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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Tribute, Toll, Taxing

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1. In OT the subject is obscure. The word most frequently rendered ‘tribute’ is mas , which denotes a body of forced labourers ( 2 Samuel 20:24 , 1 Kings 9:21 etc.; see RV [Note: Revised Version.] ), and then later ‘forced service’ the feudal corvée . Solomon had a regular system of levying provisions for the maintenance of the royal establishment ( 1 Kings 4:7-19 ), and labourers for the execution of his vast building schemes ( 1 Kings 5:13 ff., 1 Kings 9:15 ), and also exacted toll from the caravans of merchants that passed through his kingdom ( 1 Kings 10:15 ). After the fail of the Jewish State, tribute was imposed on the land by its foreign masters ( 2 Kings 23:33 , Ezra 4:13 etc.). In the last-mentioned passage (cf. Ezra 4:20 , Ezra 7:24 ) we read of ‘tribute, custom, or toll,’ but have no information as to the precise meanings of the terms and the distinctions between them. Cf. Trade and Commerce, § 3 .

2. In NT ‘tribute’ represents 3 Gr. words. (1) phoros is properly a land tax; (2) kçnsos (originally a property register), a capitation or poll tax. Both were direct Imperial taxes payable by the Jews as Roman subjects; the former in kind, the latter in Roman money. In NT, however, the distinction is not carefully observed (cf. Matthew 22:17 , Luke 20:22 ). For the ‘tribute money’ of Matthew 22:19 see Money, § 7 ( b ). (3) didrachmon ( Matthew 17:24 , RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ the half-shekel ’) was the sum paid by every male Israelite to meet the cost of the daily services in the Temple. See Money, § 7 ( d ). Toil ( telos , AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘custom’; telônion place of toll ,’ AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ receipt of custom ’) must be carefully distinguished from tribute (cf. Matthew 17:25 , Romans 13:7 ). It was not a direct tax like (1) and (2), but an impost on the value of exported goods. For details see artt. Custom (s), Publican. Taxing ( apographç , RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘enrolment,’ Luke 2:2 , Acts 5:37 ) denotes a registration with a view to taxation for Imperial purposes. See Quirinius.

J. C. Lambert.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Tribute, Toll, Taxing'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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