Render to Caesar (Lk 20:25-20:25)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Then give

To the Emperor Caesar

The things

That are the Emperor Caesar’s!

Give to God

The things

That are God’s.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to give back to the Emperor Caesar (Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε τὰ Καίσαρος), the things that are of the Emperor Caesar’s (Καίσαρι)!  However, give to God the things that are God’s (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:21, and in Mark, chapter 12:17, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus responded to them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) by telling them to give to the Roman emperor Caesar the things that belonged to the emperor (Τὰ Καίσαρος ἀπόδοτε Καίσαρι).  At the same time, they should give to God the things that belong to God (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  Matthew said that Jesus responded to them (τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς) by telling them to give to the Roman emperor Caesar the things that belonged to the emperor (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι).  At the same time, they should give to God the things that belong to God (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  Jesus appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies.  He also had a milder view of their tax collectors.  With this ambiguous answer, Jesus avoided offending Jewish nationalists and the Roman Empire party and its officials.  Thus, the Roman and Jewish parties were both satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time.  If everything belonged to God, do not pay this tax.  If everything belonged to the Roman Empire, pay the tax.  The choice was theirs.  He was not going to tell them what to do.  This statement of Jesus has become the basic Christian understanding of the relationship between religious churches and civilian states.  Do you see a difference between Church regulations and civic state regulations?

Advertisements

The decree of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2:1-2:1)

“In those days,

A decree went out

From the Emperor

Caesar Augustus

That all the world

Should be registered.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.

 

Luke tried to put these events within a historical perspective.  He said that in those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις), a decree or dogma went out (ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα) from the Emperor, Caesar Augustus (παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου), that all the world should be registered (ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην).  Could all the world be registered in a census?  Luke referred to the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who ruled the Roman empire with his famous Pax Romana, or peace everywhere, from 27 BCE to 14 CE, precisely the time of these events.  Augustus was born in 63 BCE so that he would have been 77 years old when he died.  He was sometimes called god, son of god, savior, or father.  As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, he defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra to gain sole control of the empire.  He set up an intricate set of taxes for the empire, so that there was a consent source of income.  Thus, the local tax collectors or publicans became rich, but disliked, official people in the empire.  The month of August was named after him, just as July was named after Julius Caesar.  However, there is no evidence of any call to register the whole world.  However, this would not have been inconsistent with his taxing plans, since the main reason for any registration or census would be for tax purposes.  Thus, this is possible, but unlikely.

Whose image is on the coin? (Mk 12:16-12:16)

“They brought one coin.

Jesus said to them.

‘Whose head is this?

Whose title is this?

They answered.

‘The emperor Caesar.’”

 

οἱ δὲ ἤνεγκαν. καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Καίσαρος.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:19-21, and in Luke, chapter 20:24, almost word for word.  Jesus wanted to see the coin that was used for paying the Roman poll tax.  Mark said that they brought Jesus one of these small silver Roman coins, a denarius. (οἱ δὲ ἤνεγκαν).  Jesus then asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) whose image and whose inscription title (Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή) were on this coin?  They answered him (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that the image and inscription belonged to the emperor Caesar (Καίσαρος).  This was a simple question with a simple answer.

Lawful to pay taxes (Mk 12:14-12:14)

“‘Is it lawful

To pay taxes

To the emperor Caesar?

Or not?

Should we pay them?

Or should we not?’”

 

ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ; δῶμεν ἢ μὴ δῶμεν;

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:17, and Luke, chapter 20:22, but slightly different.  These Pharisees and these Herodians tried to trick Jesus.  They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax law.  Mark said that they asked him whether it was lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)?  They wanted to know the practical answer about whether they should pay this tax or not (δῶμεν ἢ μὴ δῶμεν)?  Rome had an annual personal census tax of one denarius, worth about $1.50 USA, not that much.  However, many of the Roman tax collectors were considered sinners.  As the political party of the Romans, the Herodians, and the religious Israelite Pharisees were both there.  Thus, his answer might offend someone.  In fact, some Jewish zealots refused to pay any civil tax to the emperor.