- First mentioned in the command (Ex. 30:11-16) that every Jew from twenty years and upward should pay an annual tax of "half a shekel for an offering to the Lord." This enactment was faithfully observed for many generations (2 Chr. 24:6; Matt. 17:24).Afterwards, when the people had kings to reign over them, they began, as Samuel had warned them (1 Sam. 8:10-18), to pay taxes for civil purposes (1 Kings 4:7; 9:15; 12:4). Such taxes, in increased amount, were afterwards paid to the foreign princes that ruled over them.In the New Testament the payment of taxes, imposed by lawful rulers, is enjoined as a duty (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14). Mention is made of the tax (telos) on merchandise and travellers (Matt. 17:25); the annual tax (phoros) on property (Luke 20:22; 23:2); the poll-tax (kensos, "tribute," Matt. 17:25; 22:17; Mark 12:14); and the temple-tax ("tribute money" = two drachmas = half shekel, Matt. 17:24-27; comp. Ex. 30:13). (See Tribute.)
Easton's Bible Dictionary. M.G. Easton. 1897.