Matthew 17:24
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Does not your master pay tribute?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) They that received tribute money.—The word for tribute here is didrachma, and differs from that of Matthew 17:25; Matthew 22:17. The latter is the census, or Roman poll-tax; the former was the Temple-rate, paid by every male Israelite above the age of twenty (Exodus 30:13-16; 2Chronicles 24:9). It was fixed at a half-shekel a head, and the shekel being reckoned as equal to four Attic drachmæ, was known technically as the didrachma (Jos. Ant. iii. 8, § 2). It was collected even from the Jews in foreign countries, was paid into the Corban, or treasury of the Temple, and was used to defray the expenses of its services. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Vespasian ordered that it should still be collected as before, and, as if adding insult to injury, be paid to the fund for rebuilding the Temple of the Capitoline Jupiter (Jos. Wars, vii. 6, § 6). The three great festivals of the Jewish year were recognised as proper times for payment; and the relation of this narrative to John 7 makes it probable that the collectors were now calling in for the Feast of Tabernacles the payments that had not been made at the Passover or Pentecost previous. Their question implies that they half-thought that the Prophet of Nazareth had evaded or would disclaim payment. They were looking out for another transgression of the law, and as soon as He entered Capernaum (though He still held aloof from any public ministry), they tracked Him, probably to Peter’s house, and put the question to His disciple. The narrative is remarkable both in itself and as found only in St. Matthew.

Matthew 17:24-27. When they were come to Capernaum — Where our Lord now dwelt. Hence the collectors of the sacred tribute did not ask him for it till he came to this the ordinary place of his residence. They that received the tribute-money came to Peter — Whose house was in Capernaum, and probably in his house Jesus now lodged, and therefore he was the most fit to be spoken to as being the house-keeper, and they presumed he knew his Master’s mind. And said, 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. He (Peter) saith, Yes — My Master pays tribute. It is his practice to pay it, and I doubt not that he will pay it now. And when he came into the house Jesus prevented him — Just when Peter was going to ask him for it: Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom, &c. — Of whom are they accustomed to take it? Of their children, &c. — Of their own families, or of others? Peter saith — Of strangers — Of persons not belonging to their families. Jesus saith, Then are the children free — From any such demand. The sense is, This tribute 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. Lest we should offend them — That is, give them occasion to say that I despise the temple and its service, and teach my disciples so to do; go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, &c. — He sends Peter to the lake with a line and a hook, telling him, that in the mouth of the first fish that came up, he should find a stater, (στατηρα) a Grecian piece of money so called, equal to two didrachma, or one shekel of Jewish money, the sum required for himself and Peter; Peter having a family of his own, and the other apostles being 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 Peter and his brethren in a firm dependance on Divine Providence! “Jesus chose to provide this tribute-money by a miracle, either because the disciple who carried the bag was absent, or because he had not as much money as was necessary. Further, he chose to provide it by this particular miracle, rather than any other, because it was of such a kind as to demonstrate that he was the Son of the Great Monarch worshipped in the temple, who rules the universe. Wherefore, in the very manner of his paying this tax, he showed Peter that he was free from all taxes; and at the same time gave his followers this useful lesson, that, in matters which affect their property in a smaller degree, it is better to recede somewhat from their just rights, than, by stubbornly insisting on them, to offend their brethren, or disturb the state.” — Macknight. 17:24-27 Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offence; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offence. However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter's hook. The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.And when they were come to Capernaum - See the notes at Matthew 4:13.

They that received tribute - In the original this is, they who received the didrachma, or double drachma. The drachma was a Grecian coin worth about fifteen cents (7 1/2 d.) of British money. The didrachma, or double drachma, was a silver coin equal to the Attic drachma, and, in the time of Josephus, equal to the Jewish half shekel, that is, about 30 cents (circa 1880's). This tribute, consisting of the didrachma or double drachma, was not paid to the Roman government, but to the Jewish collectors for the use of the temple service. It was permitted in the law of Moses (see Exodus 30:11-16) that in numbering the people half a shekel should be received of each man for the services of religion. This was in addition to the tithes paid by the whole nation, and seems to have been considered as a voluntary offering. It was devoted to the purchase of animals for the daily sacrifice, wood, flour, salt, incense, etc., for the use of the temple.

