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17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it permissible [according to Jewish law and tradition] to pay a [a]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, “[[b]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.” 22 When they heard this, they were caught off guard, and they left Him and went away.

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 22:17 Every Jew was required to pay the poll-tax. It was considered a sign of subservience to Rome.
  2. 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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