15 Then the Pharisees went and conspired together plotting how to trap Him by [distorting] what He said.16 They sent their disciples to Him, along with the [a]Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are sincere and that You teach the way of God truthfully, without concerning Yourself about [what] anyone [thinks or says of Your teachings]; for You are impartial and do not seek anyone’s favor [and You treat all people alike, regardless of status]. 17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it permissible [according to Jewish law and tradition] to pay a [b]poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, asked, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?19 Show me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius [a day’s wage]. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”21 They said, “[[c]The Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”22 When they heard this, they were caught off guard, and they left Him and went away.
Matthew 22:16A Jewish political party loyal to Herod. The Pharisees, who strongly opposed Herod and Roman rule, and the Herodians, who were strong allies of Herod and Rome, set aside their political differences in order to conspire together against Jesus.
Matthew 22:17Every Jew was required to pay the poll-tax. It was considered a sign of subservience to Rome.
Matthew 22:21Tiberius Caesar came to the throne after the death of his stepfather, Augustus, in a.d. 14 and ruled the Roman Empire until his death in a.d. 37. He was a brilliant military general, but an incompetent, irresponsible ruler. Most biblical references to “Caesar” refer to Tiberius.
20 So they watched [for a chance to trap] Him. They sent spies who pretended to be upright and sincere, in order that they might catch Him in some statement [that they could distort and use against Him], so that they could turn Him over to the control and authority of [Pilate] the governor.21 They asked Him, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and that You show no partiality to anyone, but teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Is it lawful [according to Jewish law and tradition] for us to pay taxes (tribute money) to [a]Caesar or not?” 23 But He saw through their trickery and said to them, 24 “Show Me a [Roman] denarius. Whose image and inscription does the coin have?” They answered, “[the Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”26 They were not able to seize on anything He said in the presence of the people; and being unnerved at His reply, they were silent.
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