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Luke 20:20-23

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20:20 Then 1  they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere. 2  They wanted to take advantage of what he might say 3  so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction 4  of the governor. 20:21 Thus 5  they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, 6  and show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 7  20:22 Is it right 8  for us to pay the tribute tax 9  to Caesar 10  or not?” 20:23 But Jesus 11  perceived their deceit 12  and said to them,

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “righteous,” but in this context the point is their false sincerity.

3 tn Grk “so that they might catch him in some word.”

4 tn This word is often translated “authority” in other contexts, but here, in combination with ἀρχή (arch), it refers to the domain or sphere of the governor’s rule (L&N 37.36).

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “thus” to indicate the implied result of the plans by the spies.

6 tn Or “precisely”; Grk “rightly.” Jesus teaches exactly, the straight and narrow.

7 sn Teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Very few comments are as deceitful as this one; they did not really believe this at all. The question was specifically designed to trap Jesus.

8 tn Or “lawful,” that is, in accordance with God’s divine law. On the syntax of ἔξεστιν (exestin) with an infinitive and accusative, see BDF §409.3.

9 tn This was a “poll tax.” L&N 57.182 states this was “a payment made by the people of one nation to another, with the implication that this is a symbol of submission and dependence – ‘tribute tax.’”

10 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

11 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Or “craftiness.” The term always has negative connotations in the NT (1 Cor 3:19; 2 Cor 4:2; 11:3; Eph 4:14).

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