Doth not your master pay tribute? - This tribute was voluntary, and they therefore asked him whether he was in the habit of paying taxes for the support of the temple. Peter replied that it was his custom to pay all the usual taxes of the nation.

Mt 17:24-27. The Tribute Money.

The time of this section is evidently in immediate succession to that of the preceding one. The brief but most pregnant incident which it records is given by Matthew alone—for whom, no doubt, it would have a peculiar interest, from its relation to his own town and his own familiar lake.

24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money—the double drachma; a sum equal to two Attic drachmas, and corresponding to the Jewish "half-shekel," payable, towards the maintenance of the temple and its services, by every male Jew of twenty years old and upward. For the origin of this annual tax, see Ex 30:13, 14; 2Ch 24:6, 9. Thus, it will be observed, it was not a civil, but an ecclesiastical tax. The tax mentioned in Mt 17:25 was a civil one. The whole teaching of this very remarkable scene depends upon this distinction.

came to Peter—at whose house Jesus probably resided while at Capernaum. This explains several things in the narrative.

and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?—The question seems to imply that the payment of this tax was voluntary, but expected; or what, in modern phrase, would be called a "voluntary assessment."

See Poole on "Matthew 17:27". And when they were come to Capernaum,.... Called Christ's own city, Matthew 9:1 where he dwelt some time Matthew 4:13 and Peter had an house, Matthew 8:14 "they that received tribute money", or the "didrachms"; in Talmudic language, it would be (i), "they that collect the shekels": for not the publicans, or Roman tax gatherers are meant; nor is this to be understood of any such tribute: there was a tribute that was paid to Caesar, by the Jews; see Matthew 22:17 but that is expressed by another word, and was paid in other money, in Roman money, which bore Caesar's image and superscription; and was exacted of them, whether they would or not: but this designs the collection of the half shekel, paid yearly for the service of the temple: the original of this custom, was an order of the Lord to Moses, upon numbering the people; that everyone that was twenty years of age and upwards, should give half a shekel as atonement money, or as a ransom for his soul; which was to be disposed of for the service of the tabernacle, Exodus 30:12. This does not appear to have been designed for a perpetual law, or to be paid yearly; nor even whenever the number of the people was taken, but only for that present time: in the time of Joash king of Judah, a collection was set on foot for the repair of the temple; and the collection of Moses in the wilderness, was urged as an argument, and by way of example; nor is any mention made of the half shekel, nor was any sum of money fixed they should pay; but, according to the account, it was entirely free and voluntary. In the time of Nehemiah, there was a yearly charge of the "third" part of a "shekel", for the service of the temple; but this was not done by virtue of a divine order, or any law of Moses, with which it did not agree; but by an ordinance the Jews then made for themselves, as their necessity required. Aben Ezra (k) indeed says, that this was an addition to the half shekel. Now in process of time, from these instances and examples, it became a fixed thing, that every year an half shekel should be paid by every Israelite, excepting women, children, and servants, towards defraying the necessary charges of the temple service, and this obtained in Christ's time. There is a whole tract in the Jewish Misna, called Shekalim; in which an account is given of the persons who are obliged to pay this money, the time and manner of collecting it, and for what uses it is put: and so it continued till the times of Titus Vespasian, who, as Josephus says (l), laid a tax of two drachms, the same with the half shekel, upon the Jews; and ordered it to be brought yearly into the capitol at Rome, as it used to have been paid into the temple at Jerusalem. We need not wonder that we hear of receivers of the half shekel at Capernaum; since once a year, on the "fifteenth" of the month Adar, tables were placed, and collectors sat in every city in Judea, as they did on the "twenty fifth" of the same month, in the sanctuary (m). The value of the half shekel, was about "fifteen pence" of our money. The Syriac version renders the word here used, "two zuzim of head money": now a "zuz" with the Jews, answered to a Roman penny, four of which made a "shekel" (n); so that two of them were the value of an half "shekel"; it is further to be observed, that shekels in Judea, were double the value of those in Galilee, where Christ now was: five "shekels" in Judea, went for ten in Galilee, and so ten for twenty (o). The receivers of this money

