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Wesley's Notes on Matthew 17:22-27

22. Mark ix, 30; Luke ix, 44.

24. When they were come to Capernaum - Where our Lord now dwelt. This was the reason why they stayed till he came thither, to ask him for the tribute. Doth not your Master pay tribute? - This was a tribute or payment of a peculiar kind, being half a shekel, (that is, about fifteen pence, ) which every master of a family used to pay yearly to the service of the temple, to buy salt, and little things not otherwise provided for. It seems to have been a voluntary thing, which custom rather than any law had established.

25. Jesus prevented him - Just when St. Peter was going to ask him for it. Of their own sons, or of strangers? - That is, such as are not of their own family.

26. Then are the sons free - The sense is, This is paid for the use of the house of God. But I am the Son of God. Therefore I am free from any obligation of paying this to my own Father.

27. Yet that, we may not offend them - Even those unjust, unreasonable men, who claim what they have no manner of right to: do not contest it with them, bat rather yield to their demand, than violate peace or love. O what would not one of a loving spirit do for peace! Any thing which is not expressly forbidden in the word of God. A piece of money - The original word is a stater, which was in value two shillings and sixpence: just the sum that was wanted. Give for me and thee - Peter had a family of his own: the other apostles were the family of Jesus. How illustrious a degree of knowledge and power did our Lord here discover! Knowledge, penetrating into this animal, though beneath the waters; and power, in directing this very fish to Peter's hook, though he himself was at a distance! How must this have encouraged both him and his brethren in a firm dependence on Divine Providence.

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