The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering to the LORD…
'The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel....' -- EXODUS xxx.15.
This tax was exacted on numbering the people. It was a very small amount, about fifteen pence, so it was clearly symbolical in its significance. Notice --
I. The broad principle of equality of all souls in the sight of God. Contrast the reign of caste and class in heathendom with the democracy of Judaism and of Christianity.
II. The universal sinfulness. Payment of the tax was a confession that all were alike in this: not that all were equally sinful, but all were sinful, whatever variations of degree might exist.
'There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.'
III. The one ransom. It was a prophecy of which we know the meaning. Recall the incident of the 'stater' in the fish's mouth.
Christ declares His exemption from the tax. Yet He voluntarily comes under it, and He provides the payment of it for Himself and for Peter.
He does so by a miracle.
The Apostle has to 'take and give it'; so faith is called into exercise.
Thus there is but one Sacrifice for all; and the poorest can exercise faith and the richest can do no more. 'None other name.'
Parallel VersesKJV: The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.