came to Peter; not caring to go to Christ himself; but observing Peter a forward and active man among his disciples, they applied to him; or rather, because he had an house in this place, at which Christ might be:

and said, doth not your master pay tribute? or the "didrachms", the half "shekel" money. Had this been the Roman tribute, the reason of such a question might have been either to have ensnared him, and to have known whether he was of the same mind with Judas, of Galilee, that refused to pay tribute to Caesar; or because they could not tell whether he was reckoned as an inhabitant, or citizen of that city; for, according to the Jewish canons (p), a man must be twelve months in a place, before he is liable to tribute and taxes; or because they might suspect him to be exempted, as a doctor, or teacher for the Jewish doctors, wise men, and scholars, were freed from all tribute and taxes (q) even from the "head money", the Syriac version here mentions; and which was a civil tax paid to kings (r); to which sense that version seems to incline: the rule concerning wise men or scholars, is this (s).

"They do not collect of them for the building a wall, or setting up gates, or for the hire of watchmen, and such like things; nor for the king's treasury; nor do they oblige them to give tribute, whether it is fixed upon citizens, or whether it is fixed on every man.''

But this was not the Roman tax, nor tribute, on any civil account, but the half shekel for religious service: and it may seem strange that such a question should be asked; and especially since it is a rule with them (t), that

"all are bound to give the half shekel, priests, Levites, and Israelites; and the strangers, or proselytes, and servants, that are made free; but not women, nor servants, nor children; though if they gave, they received it of them.''

But a following canon (u) explains it, and accounts for it: on the fifteenth

"(i.e. of the month Adar,) the collectors sit in every province or city, (that is, in the countries,) , "and mildly ask everyone": he that gives to them, they receive it of him; and he that does not give, , "they do not oblige him to give": on the five and twentieth they sit in the sanctuary to collect, and from hence and onward, they urge him that will not give, until he gives; and everyone that will not give, they take pawns of him.''

So that it seems, there was a different usage of persons, at different times and places: our Lord being in Galilee at Capernaum, was treated in this manner.

(i) Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 2. sect. 4. (k) In Neh. x. 32. (l) De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 20. (m) Misn. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 3. Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 9. (n) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 11. 2. Vid. Targum & Kimchi in 1 Sam. 3. Maimon. in Misn. Shekalim, c. 2. 4. & Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 3.((o) Misn. Trumot, c. 10. sect. 8. & Cetubot, c. 5. sect. 9. T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 59. 1.((p) T. Hieros. Bava Bathra, fol. 12. 4. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 8. 1.((q) Maimon. & Bartenora in Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 5. (r) Gloss. in T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 100. 2. & Nedarim, fol. 62. 2. & Bava Metzia, fol. 73. 2.((s) Maimon Talmud Tora, c. 6. 10. (t) Ib. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 7. (u) Ib. sect. 9.

{6} And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth {i} not your master {k} pay {l} tribute?

(6) In that Christ willingly obeys Caesar's edicts, he shows that civil policy is not taken away by the Gospel.

(i) He does not deny, but he asks.

(k) Should he not pay?

(l) They that were from twenty years of age to fifty, paid half a shekel to the Sanctuary, Ex 30:13. This was an Attic didrachma which the Roman exacted after they had subdued Judea.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 17:24 ff. Peculiar to Matthew.

