Pay the tax anyway (Mt 17:27-17:27)

“However,

Not to give offense

To them,

Go to the sea!

Cast a hook!

Take the first fish

That comes up!

When you open its mouth,

You will find a coin.

Take that!

Give it to them

For you

And for me!”

 

ἵνα δὲ μὴ σκανδαλίσωμεν αὐτούς, πορευθεὶς εἰς θάλασσαν βάλε ἄγκιστρον καὶ τὸν ἀναβάντα πρῶτον ἰχθὺν ἆρον, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ εὑρήσεις στατῆρα· ἐκεῖνον λαβὼν δὸς αὐτοῖς ἀντὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ σοῦ.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  After just saying that they did not have to pay the Temple tax, Jesus reminded them that they should not offend or scandalize the Temple tax collectors (ἵνα δὲ μὴ σκανδαλίσωμεν αὐτούς).  He told Peter to go the sea (πορευθεὶς εἰς θάλασσαν), probably the Sea of Galilee, and throw out a hook into the sea (βάλε ἄγκιστρον).  Peter was to catch the first fish that came up out of the water (καὶ τὸν ἀναβάντα πρῶτον ἰχθὺν ἆρον).  Then Peter was to open the mouth of this fish (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ).  He would find a coin called a “statara” “στατῆρα,” in its mouth (εὑρήσεις στατῆρα).  This coin was worth about 2 didrachmas, enough to pay the temple tax for two people.  Thus, Peter was to pay the Temple tax collectors for Peter and himself (ἐκεῖνον λαβὼν δὸς αὐτοῖς ἀντὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ σοῦ).  The money did not come from Jesus and his disciples, but from this magic fish.  There was no mention of the other disciples paying this tax.

They agree on the wages (Tob 5:15-5:17)

“Then he added.

‘I will pay you a drachma a day as wages,

I will pay you as well expenses for yourself and my son?

Go with my son!

I will add something to your wages.’

Raphael responded.

‘I will go with him.

So do not fear.

We shall leave in good health.

We will return to you in good health safe and sound

Because the way is safe.’

So Tobit said to him.

‘Blessings be upon you brother.’

So they agreed to these terms.”

Tobit will pay him a drachma a day, plus expenses. He may even add something if all turns out okay. Raphael agreed. He then tried to calm the fear of Tobit. They were leaving in good health and would return safe and sound because it was not a difficult route. A drachma is only mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, and not elsewhere in the biblical literature. This it must have been a coin in the Hellenistic and Roman times, not the Persian times. The relative value would be about $.25 USA or a quarter. They agreed to these terms. Tobit then gave him a blessing.