Taxes — first mentioned in the command (Ex. 30:11–16) that every Jew from twenty years and upward should pay an annual tax of “half a shekel for an offering to the Lord.” This enactment was faithfully observed for many generations (2 Chr. 24:6; Matt. 17:24).
Afterwards, when the people had kings to reign over them, they began, as Samuel had warned them (1 Sam. 8:10–18), to pay taxes for civil purposes (1 Kings 4:7; 9:15; 12:4). Such taxes, in increased amount, were afterwards paid to the foreign princes that ruled over them.
In the New Testament the payment of taxes, imposed by lawful rulers, is enjoined as a duty (Rom. 13:1–7; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14). Mention is made of the tax (telos) on merchandise and travellers (Matt. 17:25); the annual tax (phoros) on property (Luke 20:22; 23:2); the poll-tax (kensos, “tribute,” Matt. 17:25; 22:17; Mark 12:14); and the temple-tax (“tribute money” = two drachmas = half shekel, Matt. 17:24–27; comp. Ex. 30:13). (See TRIBUTE.)