Taxes (5411) (phoros from phéro = to bring) describes particularly what is brought and describes taxes or tributes imposed upon persons and property annually, in distinction from custom (télos) toll, which was usually levied on merchandise and travelers. Robertson says that phoros refers "to the tribute paid to a subject nation (Lk 20:22), while custom (telos) is tax for support of civil government (Mt 17:25)." Phoros was a tax that subject people paid to their conqueror. Phoros was generally considered a direct tax (eg, property tax or poll tax) and telos as an indirect tax such as customs (TLB paraphrases it "import duties"). BDAG - Phoros is that which is brought in as payment to a state, with implication of dependent status, tribute, tax Friberg - Phoros is a tribute, tax; in the NT, as paid to a foreign ruler, whether levied on houses, lands, or persons TDNT - In Ro 13:6-7, Lk. 20:22, and Mk. 12:14 phoros means “tribute” paid to a foreign ruler. At issue is a land tax or poll tax as distinct from a toll or business tax (téle). The phóros poses for Jews the alternative of loyalty or treason to God as the only Lord. This is what confronts Jesus with a dilemma in Mk. 12:13ff. and parallels. The Pharisees support payment, the Zealots oppose it, but Jesus lifts the problem onto another plane. He abandons God’s claim in the restricted sense but raises it again in an unrestricted sense, anchoring the answer in eschatological fulfilment of the kingdom, and leaving it to responsible individual decision to fill out today the content of giving to God the things that are his. *(Theological dictionary of the New Testament.: W.B. Eerdmans) Phoros - A. Outside the NT. (1) Literally this word means “carrying or bringing,” then “tribute,” “tax,” “dues,” “payment,” and in the papyri “lease,” “rent,” or “hire.” (2) Hebrew equivalents mean “gift,” then “tribute,” “tax.” (3) The rabbis have various terms for levies, tributes, taxes, etc. (4) The LXX mostly uses phóros for “tribute” (2Chr. 36:3) or “forced labor” (Jdg. 1:28-30.). (5) Philo contrasts taxes for the priests with the phóroi paid to secular authorities. (6) Josephus uses phóros or phóroi for tribute paid to foreign rulers. (TDNT) J C Lambert - In NT ‘TRIBUTE’ represents 3 Greek words. (1) phoros is properly a land tax; (2) kensos (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. Mt 22:17, Lk 20:22). (ADDITIONAL NOTE: In NT times the kensos—an annual tax levied on persons, houses, or lands—was paid to a prince or civil governor on behalf of the Roman treasury. The phoros was a tax paid by agriculturists. = New International Bible Dictionary) For the ‘tribute money’ of Mt 22:19 see Money (b). (3) didrachmon (Mt 17:24 ‘the half-shekel ’) was the sum paid by every male Israelite to meet the cost of the daily services in the Temple. (d). Toll (telos , AV ‘custom’; telônion ‘ place of toll ,’ ‘ receipt of custom’) must be carefully distinguished from tribute (cf. Mt 17:25, Ro 13:7). It was not a direct tax like (1) and (2), but an impost on the value of exported goods. For details see. Custom, Publican. Taxing (apographo, apographe, ‘enrolment,’ Lk 2:2 , Acts 5:37) denotes a registration with a view to taxation for Imperial purposes. (Tribute, Toll, Taxing - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible) Webster on TRIBUTE - an excessive tax, rental, or tariff imposed by a government, sovereign, lord, or landlord; an exorbitant charge levied by a person or group having the power of coercion. An annual or stated sum of money or other valuable thing, paid by one prince or nation to another, either as an acknowledgment of submission, or as the price of peace and protection, or by virtue of some treaty. The Romans made all their conquered countries pay tribute, as do the Turks at this day; and in some countries the tribute is paid in children. NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY - Tribute in the sense of an impost paid by one state to another, as a mark of subjugation, is a common feature of international relationships in the biblical world. The tributary could be either a hostile state or an ally. Like deportation, its purpose was to weaken a hostile state. Deportation aimed at depleting the man-power. The aim of tribute was probably twofold: to impoverish the subjugated state and at the same time to increase the conqueror’s own revenues and to acquire commodities in short supply in his own country. As an instrument of administration it was one of the simplest ever devised: the subjugated country could be made responsible for the payment of a yearly tribute. Its non-arrival would be taken as a sign of rebellion, and an expedition would then be sent to deal with the recalcitrant. In the OT “?tribute,?” really meant “?forced laborers,?” “?labor gang?” (?1Ki 4:6?; ?9:15?, ?21?); also “?forced service,?” “?serfdom?”; possibly “?forced payment?” is meant in ?Esther 10:1?." (ISBE) Phoros - 5x in 4v -Usage: tax(2), taxes(3). Luke 20:22 "Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" Luke 23:2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King." Romans 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Phoros - 29v in non-apocryphal Septuagint - Josh 19:47; Jdg 1:28-30, 33, 35; 20.24" class="scriptRef">2Sa 20:24; 1Kgs 4:6; 5:13-14; 9:15; 10:15; 12:18; 2Chr 8:8; 10:18; 36:3; Ezra 2:3; 4:13, 20; 6:8; 7:24; 8:3; 10:25; Neh 3:25; 5:4; 7:8; 10:14; Lam 1:1. Note that phoros translates forced laborers in 1Ki 4:6, 9:15, etc) ISBE - KENSOS (?Mt 22:17?; ?Mk 12:14?) = "poll (census) tax" “?census,?” while PHOROS (?Lk 20:22?; ?23:2?; ?Ro 13:6?, ?7?), signifies an annual tax on persons, houses, lands, both being direct taxes. The PHOROI were paid by agriculturists, payment being made partly in kind, partly in money, and are contrasted with the TELE (see TELOS above) of the publicans, while kensos is strictly a poll tax. The amount of tribute required as a poll tax by the Romans was the didrachmon (?"a half-shekel" i.e., dis, "twice," drachme, "a drachma," the coin mentioned in Luke 15:8-9, was the amount of the tribute in the 1st Century AD, due from every adult Jew for the maintenance of the Temple services = Mt 17:24?), the KJV = “?TRIBUTE,?” the RV = “?half-shekel.?” The STATER (a teradrachmon = a silver coin worth four drachmas, originally 224 grains, in Tyrian currency, but reduced in weight somewhat by the time recorded in Matthew 17:24; the value was about three shillings, and would pay the Temple tax for two persons, Matthew 17:27 , RV, "shekel" (AV, "a piece of money"?), 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 ?Lk 2:1? ff). On the basis of the records thus voluntarily made, the tax collectors would enforce the payment of the tribute. So part of what is means to "subject" one's self to governing authorities is to pay taxes. The Roman historian Tacitus noted that in the A.D. 58 there were persistent complaints against taxes and the "acquisitiveness" of tax collectors.
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