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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Tribute, a tax which one prince or state agrees, or is compelled, to pay to another, as the purchase of peace, or in token of dependence.

The Israelites were at various times subjected to heavy taxes and tributes by their foreign conquerors. After Judea was reduced to a Roman province, a new poll of the people and an estimate of their substance were taken by command of Augustus, in order that he might more correctly regulate the tribute to be exacted. This was a capitation-tax levied at so much a head, and imposed upon all males from 14, and all females from 12, up to 65 years of age.

To oppose the levying of this tribute Judas the Gaulonite raised an insurrection of the Jews, asserting that it was not lawful to pay tribute to a foreigner, that it was a token of servitude, and that the Jews were not allowed to acknowledge any for their master who did not worship the Lord. They boasted of being a free nation, and of never having been in bondage to any man (). These sentiments were extensively promulgated, but all their efforts were of no avail in restraining or mitigating the exactions of their conquerors.

The Pharisees who sought to entangle Jesus in his talk, sent unto him demanding whether it was lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not; but knowing their wicked designs, he replied, 'Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?' 'Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.'

The apostles Peter and Paul severally recommended submission to the ruling powers, and inculcated the duty of paying tribute: 'tribute to whom tribute is due' (; ).





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tribute'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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