By Jack Zimmerman,
Staff Evangelist for Jewish Voice
In part four of this six-part series about paying taxes to Caesar, as outlined in Luke 20:20-26, Rabbi Jack explains the significance of why Yeshua (Jesus) asked to see a denarius coin.
The Jews of Yeshua’s time had to pay what was called the head tax, or poll tax, to Rome, and they could only use a denarius coin to pay it.
Remember in Luke 20:24 when Yeshua said, “Bring me a denarius?” Why didn’t He just say, “Bring me a coin?” He asked specifically for a denarius because Rome required that not only you pay that ridiculous poll tax, and everybody had to do it, but that you had to use a denarius coin to pay it or it was like you didn’t pay it at all.
Watch Jack talk more about the denarius coin on YouTube:
This coin not only had the image of Caesar on it, which reminded the Jews of the oppression of the Roman system, but it also had these words on it: “Tiberius Caesar, son of the Divine Augustus.” This coin had an inscription on it essentially saying that Caesar was God. Therefore, this coin had a graven image on it, and the Torah commanded Jews to avoid handling graven images.
So, it wasn’t just the tax that was oppressive and bad enough to upset the Jews, it was the fact that in order for them to pay it, they had to possess something with a graven image on it and be disobedient to Torah, even though they didn’t want to be. They didn’t have a choice.
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Rabbi Jack’s Paying Taxes in Yeshua’s Day Blog Series:
- Picking a High Priest in Bible Times
- Temple Taxes and the ‘Den of Robbers’
- A Short History of Jewish Tax Revolt
- Torah and Taxes: The Age of Denarius
- Show Me the Money (the Denarius)!
- Paying Taxes to Caesar: Final Thoughts