Matthew 17:24
Parallel Verses
New International Version
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

New Living Translation
On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the Temple tax?"

English Standard Version
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”

New American Standard Bible
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?"

King James Bible
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the double-drachma tax approached Peter and said, "Doesn't your Teacher pay the double-drachma tax?""

International Standard Version
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came up to Peter and asked, "Your teacher pays the temple tax, doesn't he?"

NET Bible
After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn't he?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And when they came to Kapernahum, those who take the two-each quarter-shekels head tax came to Kaypha and said to him: “Does not your Rabbi pay the two quarter-shekels?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter. They asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when they were come to Capernaum, those that received the two drachmas came to Peter and said, Does not your master pay the two drachmas?

King James 2000 Bible
And when they came to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Does not your teacher pay tribute?

American King James Version
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Does not your master pay tribute?

American Standard Version
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received the half-shekel came to Peter, and said, Doth not your teacher pay the half-shekel?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when they were come to Capharnaum, they that recieved the didrachmas, came to Peter and said to him: Doth not your master pay the didrachmas?

Darby Bible Translation
And when they came to Capernaum, those who received the didrachmas came to Peter and said, Does your teacher not pay the didrachmas?

English Revised Version
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received the half-shekel came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay the half-shekel?

Webster's Bible Translation
And when they had come to Capernaum, they that received tribute-money, came to Peter, and said, Doth not your Master pay tribute?

Weymouth New Testament
After their arrival at Capernaum the collectors of the half-shekel came and asked Peter, "Does not your Teacher pay the half-shekel?"

World English Bible
When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"

Young's Literal Translation
And they having come to Capernaum, those receiving the didrachms came near to Peter, and said, 'Your teacher -- doth he not pay the didrachms?' He saith, 'Yes.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

