What does Matthew 17:24 mean?
ESV: When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the tax?"
NIV: After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?"
NASB: Now when they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, 'Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?'
CSB: When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax approached Peter and said, "Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?"
NLT: On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, 'Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?'
KJV: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
NKJV: When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”
Verse Commentary:
Exodus 30:13–16 commands that every Jewish man 20 years and older was required to give a half-shekel to the work of the tent of meeting as an offering of atonement. What began in the time of Moses was still being practiced in Jesus' day. Two drachmas were the equivalent of a half-shekel. The money now went to support the temple instead of the tabernacle.

When Jesus and the disciples arrive in Jesus' adopted hometown of Capernaum (Matthew 4:13), they are approached by the collectors of this temple tax. This was not a tax levied by the Romans. This was given to the Jewish leaders, by the Jews, to support their own religious practices and to comply with the law of Moses.

The temple tax collectors speak to Peter and not to Jesus Himself. Perhaps this was in deference to Jesus' status or because He was unavailable. This once again portrays Peter as the de-facto leader of the disciples. The collectors ask Peter if his teacher does not pay the tax, which was a round-about way of asking if Jesus would be contributing to the collection. It's possible that some issue had caused them to wonder if Jesus would object to paying the tax or if He had perhaps paid it already in another location.
Verse Context:
Matthew 17:22–27 begins with Jesus once again predicting His death at the hands of religious enemies in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21). Collectors of the annual two-drachma temple tax approach Peter and ask if Jesus will pay. Jesus explains to Peter why He is exempt from the tax, but He says that He will pay it to avoid giving offense over the issue. He commands Peter to pay the tax for them both: by catching a fish in which he will find a coin sufficient for the task.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain. There, they see Him "transfigured" into a shining, divine form. They also see Christ speaking with Moses and Elijah but are commanded not to speak of this event until later. Jesus heals a demon-afflicted boy after the disciples cannot cast the demon out. Jesus very clearly tells the disciples He will be delivered into the hands of men, killed, and raised on the third day. After explaining why He is exempt from a temple tax, Jesus agrees to pay it and tells Peter to find the money in the mouth of a fish.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 17 begins with the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction at the end of the previous chapter: that some of those present would not die before seeing Him coming in His kingdom. Jesus casts out a demon, predicts His death, and commands Peter to pay a temple tax with a coin from the mouth of a fish. This leads Matthew back to extensive records of Jesus' teachings, continuing through chapter 20.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 6/22/2024 5:40:49 PM
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