After the return from the Babylonian captivity, all males among the Jews of twenty years of age and upwards (on the ground of the command in Exodus 30:13 f.; comp. 2 Chronicles 24:6 : Nehemiah 10:32; 2 Kings 12:4 ff.) were required to contribute annually the sum of half a shekel, or two Attic drachmae, or an Alexandrian drachma (LXX. Genesis 23:15; Joshua 7:21), about half a thaler (1s. 6d. English money), by way of defraying the expenses connected with the temple services. See Saalschütz, Mos. R. p. 291 f.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 403; Keim, II. p. 599 f. After the destruction of the temple the money went to the Capitol, Joseph. 7:6. 6. The time for collecting this tax was the fifteenth of the month Adar. See Tract. Schekalim i. 3, ii. 7; Ideler, Chronol. I. pp. 488, 509. Certain expositors have supposed the payment here in question to have been a civil one, exacted by the Roman government—in other words, a poll-tax (see Wolf and Calovius; and of modern writers, consult especially, Wieseler, Chronol. Synopse, p. 265 ff., and Beitr. p. 108 ff.). This, however, is precluded, not merely by the use of the customary term τὰ δίδραχμα, which was well known to the reader as the temple-tax, but likewise by the incongruity which would thereby be introduced into the succeeding argument, through making it appear as though Jesus had strangely and improperly classed Himself among the kings of this world, with a view to prove with how much reason He could claim to be free. Even had He regarded Himself as David’s son, He would have been wrong in arguing thus, while, so far as the case before us is concerned, He was, to all intents and purposes, one of the ἀλλοτρίοι.

οἱλαμβάνοντες] used as a substantive: the collectors. That there were such, though Wieseler denies it, is not only evident from the nature of the case, seeing that it was not possible for everybody to go to Jerusalem, but is also proved by statements in the Tr. Schekalim (“trapezitae in unaquaque civitate,” etc.); see also Lightfoot. The plural τὰ δίδραχμα indicates the large number of didrachmae that were collected, seeing that every individual contributed one; and the article points to the tax as one that was well known. In the question put by the collectors (which question shows that this happened to be the time for collecting, but that Jesus had not paid as yet, though it is impossible to determine whether or not the question was one of a humane character, which would depend entirely upon the tone in which it was put) the plural τὰ δίδραχμα indicates that the payment had to be repeated annually, to which the present τελεῖ likewise points. That the collectors should not have asked Jesus Himself, and that Peter should have happened to be the particular disciple whom they did ask, are probably to be regarded merely as accidental circumstances. But why did they ask at all, and why in a dubious tone? They may have assumed or supposed that Jesus would claim to rank with the priests (who did not consider themselves liable for temple-tax, Tr. Schekal. i. 4), seeing that His peculiarly holy, even His Messianic, reputation cannot certainly have remained unknown to them.Matthew 17:24-27. The temple tax.—In Mt. only, but unmistakably a genuine historic reminiscence in the main. Even Holtzmann (H. C.) regards it as history, only half developed into legend.24–27. Jesus pays the half shekel of the Sanctuary

Peculiar to St Matthew

24. they that received] i. e. “the collectors of.” After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple the Jews were obliged to pay the two drachmæ into the Roman treasury. Joseph. B. J. vii. 6. 6.

tribute money] Literally, the two drachmæ. This was not a tribute levied by Cæsar or by Herod, but the half-shekel (Exodus 30:13) paid annually by every Jew into the Temple treasury. The “sacred tax” was collected from Jews in all parts of the world. Josephus (Ant. xvi. 6) has preserved some interesting letters from Roman proconsuls and from Augustus himself, to Cyrene, Ephesus, and other communities, directing that the Jews should be allowed to forward their contributions to the Temple without hindrance.

It would be interesting to know whether the Jewish Christians continued to pay the Temple-tax in accordance with this precedent.Matthew 17:24. Καπερναοὺμ, Capernaum) where Jesus dwelt.[797]—τα δίδραχμα, the didrachms)[798] the Hebrew שקל, shekel, is frequently rendered διδραχμον by the LXX.—οἱ λαμβάνοντες, they that received) sc. for the Temple.[799]

[797] On a different footing, however, from what He had been on before: for He was now dwelling in obscurity with His disciples, to whom He gave the information as to His Passion, Luke 9:18, etc., until He set out on the journey which was to end in His Passion; Luke 9:51; Luke 13:32.—Harm., p. 380.

