Taxes; Taxation; Taxing

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(touches). First Hebrew taxes were tithes, first-fruits, redemption money, for use of the priests. Taxes amplified under the kings and became burdensome (1 Kings 10:28-29; 12:428And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. 29And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means. (1 Kings 10:28‑29)
4Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. (1 Kings 12:4)
). Jews under heavy tribute while subject to foreign rulers (Neh. 5). The tithe-tax became a poll-tax (Neh. 10:32-3332Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God; 33For the showbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. (Nehemiah 10:32‑33)); and continued (Matt. 17:2424And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? (Matthew 17:24)). The enrollment, or census, of Luke 2:22(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:2), and Acts 5:3737After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. (Acts 5:37), was for the purpose of Roman taxation, which was onerous, being on the head, the field-hand, the ground and the products thereof, the harbors, city-gates, and city houses.

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Jehoiakim taxed the land in order to be able to pay the demands of Pharaoh, king of Egypt (2 Kings 23:3535And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh-nechoh. (2 Kings 23:35)). Seleucus IV Philopator became “a raiser of taxes,” about B.C. 181, to pay the demands of the Romans (Dan. 11:2020Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. (Daniel 11:20)). In Luke 2:1-51And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (Luke 2:1‑5) the “taxing” mentioned is believed to have been, not for the assessment of property, but for the registration of persons. See CYRENIUS. Though ordered by the Roman emperor, it appears that the Jews were allowed to carry out the census as to city and lineage in their own way. In Acts 5:3737After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. (Acts 5:37) the same term is employed, but the enrollment in this case may have included the taking an account of their property (as stated by Josephus) which led to Judas heading a revolt. See PUBLICANS.

“674. The Temple Tax” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

“759. Tax Gathering” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

1. The publicans were the Roman tax-gatherers, of whom there were several classes. The Roman senate farmed the taxes to rich capitalists, who agreed to pay a certain sum into the public treasury, and reimburse themselves with the taxes they collected. These capitalists were called publicani, and often formed themselves into a joint-stock company, appointing one of their number as general manager. He usually resided at Rome, and was called magister.
The publicani were an influential section of the Roman knights, an ancient order who occupied a kind of middle rank between the senators and the people. These, however, are not mentioned in the New Testaments. The “publicans” so frequently referred to there were the portitores, or men who were employed by the publicani to collect the taxes in the provinces. They were the actual custom-house officers, and were commonly natives of the provinces where they were stationed. They were supervised by the sub-magistri, who made the returns to the magister at Rome. Zaccheus was a sub-magister, or “chief among the publicans” (Luke 19:22And, behold, there was a man named Zaccheus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. (Luke 19:2)). Levi, or Matthew, was one of the portitores, or tax-gatherers.
The publicans, of whatever class, were looked upon with disfavor by the masses of the people. The complimentary reference of Cicero to the publicani, which has sometimes been cited as an evidence of their high respectability, is thought to have been merely the flattery of an orator who sought to accomplish political purposes thereby. The portitores, however, were especially detested. Their duty, if honestly discharged. would have made them unpopular enough; but when, as was often the case, they went beyond their legal rights and levied exorbitant taxes, using all the machinery of the law to help them, their unpopularity greatly increased. Many of them were Jews, and were regarded by their Jewish brethren as no better than the heathen with whom publicans were often classed. See Matthew 18. It is said that the Jews would not associate with them, nor allow them in the temple or in the synagogue; nor would they permit them to give testimony in Jewish courts. Even the presents which they brought to the temple are said to have been rejected. They were completely excluded from their fellows.
These statements serve to illustrate the reference made to the publicans in the Gospel narratives. They were classed with sinners. See Matthew 9:10-11; 11:1910And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? (Matthew 9:10‑11)
19The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (Matthew 11:19)
; Mark 2:15, 1615And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? (Mark 2:15‑16); Luke 7:34; 15:134The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! (Luke 7:34)
1Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. (Luke 15:1)
. They were mentioned with harlots. See Matthew 21:31-3231Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21:31‑32). They were alluded to as occupying the lowest position in morals, the vilest of the vile: “even the publicans.” Matthew 5:46-4746For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5:46‑47).
2. Sitting at the receipt of custom accurately expresses the posture which is occupied in the East by all who transact business. The merchant sits when he sells, and even carpenters and washerwomen sit at their work No one stands when at work unless it is entirely unavoidable.
3. There were houses or booths built at the foot of bridges, at the gates of cities, at the mouths of rivers, and by the sea-side, where the tax-gatherers transacted their business. Such a place was the τελώνιοω or “receipt of custom.”

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