12:13-17 The enemies of Christ would be thought desirous to know their duty, when really they hoped that which soever side he took of the question, they might find occasion to accuse him. Nothing is more likely to insnare the followers of Christ, than bringing them to meddle with disputes about worldly politics. Jesus avoided the snare, by referring to the submission they had already made as a nation; and all that heard him, marvelled at the great wisdom of his answer. Many will praise the words of a sermon, who will not be commanded by the doctrines of it.
15. Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy—"their wickedness" (Mt 22:18); "their craftiness" (Lu 20:23). The malignity of their hearts took the form of craft, pretending what they did not feel—an anxious desire to be guided aright in a matter which to a scrupulous few might seem a question of some difficulty. Seeing perfectly through this,
He said unto them, Why tempt ye me?—"hypocrites!"
bring me a penny that I may see it—"the tribute money" (Mt 22:19).