17:24-27 Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offence; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offence. However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter's hook. The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 24-27. - The coin in the fish's mouth. This is one of the three miracles of our Lord which are peculiar to this Gospel St. Matthew seems to concern himself particularly with matters which present Jesus as King-Messiah; and this occurrence was in his view specially notable, as herein Christ claimed for himself a royal position - Son in his Father's house. Verse 24. - Capernaum. Once more before the final scene he visited the spot so dear to his human heart - "his own city." They that received tribute money (οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες). This is an unfortunate rendering, as it may be taken to countenance an erroneous view of the demanded impost, found in many ancient and some modern commentaries, which vitiates their whole interpretation. According to this opinion, the tribute was a civil payment, like the denarius of Matthew 22:19, levied by the Roman government, or a capitation tax imposed by Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee (of which tax, however, we have no historical proof). That this is a misunderstanding is plain from many considerations. In the first place, the collectors are not τελῶναι, publicans, but quite another set of people, called they that received the didrachmas. Again, the officers of government would not have made their demand mildly in an interrogative form, "Doth not your Master," etc.? but would have exhibited that violent and offensive behaviour which made them so hated among the Jews. The political tax is never termed didrachma, but always census, as in Matthew 22:17, 19; nor could Jesus have given the answer which is reported below, if the tax had been one levied in the interest of any earthly monarch, be it Caesar or Herod. The didrachma is a term denoting a well known rate, concerning which we have full information from many sources - biblical, Talmudic, and traditional. The didrachma was a silver coin equal to two Attic drachms, or, in Jewish money, to one half shekel of the sanctuary - something under our florin in weight. It was the amount of an ecclesiastical rate levied for religious purposes. Originally (Exodus 30:13, etc.) exacted as an acknowledgment and a thank offering, a ransom, as it were, for the lives rescued from Egypt, it had been used in the wilderness in providing the framework of the tabernacle and the ornamentation of its pillars. Based on this practice arose a custom that every male Israelite of twenty years old and upwards should annually contribute to the temple treasury the sum of a half shekel. Dr. Edersheim reckons the tribute in our Lord's time to have been equivalent to £75,000 per annum. The money was stored in the temple treasury, and was expended partly in the purchase of the daily sacrifices, victims, incense, etc., in the payment of rabbis and other officials connected with the temple, in maintaining the efficiency of the water supply, and in keeping in repair the vast and magnificent buildings in the temple area. After all this outlay, there was always a large sum in hand, which proved a strong temptation to the greed of conquerors, and the sacred coffers were often plundered; and even after many previous spoliations, we read that Crassus ( B.C. 54) carried off no less than two and a half millions sterling. The tax was due by the twenty-fifth of the month Adar (equivalent to February March), and the collectors who were appointed to or took upon themselves the office, opened stalls in; every country town for the reception of the money. For many centuries the rate was of a voluntary nature, considered, indeed, a religious duty, and to be evaded by no one, Pharisee or Sadducee, who wished to be regarded as an orthodox believer, but its payment had not been secured by any legal process. Lately, indeed, the penalty of distraint had been enacted in order to obtain the tax from defaulters; but it is doubtful whether this was generally enforced. Possibly the appointed day had now arrived, and the collectors thought right to stir in the matter. Came to Peter. They applied to Peter instead of directly to Christ, perhaps out of respect for the latter, and from a certain awe with which he inspired them. Besides, Peter was their fellow townsman, and they doubtless knew him well His natural impulsiveness might have induced him to answer the call. It may also have been his own house, the other eleven being apparently staying with other friends, and Jesus with him ("me and thee," ver. 27). We may suppose that Jesus had complied with the demand on former occasions, when sojourning in his Galilaean home, so that the present application was only natural. Doth not your Master (o( Dida/skalo u(mw = n, your Teacher) pay tribute (the didrachma)? Perhaps the form of the question might be better rendered, "Your Teacher pays the two drachms, does he not?" The pronoun "your" is plural, because they recognized that Jesus was at the head of a band of disciples, who would be influenced by his example. We may in this inquiry see other motives besides the obvious one. If Jesus paid the rate now without question, he would prove that he was nothing more than an ordinary Jew, with no claim to a higher origin or a Divine mission. Though not a priest or Levite, Jesus might have claimed exemption as a recognized rabbi, and the collectors may have desired to ascertain whether he would do this. There was, too, at this time a sect which, in its furious patriotism, refused to contribute aught to the temple so long as the holy city was profaned by the presence of the heathen. Did Christ belong to this body? And would he carry out their programme? If from any cause he declined the contribution, this abstention would give a handle to those who were not prepared to endorse his claims: the breach of such a generally recognized obligation would raise a prejudice against him, and weaken the effect of his acts and teaching. Some such motives may have contributed to inspire the question now asked.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And when they were come to Capernaum,.... Called Christ's own city, Matthew 9:1 where he dwelt some time Matthew 4:13 and Peter had an house, Matthew 8:14 "they that received tribute money", or the "didrachms"; in Talmudic language, it would be (i), "they that collect the shekels": for not the publicans, or Roman tax gatherers are meant; nor is this to be understood of any such tribute: there was a tribute that was paid to Caesar, by the Jews; see Matthew 22:17 but that is expressed by another word, and was paid in other money, in Roman money, which bore Caesar's image and superscription; and was exacted of them, whether they would or not: but this designs the collection of the half shekel, paid yearly for the service of the temple: the original of this custom, was an order of the Lord to Moses, upon numbering the people; that everyone that was twenty years of age and upwards, should give half a shekel as atonement money, or as a ransom for his soul; which was to be disposed of for the service of the tabernacle, Exodus 30:12. This does not appear to have been designed for a perpetual law, or to be paid yearly; nor even whenever the number of the people was taken, but only for that present time: in the time of Joash king of Judah, a collection was set on foot for the repair of the temple; and the collection of Moses in the wilderness, was urged as an argument, and by way of example; nor is any mention made of the half shekel, nor was any sum of money fixed they should pay; but, according to the account, it was entirely free and voluntary. In the time of Nehemiah, there was a yearly charge of the "third" part of a "shekel", for the service of the temple; but this was not done by virtue of a divine order, or any law of Moses, with which it did not agree; but by an ordinance the Jews then made for themselves, as their necessity required. Aben Ezra (k) indeed says, that this was an addition to the half shekel. Now in process of time, from these instances and examples, it became a fixed thing, that every year an half shekel should be paid by every Israelite, excepting women, children, and servants, towards defraying the necessary charges of the temple service, and this obtained in Christ's time. There is a whole tract in the Jewish Misna, called Shekalim; in which an account is given of the persons who are obliged to pay this money, the time and manner of collecting it, and for what uses it is put: and so it continued till the times of Titus Vespasian, who, as Josephus says (l), laid a tax of two drachms, the same with the half shekel, upon the Jews; and ordered it to be brought yearly into the capitol at Rome, as it used to have been paid into the temple at Jerusalem. We need not wonder that we hear of receivers of the half shekel at Capernaum; since once a year, on the "fifteenth" of the month Adar, tables were placed, and collectors sat in every city in Judea, as they did on the "twenty fifth" of the same month, in the sanctuary (m). The value of the half shekel, was about "fifteen pence" of our money. The Syriac version renders the word here used, "two zuzim of head money": now a "zuz" with the Jews, answered to a Roman penny, four of which made a "shekel" (n); so that two of them were the value of an half "shekel"; it is further to be observed, that shekels in Judea, were double the value of those in Galilee, where Christ now was: five "shekels" in Judea, went for ten in Galilee, and so ten for twenty (o). The receivers of this money

