Tribute

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Various Hebrew words are thus represented, but the signification in general is that which one nation or people paid to another, either in money or kind (2 Kings 3:44And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. (2 Kings 3:4)), in order to be left in peaceable possession. Some of the Canaanites were not driven out of the land, but they paid tribute to the Israelites, and Solomon put others under tribute (Josh. 17:1313Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out. (Joshua 17:13); 2 Chron. 8:7-87As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel, 8But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day. (2 Chronicles 8:7‑8)). Afterward, because of their sin, Israel had to pay tribute to Assyria, Egypt, &c., and in the New Testament the Jews paid tribute to the Romans in the shape of taxes (Luke 20:2222Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? (Luke 20:22)). These were farmed, which led to abuses: (compare Luke 3:12-1312Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. (Luke 3:12‑13)).
The word “tribute” is used in the AV in another signification, as when the Jews asked Peter if his teacher paid “tribute.” Here the word is διδραχμον (double drachma), and signifies the sum each Jew paid to the temple. It was about 15d. The fish Peter caught had in its mouth a stater of the value of about 2s. 6d., which paid for the Lord and for Peter (Matt. 17:24-2724And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. (Matthew 17:24‑27)). The Lord refers to what the kings of the earth did in ordinary tribute, in order to show that Himself and Peter as sons of the King of the temple could have claimed exemption, though they did not (compare Matt. 21:1313And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13)). The institution of this yearly payment apparently began in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. It is introduced with the words, “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” (Neh. 10:3232Also 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; (Nehemiah 10:32)). It was so far a voluntary arrangement.