What does Matthew 17:25 mean?
ESV: He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”
NIV: Yes, he does,' he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. 'What do you think, Simon?' he asked. 'From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes--from their own children or from others?'
NASB: He *said, 'Yes.' And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?'
CSB: "Yes," he said.When he went into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes? From their sons or from strangers? "
NLT: Yes, he does,' Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, 'What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered? '
KJV: He 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?
Jesus and the disciples have arrived in Capernaum, Jesus' place of official residence (Matthew 4:13). Peter has been approached by some collectors of the temple tax. This was not a Roman tax. Jewish men, 20 years and older, were required by the law of Moses to contribute two drachmas, or half a shekel, to the temple once a year (Exodus 30:13–16). These collectors have asked Peter if his teacher Jesus plans to pay the tax. That might have been a rhetorical question, which really meant "your master needs to pay the tax."
Peter now replies that Jesus plans to pay the tax. Peter then enters the house where Jesus is, perhaps to ask Jesus for the money or where to get the money. Before Peter can speak, though, Jesus begins to ask Peter about it. Did Peter answer yes too quickly, assuming Jesus would pay the tax when He did not plan to do so?
Jesus calls Peter by his original name, Simon, and asks about a specific issue: Do kings collect taxes from their own children, or from others? Peter will give the obvious answer to the question. Kings do not collect taxes from their own sons. Jesus concludes His point in the following verse.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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