Christ decided to pay the tax, and showed Peter that the act formed part of the self-abasement to which, conscious of his own dignity, he submitted himself during his earthly life. He illustrated this by a comparison drawn from human relations. As kings do not tax their own children, so the Messiah, the Son of God and Theocratic King, for whose appearance the whole Temple discipline was but preparatory, was not bound to pay this purely ecclesiastical tax; his relations to the Theocracy were against it. Had the Jews known him for what he was, viz., the Messiah, they would not have asked him to pay it.  But since they did not, he wished to afford them no occasion, even from their own stand-point, to accuse him as a violator of the law. He places himself on a footing with them, as to the duties devolving upon subordinate members of the Theocracy. Nor did he work a miracle to procure the tribute -- money, but directed Peter to make use of the means which his trade supplied. In a place where fishing was the common trade of the people, it was not likely that the first fish caught would be worth the whole sum needed; but an unusual blessing of Providence, as Christ well knew, attended the effort. The very first fish caught was to supply the means; a stater, which it had swallowed, was found within it.
By his procedure in this case, Christ taught the Apostles that they were not to claim all their rights, but to submit in all cases where regard to the needs of others required it; and, further, that they might look with confidence for the blessing of God upon the means employed by them to comply with such demands. It is worthy of note that this lesson was given to Peter, in whose name a course of conduct precisely opposed to that which it conveyed was often practiced in after ages.
 This account suits well to the historical connexion in which it occurs, Matt., xvii., 24, but then we cannot take the month Adar strictly. If this last cannot be allowed, we must place the occurrence immediately after the feeding of the 5000; as the multitude then wished to proclaim Jesus as Messiah, the collectors might well doubt of his paying the tax. We cannot think, with Wieseler, that the tax was due to the Empire, for the whole import of the narrative turns upon its being a Temple tax, and not a political one.  De Wette's remarks on the duty of obedience to magistrates, referring to Rom., xiii., 6 are not applicable here; the relation involved in this case was the Theocratic-political relation, which was to be abolished by Christ, with the whole form of that Theocracy.
 De Wette's remarks on the duty of obedience to magistrates, referring to Rom., xiii., 6 are not applicable here; the relation involved in this case was the Theocratic-political relation, which was to be abolished by Christ, with the whole form of that Theocracy.