And he said to them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Present-day conditions of Eastern lands painfully illustrate the continuance of some of the most demoralizing customs of the past. When the crop is reared, and while the winnowing is actually going on upon the threshing-floor, the tax-gatherer stands by and appropriates one-tenth as soon as the work is completed. The Mahommedan government adopts the oppressive system of the Romans, sells the tithes to the highest bidder, for a sum of money which he is ready enough to pay in advance. This purchaser, or farmer of the taxes, has then to make his profits on the transaction by forcing the most extravagant payments from the people, and in so doing he is armed with irresponsible authority. The tithe-gatherers go through the land, employing every device for the purpose of overreaching the cultivators of the soil, and obtaining from them more than their dues. The farmers are strictly ordered not to thresh their grain before the tax-gatherers are ready, which is the means of additional extortions. Crops, therefore, sometimes remain heaped upon the threshing-floors for many weeks, the distressed owners not daring to thresh and harvest them, and being compelled both to watch them by day and night, and to devise means to protect them from being wet with showers.
(Biblical Things not generally known.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.