A. King James:

24: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and saith, Doth not your master pay tribute?

25: He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

26: Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27: Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

B. New American Standard:

24: And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?"

25: He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?"

26: And upon his saying, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Consequently the sons are exempt.

27: "But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."

C. The Book:

24: On their arrival in Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, "Doesn't your master pay taxes?"

25: "Of course he does," Peter replied. Then he went into the house to talk to Jesus about it, but before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, "What do you think, Peter? Do kings levy assessments against their own people, or against conquered foreigners?"

26: "Against the foreigners," Peter replied. "Well then," Jesus said, "the citizens are free!

27: "However, we don't want to offend them, so go down to the shore and throw in a line, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin to cover the taxes for both of us; take it and pay them."

D. Good News for Modern Man:

24: When Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked, "Does your teacher pay the Temple tax?"

25. "Of course," Peter answered. When Peter went into the house, Jesus spoke up first: "Simon, what is your opinion? Who pays duties or taxes to the kings of this world? The citizens of the country or the foreigners?"

26: "The foreigners," answered Peter. "Well then," replied Jesus, "that means that the citizens don't have to pay.

27: "But we don't want to offend these people. So go to the lake and drop in a line; pull up the first fish you hook, and in its mouth you will find a coin worth enough for my Temple tax and yours; take it and pay them our taxes."

E. New International Version:

24: After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

25: "Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes - from their own sons or from others?"

26: "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him.

27: But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

F. The New Testament in the Language of the People, by Charles B. Williams:

When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and asked, "Does your Teacher pay the temple tax?"

He answered, "Yes."

When Jesus reached home -- He got there ahead of Simon -- He asked him, "What do you think about it, Simon?  From whom do civil rulers collect duties or taxes, from their own citizens of from aliens?"

He answered, "From aliens."

Jesus said to him, "So their own citizens are exempt, but still, that we may not influence them to do anything wrong, go down to the sea and throw over a hook.  Pull in the first fish that bites, open its mouth and you will find in it a dollar.  Take it and pay the tax for both of us."


The charges against Jesus included telling others not to pay taxes to the Emperor; see Luke 23:2.

Roman Citizens: Acts 16:37-38.

 Some interesting cases regarding taxes imposed in the insular possessions:

DeLima v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 1, 21 S.Ct. 743 (1901), and Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 21 S.Ct. 770 (1901).

Please examine Form W-7, which is used to obtain a "taxpayer identification number." There are only 3 such forms, one in Spanish, another for adoption of children; both of these are irrelevant for a domestic American. The third and final form can only be used by one who is not a citizen.

 Some History:

 The following is an interesting tidbit of pre-revolutionary American history which in fact is based upon Matthew 17. The Brits had a schooner, the Gaspee, which plagued Rhode Island. The colonists burned it and the justification for doing so was based upon this Biblical admonition. The following is a short explanation of the destruction of the Gaspee, taken from the Net:

    "The taking of the schooner Gaspee, eight guns, commanded by Lieutenant Duddington, at Gaspee Point, R.I., on June 9, 1772, has been held to be the first assault against the crown, but erroneously, for it in nowise differs in principle from the act of firing upon the schooner St. John in July, 1764; the seizure of the Maidstone's boat at Newport in May, 1765, or the scuttling of the British armed sloop Liberty at Newport, in 1769. All were directed against the vessels of the British navy carrying the king's colors, but they were directed against the particular vessel that suffered on account of real injuries to the participants or to the community, and not from any uprising against the general authority of Great Britain. Arnold states in his account of the destruction of the Gaspee that 'Lieut. Duddington, the commander, had practiced every arrogance upon vessels in the bay, detaining them often without a colorable pretext, stopping even market boats, and in some cases plundering people on shore.' "
The following are several excerpts from John Allen's "An Oration, Upon the Beauties of LIBERTY, of the essential RIGHTS of the AMERICANS" delivered "at the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Upon the last Annual THANKSGIVING."
    "My Lord, I hope I need not remind your Lordship of the inquiry that the divine Messiah made to Peter, when they required a tax, or tribute, from him. Of whom, says CHRIST, to Peter, do they gather tax, or tribute, of the children, or of strangers? And Peter said of strangers. Then, says CHRIST, the children are free. Now, the Gaspee schooner, my Lord, was a stranger; and they should, if it was in their commission, have gathered tax from strangers: But instead of which, they would have gathered it from the children. They forgot that children were free: Therefore, my Lord, must it certainly be, that Gaspee schooner has committed the transgression & broke the laws, of the freedom of this country. No doubt, my Lord, but they have a right to tax the strangers, that come to dwell in their country; but to tax the children, which are free in their own native country, this will not do! Nature forbids it; the law of GOD condemns it. And no law, but that of tyranny, can desire it.

    "And therefore it was, my Lord, that the children (who are by the law of GOD, and the law of nature free), looked upon the Gaspee schooner as stranger, as such they treated her; but when the schooner as a stranger, attempted to gather tax of the children who are free then they looked upon her, as a pirate, who took away their property without their consent, by violence, by arms, by guns, by oaths and damnations: This they thought looked so like piracy, that the children did not like it; and they thought their behavior as strangers, was very unpolite, that they could not so much as pass by these strangers, but the children must bow to them, and come to them; this, the children being free, did not like, and they thought was best for the children, and the strangers, all to be free: And therefore, one night, my Lord they went and set the strangers (who, by the way, were all prisoners), free-free, they burnt their prison. Now, my Lord, would it not be hard to hang these poor men for it?

    "....That kings are made for the people, and not the people for them. Was not David made a king for the people? Was not Saul? Was not Solomon? Then let not kings think too highly of themselves; for the GOD of heaven never intended they should be any more than the servants of the people;....

    " dear Americans, you think hard to pay duties for teas, imports, clearances, entries, etc. etc. But what will you farmers and landholders think, of paying a fixed tax for every acre of land you enjoy? for every apple tree you rear? for every barrel of cider you make, for every pound of candles you burn? for every pound of soap  you use, for every pair of shoes you wear, for the light of the morning, and the sun that a kind heaven gives you; what do you think of paying a continual tax for all these? this is contain'd in the mischievous design. Stand alarm'd, O ye Americans."

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Last revision: August 14, 2009 08:07 AM
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