came to Peter; not caring to go to Christ himself; but observing Peter a forward and active man among his disciples, they applied to him; or rather, because he had an house in this place, at which Christ might be:

and said, doth not your master pay tribute? or the "didrachms", the half "shekel" money. Had this been the Roman tribute, the reason of such a question might have been either to have ensnared him, and to have known whether he was of the same mind with Judas, of Galilee, that refused to pay tribute to Caesar; or because they could not tell whether he was reckoned as an inhabitant, or citizen of that city; for, according to the Jewish canons (p), a man must be twelve months in a place, before he is liable to tribute and taxes; or because they might suspect him to be exempted, as a doctor, or teacher for the Jewish doctors, wise men, and scholars, were freed from all tribute and taxes (q) even from the "head money", the Syriac version here mentions; and which was a civil tax paid to kings (r); to which sense that version seems to incline: the rule concerning wise men or scholars, is this (s).

"They do not collect of them for the building a wall, or setting up gates, or for the hire of watchmen, and such like things; nor for the king's treasury; nor do they oblige them to give tribute, whether it is fixed upon citizens, or whether it is fixed on every man.''

But this was not the Roman tax, nor tribute, on any civil account, but the half shekel for religious service: and it may seem strange that such a question should be asked; and especially since it is a rule with them (t), that

"all are bound to give the half shekel, priests, Levites, and Israelites; and the strangers, or proselytes, and servants, that are made free; but not women, nor servants, nor children; though if they gave, they received it of them.''

But a following canon (u) explains it, and accounts for it: on the fifteenth

"(i.e. of the month Adar,) the collectors sit in every province or city, (that is, in the countries,) , "and mildly ask everyone": he that gives to them, they receive it of him; and he that does not give, , "they do not oblige him to give": on the five and twentieth they sit in the sanctuary to collect, and from hence and onward, they urge him that will not give, until he gives; and everyone that will not give, they take pawns of him.''

So that it seems, there was a different usage of persons, at different times and places: our Lord being in Galilee at Capernaum, was treated in this manner.

(i) Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 2. sect. 4. (k) In Neh. x. 32. (l) De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 20. (m) Misn. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 3. Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 9. (n) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 11. 2. Vid. Targum & Kimchi in 1 Sam. 3. Maimon. in Misn. Shekalim, c. 2. 4. & Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 3.((o) Misn. Trumot, c. 10. sect. 8. & Cetubot, c. 5. sect. 9. T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 59. 1.((p) T. Hieros. Bava Bathra, fol. 12. 4. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 8. 1.((q) Maimon. & Bartenora in Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 5. (r) Gloss. in T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 100. 2. & Nedarim, fol. 62. 2. & Bava Metzia, fol. 73. 2.((s) Maimon Talmud Tora, c. 6. 10. (t) Ib. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 7. (u) Ib. sect. 9.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Mt 17:24-27. The Tribute Money.

The time of this section is evidently in immediate succession to that of the preceding one. The brief but most pregnant incident which it records is given by Matthew alone—for whom, no doubt, it would have a peculiar interest, from its relation to his own town and his own familiar lake.

24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money—the double drachma; a sum equal to two Attic drachmas, and corresponding to the Jewish "half-shekel," payable, towards the maintenance of the temple and its services, by every male Jew of twenty years old and upward. For the origin of this annual tax, see Ex 30:13, 14; 2Ch 24:6, 9. Thus, it will be observed, it was not a civil, but an ecclesiastical tax. The tax mentioned in Mt 17:25 was a civil one. The whole teaching of this very remarkable scene depends upon this distinction.

came to Peter—at whose house Jesus probably resided while at Capernaum. This explains several things in the narrative.

and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?—The question seems to imply that the payment of this tax was voluntary, but expected; or what, in modern phrase, would be called a "voluntary assessment."

Matthew 17:24 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Temple Tax
24When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" 25He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?"…
Cross References
Exodus 30:13
Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD.

Exodus 38:26
one beka per person, that is, half a shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, from everyone who had crossed over to those counted, twenty years old or more, a total of 603,550 men.

Nehemiah 10:32
"We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God:

Matthew 5:46
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
Treasury of Scripture

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Does not your master pay tribute?

when.

Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What …

tribute. 'Gr. didrachma, in value fifteen pence.'

Exodus 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, …

Exodus 38:26 A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of …

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