A tax imposed by a king on his subjects (2 Samuel 20:24; 1 Kings 4:6; Romans 13:6). In Matthew 17:24-27 the word denotes the temple rate (the "didrachma, " the "half-shekel, " as rendered by the R.V.) which was required to be paid for the support of the temple by every Jew above twenty years of age (Exodus 30:12; 2 Kings 12:4; 2 Chronicles 24:6, 9). It was not a civil but a religious tax.
In Matthew 22:17, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:22, the word may be interpreted as denoting the capitation tax which the Romans imposed on the Jewish people. It may, however, be legitimately regarded as denoting any tax whatever imposed by a foreign power on the people of Israel. The "tribute money" shown to our Lord (Matthew 22:19) was the denarius, bearing Caesar's superscription. It was the tax paid by every Jew to the Romans. (see PENNY.)