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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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trib´ūt ( מס , maṣ , "tribute," really meaning "forced laborers," "labor gang" ( 1 Kings 4:6 ; 1 Kings 9:15 , 1 Kings 9:21 ); also "forced service," "serfdom"; possibly "forced payment" is meant in Esther 10:1 ; the idea contained in the modern word is better given by מדּה , middāh (Ezra 6:8 ; Nehemiah 5:4 )): Words used only of the duty levied for Yahweh on acquired spoils are מכס , mekheṣ , "assessment" (Numbers 31:28 , Numbers 31:37 , Numbers 31:38 , Numbers 31:39 , Numbers 31:40 , Numbers 31:41 ), בּלו , belō , "excise" (Ezra 4:13 , Ezra 4:10 ; Nehemiah 7:24 ), משּׂא , massā' , "burden" (2 Chronicles 17:11 ), and ענשׁ , ‛ōnesh , "fine" or "indemnity" (2 Kings 23:33 ; compare Proverbs 19:19 ). The translation "tribute" for מסּת , miṣṣath , in Deuteronomy 16:10 is wrong (compare the Revised Version margin). κῆνσος , kḗnsos (Matthew 22:17 ; Mark 12:14 ) = "census," while φόρος , phóros (Luke 20:22 ; Luke 23:2 ; Romans 13:6 , Romans 13:7 ), signifies an annual tax on persons, houses, lands, both being direct taxes. The phóroi were paid by agriculturists, payment being made partly in kind, partly in money, and are contrasted with the télē of the publicans, while kēnsos is strictly a poll tax. The amount of tribute required as a poll tax by the Romans was the δίδραχμον , dı́drachmon (Matthew 17:24 ), the King James Version "tribute," the Revised Version (British and American) "half-shekel." The στατήρ , statḗr (Matthew 17:27 ), was a tetradrachm, "one shekel," or pay for two. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were required to pay this poll tax toward the support of the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus. Different kinds of personal taxes were raised by the Romans: (1) an income tax, (2) the poll tax. The latter must be paid by women and slaves as well as by free men, only children and aged people being exempted. The payment exacted began with the 14th year in the case of men and the 12th in the case of women, the obligation remaining in force up to the 65th year in the case of both. For purposes of assessment, each person was permitted to put his own statement on record. After public notice had been given by the government, every citizen was expected to respond without personal visitation by an official (see Luke 2:1 ff). On the basis of the records thus voluntarily made, the tax collectors would enforce the payment of the tribute. See also TAX , TAXING .

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Tribute'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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