[798] “In the original [i.e., the Greek of St Matthew], the ‘tribute-money’ which was demanded, and the ‘piece of money,’ of twice its value, which Peter was to find in the mouth of the fish, are discriminated by their proper names. The former is called didrachma, or ‘two drachmæ,’ and the latter stater. The latter was of equivalent value to the Hebrew shekel, and was equal to four drachmæ; and, consequently, two drachmæ were equivalent to half the stater and shekel. Leaving the terms untranslated, Peter is asked if his Master paid the didrachma? and Peter is told that he should find a stater in the mouth of the fish. The stater was also called tetradrachmon, from its containing four drachmæ. It exhibited on one side the head of Minerva, and on the reverse an owl, together with a short inscription. After the destruction of the Temple, the Jews were obliged to pay this tribute to the Romans; and the passage in which the historian relates this, affords one of those minute incidental corroborations which have been so abundantly adduced in evidence of the verity of the evangelical narratives; for he states that the emperor imposed a tribute of two drachmæ (δύο δραχμάς) upon the Jews, wherever they were, to be paid every year into the Capitol, in the same manner as it had been previously paid into the Temple at Jerusalem—thus concurring with the Evangelist, that the half-shekel was usually paid in the form of two drachmæ, or of a single coin of that value. The tax continued to be paid to the Romans in the time of Origen. It is understood, however, that the Temple tribute, though collected in heathen coin, was to be exchanged for Hebrew money before it could be finally paid into the Temple—probably on account of the idolatrous symbols which the former so generally bore. Hence the vocation of the money-changers, whom our Saviour drove from the Temple. They were accustomed, on and after the fifteenth of the month Adar, to seat themselves in the Temple, in order to exchange for those who desired it, Greek and Roman coins for Jewish half-shekels.”—Kitto’s Illustrated Commentary, in loc.—See also Wordsworth, in loc.—(I. B.)

