|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, but to evil-doers. Such is the power of sin and corruption, that many will be kept back from crimes only by the fear of punishment. Thou hast the benefit of the government, therefore do what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it. This directs private persons to behave quietly and peaceably where God has set them, 1Ti 2:1,2. Christians must not use any trick or fraud. All smuggling, dealing in contraband goods, withholding or evading duties, is rebellion against the express command of God. Thus honest neighbours are robbed, who will have to pay the more; and the crimes of smugglers, and others who join with them, are abetted. It is painful that some professors of the gospel should countenance such dishonest practices. The lesson here taught it becomes all Christians to learn and practise, that the godly in the land will always be found the quiet and the peaceable in the land, whatever others are.
Verse 7. - Render to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Whatever, either by law or by the constituted order of society, may be due to any, in the way of deference and honour, as well as payments, Christians, as members of society, are bound to render.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Render therefore to all their dues,.... To all princes, magistrates, and officers, that are placed over us, from the supreme governor to the lowest officer under him, should we render as a due debt, and not as a mere gift, whatever belongs to them, or is proper for them for the due discharge of their office, to encourage in it, and support the dignity of it, whether external or internal:
tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom. These two words include all sorts of levies, taxes, subsidies, &c. and the former may particularly design what is laid on men's persons and estates, as poll money, land tax, &c. and the latter, what arises from the exportation and importation of goods, to and from foreign parts:
fear to whom fear; not of punishment; for a good subject has no reason to fear the civil magistrate in this sense, only the man that does evil, the malefactor; as for the good neighbour, citizen, and subject, he loves the magistrate the more, the more diligent he is in putting the laws in execution against wicked men; but this is to be understood of a fear of offending, and especially of a reverence bore in the mind, and expressed by outward actions, and such as has going with it a cheerful obedience to all lawful commands:
honour to whom honour; there is an honour due to all men, according to their respective rank and station, and the relation they stand in to each other; so servants are to honour their masters, children their parents, wives their husbands, and subjects their princes; all inferior magistrates are to be honoured in their place, and more especially the king as supreme, in thought, word, and gesture; see 1 Peter 2:17.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Render therefore to all their dues—From magistrates the apostle now comes to other officials, and from them to men related to us by whatever tie.
fear—reverence for superiors.
honour—the respect due to persons of distinction.
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