = Mark 12:13) and twice in Mark (3:6; 12:13; some mss also read “Herodians” instead of “Herod” in Mark 8:15). It is generally assumed that as a group the Herodians were Jewish supporters of the Herodian dynasty (or of Herod Antipas in particular). In every instance they are linked with the Pharisees. This probably reflects agreement regarding political objectives (nationalism as opposed to submission to the yoke of Roman oppression) rather than philosophy or religious beliefs.
  4. Matthew 22:16 sn Teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Very few comments are as deceitful as this one; they did not really believe this at all. The question of the Pharisees and Herodians was specifically designed to trap Jesus.
  5. Matthew 22:16 tn Grk “And it is not a concern to you about anyone because you do not see the face of men.”
  6. Matthew 22:17 tn Or “lawful,” that is, in accordance with God’s divine law. On the syntax of ἔξεστιν (exestin) with an infinitive and accusative, see BDF §409.3.
  7. Matthew 22:17 tn According to L&N 57.180 the term κῆνσος (kēnsos) was borrowed from Latin and referred to a poll tax, a tax paid by each adult male to the Roman government.sn This question concerning taxes was specifically designed to trap Jesus. If he answered yes, then his opponents could publicly discredit him as a sympathizer with Rome. If he answered no, then they could go to the Roman governor and accuse Jesus of rebellion.
  8. Matthew 22:17 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
  9. Matthew 22:19 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate their response to Jesus’ request for a coin.
  10. Matthew 22:19 tn Here the specific name of the coin was retained in the translation, because not all coins in circulation in Palestine at the time carried the image of Caesar. In other places δηνάριον (dēnarion) has been translated simply as “silver coin” with an explanatory note.sn A denarius was a silver coin worth approximately one day’s wage for a laborer. The fact that they had such a coin showed that they already operated in the economic world of Rome. The denarius would have had a picture of Tiberius Caesar stamped on it.
  11. Matthew 22:20 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  12. Matthew 22:20 tn Or “whose likeness.”sn In this passage Jesus points to the image (Grk εἰκών, eikōn) of Caesar on the coin. This same Greek word is used in Gen 1:26 (LXX) to state that humanity is made in the “image” of God. Jesus is making a subtle yet powerful contrast: Caesar’s image is on the denarius, so he can lay claim to money through taxation, but God’s image is on humanity, so he can lay claim to each individual life.
  13. Matthew 22:21 tn Grk “they said to him.”
  14. Matthew 22:21 tn Grk “then he said to them.” τότε (tote) has not been translated to avoid redundancy.
  15. Matthew 22:21 sn Jesus’ answer to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s was a both/and, not the questioners’ either/or. So he slipped out of their trap.
  16. Matthew 22:22 tn Grk “they were amazed.”
  17. Matthew 22:23 sn See the note on Sadducees in 3:7.
  18. Matthew 22:23 sn This remark is best regarded as a parenthetical note by the author.
  19. Matthew 22:23 tn Grk “and asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  20. Matthew 22:24 tn Grk “and raise up seed,” an idiom for fathering children (L&N 23.59).
  21. Matthew 22:24 sn A quotation from Deut 25:5. This practice is called levirate marriage (see also Ruth 4:1-12; Mishnah, m. Yevamot; Josephus, Ant. 4.8.23 [4.254-256]). The levirate law is described in Deut 25:5-10. The brother of a man who died without a son had an obligation to marry his brother’s widow. This served several purposes: It provided for the widow in a society where a widow with no children to care for her would be reduced to begging, and it preserved the name of the deceased, who would be regarded as the legal father of the first son produced from that marriage.
  22. Matthew 22:27 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  23. Matthew 22:28 tn Grk “For all had her.”
  24. Matthew 22:29 tn Grk “And answering, Jesus said to them.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.
  25. Matthew 22:29 tn Or “mistaken” (cf. BDAG 822 s.v. πλανάω 2.c.γ).
  26. Matthew 22:30 tc Most witnesses have “of God” after “angels,” although some mss read ἄγγελοι θεοῦ (angeloi theou; א L ƒ13 28 33 892 1241 1424) while others have ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ (angeloi tou theou; W Γ Δ 0102 0161 565 579 M). Whether with or without the article, the reading “of God” appears to be a motivated addition. A few significant witnesses lack the adjunct (B D Θ 0233 ƒ1 700 sa); this coupled with strong internal evidence argues for the authenticity of the shorter reading.sn Angels do not die, nor do they eat according to Jewish tradition (1 En. 15:6; 51:4; Wis 5:5; 2 Bar. 51:10; 1QH 3.21-23).
  27. Matthew 22:31 tn Grk “spoken to you by God, saying.” The participle λέγοντος (legontos) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  28. Matthew 22:32 sn A quotation from Exod 3:6.
  29. Matthew 22:32 sn He is not God of the dead but of the living. Jesus’ point was that if God could identify himself as God of the three old patriarchs, then they must still be alive when God spoke to Moses; and so they must be raised.
  30. Matthew 22:34 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
  31. Matthew 22:34 sn See the note on Sadducees in 3:7.
  32. Matthew 22:34 tn Grk “for the same.” That is, for the same purpose that the Sadducees had of testing Jesus.
  33. Matthew 22:35 tn Traditionally, “a lawyer.” This was an expert in the interpretation of the Mosaic law.
  34. Matthew 22:35 tn Grk “testing.” The participle, however, is telic in force.
  35. Matthew 22:36 tn Or possibly “What sort of commandment in the law is great?”
  36. Matthew 22:37 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  37. Matthew 22:37 tn Grk “You will love.” The future indicative is used here with imperatival force (see ExSyn 452 and 569).
  38. Matthew 22:37 sn A quotation from Deut 6:5. The threefold reference to different parts of the person says, in effect, that one should love God with all one’s being.
  39. Matthew 22:38 tn Grk “the great and first.”
  40. Matthew 22:39 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.
  41. Matthew 22:40 tn Grk “hang.” The verb κρεμάννυμι (kremannumi) is used here with a figurative meaning (cf. BDAG 566 s.v. 2.b).
  42. Matthew 22:41 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  43. Matthew 22:41 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
  44. Matthew 22:41 tn Grk “asked them a question, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is somewhat redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  45. Matthew 22:42 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
  46. Matthew 22:42 sn It was a common belief in Judaism that Messiah would be the son of David in that he would come from the lineage of David. On this point the Pharisees agreed and were correct. But their understanding was nonetheless incomplete, for Messiah is also David’s Lord. With this statement Jesus was affirming that, as the Messiah, he is both God and man.
  47. Matthew 22:44 sn The Lord said to my lord. With David being the speaker, this indicates his respect for his descendant (referred to as my lord). Jesus was arguing, as the ancient exposition assumed, that the passage is about the Lord’s anointed. The passage looks at an enthronement of this figure and a declaration of honor for him as he takes his place at the side of God. In Jerusalem, the king’s palace was located to the right of the temple to indicate this kind of relationship. Jesus was pressing the language here to get his opponents to reflect on how great Messiah is.
  48. Matthew 22:44 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1.
  49. Matthew 22:45 tn Grk “how is he his son?”
  50. Matthew 22:46 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.