[799] The exaction of this Temple tribute usually took place on the 15th day of the month Adar. And, in accordance with this, the length (interval) of time admirably corresponds to the events and journeys, as frequently recorded, from the feast of dedication, John 10:22, up to this place, and further in continuation up to the Sabbath, of which we have the mention in John 12:1. Both the Sabbaths noticed, Luke 13:10; Luke 14:1, occupy the middle portion in that time; and the raising of Lazurus took place a few days before the solemn and triumphant entry of our Lord.—Harm., p. 380.Verses 24-27. - The coin in the fish's mouth. This is one of the three miracles of our Lord which are peculiar to this Gospel St. Matthew seems to concern himself particularly with matters which present Jesus as King-Messiah; and this occurrence was in his view specially notable, as herein Christ claimed for himself a royal position - Son in his Father's house. Verse 24. - Capernaum. Once more before the final scene he visited the spot so dear to his human heart - "his own city." They that received tribute money (οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες). This is an unfortunate rendering, as it may be taken to countenance an erroneous view of the demanded impost, found in many ancient and some modern commentaries, which vitiates their whole interpretation. According to this opinion, the tribute was a civil payment, like the denarius of Matthew 22:19, levied by the Roman government, or a capitation tax imposed by Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee (of which tax, however, we have no historical proof). That this is a misunderstanding is plain from many considerations. In the first place, the collectors are not τελῶναι, publicans, but quite another set of people, called they that received the didrachmas. Again, the officers of government would not have made their demand mildly in an interrogative form, "Doth not your Master," etc.? but would have exhibited that violent and offensive behaviour which made them so hated among the Jews. The political tax is never termed didrachma, but always census, as in Matthew 22:17, 19; nor could Jesus have given the answer which is reported below, if the tax had been one levied in the interest of any earthly monarch, be it Caesar or Herod. The didrachma is a term denoting a well known rate, concerning which we have full information from many sources - biblical, Talmudic, and traditional. The didrachma was a silver coin equal to two Attic drachms, or, in Jewish money, to one half shekel of the sanctuary - something under our florin in weight. It was the amount of an ecclesiastical rate levied for religious purposes. Originally (Exodus 30:13, etc.) exacted as an acknowledgment and a thank offering, a ransom, as it were, for the lives rescued from Egypt, it had been used in the wilderness in providing the framework of the tabernacle and the ornamentation of its pillars. Based on this practice arose a custom that every male Israelite of twenty years old and upwards should annually contribute to the temple treasury the sum of a half shekel. Dr. Edersheim reckons the tribute in our Lord's time to have been equivalent to £75,000 per annum. The money was stored in the temple treasury, and was expended partly in the purchase of the daily sacrifices, victims, incense, etc., in the payment of rabbis and other officials connected with the temple, in maintaining the efficiency of the water supply, and in keeping in repair the vast and magnificent buildings in the temple area. After all this outlay, there was always a large sum in hand, which proved a strong temptation to the greed of conquerors, and the sacred coffers were often plundered; and even after many previous spoliations, we read that Crassus ( B.C. 54) carried off no less than two and a half millions sterling. The tax was due by the twenty-fifth of the month Adar (equivalent to February March), and the collectors who were appointed to or took upon themselves the office, opened stalls in; every country town for the reception of the money. For many centuries the rate was of a voluntary nature, considered, indeed, a religious duty, and to be evaded by no one, Pharisee or Sadducee, who wished to be regarded as an orthodox believer, but its payment had not been secured by any legal process. Lately, indeed, the penalty of distraint had been enacted in order to obtain the tax from defaulters; but it is doubtful whether this was generally enforced. Possibly the appointed day had now arrived, and the collectors thought right to stir in the matter. Came to Peter. They applied to Peter instead of directly to Christ, perhaps out of respect for the latter, and from a certain awe with which he inspired them. Besides, Peter was their fellow townsman, and they doubtless knew him well His natural impulsiveness might have induced him to answer the call. It may also have been his own house, the other eleven being apparently staying with other friends, and Jesus with him ("me and thee," ver. 27). We may suppose that Jesus had complied with the demand on former occasions, when sojourning in his Galilaean home, so that the present application was only natural. Doth not your Master (o( Dida/skalo u(mw = n, your Teacher) pay tribute (the didrachma)? Perhaps the form of the question might be better rendered, "Your Teacher pays the two drachms, does he not?" The pronoun "your" is plural, because they recognized that Jesus was at the head of a band of disciples, who would be influenced by his example. We may in this inquiry see other motives besides the obvious one. If Jesus paid the rate now without question, he would prove that he was nothing more than an ordinary Jew, with no claim to a higher origin or a Divine mission. Though not a priest or Levite, Jesus might have claimed exemption as a recognized rabbi, and the collectors may have desired to ascertain whether he would do this. There was, too, at this time a sect which, in its furious patriotism, refused to contribute aught to the temple so long as the holy city was profaned by the presence of the heathen. Did Christ belong to this body? And would he carry out their programme? If from any cause he declined the contribution, this abstention would give a handle to those who were not prepared to endorse his claims: the breach of such a generally recognized obligation would raise a prejudice against him, and weaken the effect of his acts and teaching. Some such motives may have contributed to inspire the question now asked. They that received tribute-money (οἱ τὰ δίδαχμα λαμβάνοντες)

Rev., They that received the half-shekel. Every male Israelite of age, including proselytes and manumitted Jews, was expected to pay annually for the temple-service a half-shekel or didrachm, about thirty-five cents. This must be paid in the ancient money of Israel, the regular half-shekel of the treasury; and the money-changers, therefore, were in demand to change the current into the temple coin, which they did at a rate of discount fixed by law, between four and five cents on every half-shekel. The annual revenue to the money-changers from this source has been estimated at nearly forty-five thousand dollars; a very large sum in a country where a laborer received less than twenty cents for a day's work, and where the good Samaritan left about thirty-three cents at the inn for the keeping of the wounded man. Jesus attacked a very powerful interest when he overthrew the tables of the money-changers.

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