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Tribute to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went and conspired together plotting how to trap Him by [distorting] what He said.(A) 16 They sent their disciples to Him, along with the [a]Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are sincere and that You teach the way of God truthfully, without concerning Yourself about [what] anyone [thinks or says of Your teachings]; for You are impartial and do not seek anyone’s favor [and You treat all people alike, regardless of status]. 17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it permissible [according to Jewish law and tradition] to pay a [b]poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, asked, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius [a day’s wage]. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “[[c]The Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 22:16 A Jewish political party loyal to Herod. The Pharisees, who strongly opposed Herod and Roman rule, and the Herodians, who were strong allies of Herod and Rome, set aside their political differences in order to conspire together against Jesus.
  2. Matthew 22:17 Every Jew was required to pay the poll-tax. It was considered a sign of subservience to Rome.
  3. Matthew 22:21 Tiberius Caesar came to the throne after the death of his stepfather, Augustus, in a.d. 14 and ruled the Roman Empire until his death in a.d. 37. He was a brilliant military general, but an incompetent, irresponsible ruler. Most biblical references to “Caesar” refer to Tiberius.

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