Malankara World

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The People's New Testament by B.W. Johnson on Matthew 17:22-27

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891

22. While they abode in Galilee. Mark 9:30, says: Departing thence (from the vicinity of Mt. Hermon), they passed through Galilee. Compare also, Luke 9:43-45.

23. They were exceeding sorry. Because he said that he must be put to death. There is only grief now, but no remonstrance. [98]

24. When they had come to Capernaum. They had now returned from the journey north. Doth not your master pay tribute? Not tribute, which would be a tax due an alien, but the half shekel, an annual tax demanded of every male Jew above twenty years for the support of the temple. It would be from twenty-five to thirty-five cents, as the shekel is variously estimated from fifty to seventy cents. The collectors were not publicans, but Jewish authorities.

25. He saith, Yea. Peter, as usual, answered before he reflected, and then came to Jesus with the matter. Jesus prevented. Peter came into the house to speak about it, but Christ knew his thoughts and spoke first. Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom? Not of their own children, but from subjects. Hence, Christ, the King's Son, for whom the temple was built, was not subject to tax for the benefit of the temple. The Son of the King would not pay tribute to the King. For the origin of this temple tax, see Exod. 30:12, and 2 Chron. 24:5.

27. Lest we offend them. While not compelled to pay it as a due, he would pay it as a matter of expediency. Sometimes things are expedient for which there is not the letter of the law. Go to the sea. Of Galilee, close at hand. Cast a hook. Peter was a fisherman. Take up the fish that first cometh. A miracle. The Lord by his power would draw the fish that had sought to swallow the coin to Peter's hook. A piece of money. Greek, a stater, corresponding to a shekel, enough for two. The Lord would pay the tax, but in a manner in accord with the Divine dignity.

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