a tax imposed by the Romans. The tax-gatherers were termed publicans (q.v.), who had their stations at the gates of cities, and in the public highways, and at the place set apart for that purpose, called the "receipt of custom" (Matt.9: 9; Mark 2:14 ), where they collected the money that was to be paid on certain goods (Matt.17:25). These publicans were tempted to exact more from the people than was lawful, and were, in consequence of their extortions, objects of great hatred. The Pharisees would have no intercourse with them (Matt.5:46,47; Mark 9:10 Mark 9:11 ).
A tax or tribute (q.v.) of half a shekel was annually paid by every adult Jew for the temple. It had to be paid in Jewish coin ( Matthew 22:17-19 ; Mark 12:14 Mark 12:15 ). Money-changers (q.v.) were necessary, to enable the Jews who came up to Jerusalem at the feasts to exchange their foreign coin for Jewish money; but as it was forbidden by the law to carry on such a traffic for emolument ( Deuteronomy 23:19 Deuteronomy 23:20 ), our Lord drove them from the temple ( Matthew 21:12 : Mark 11:15 ).
The tax designated by halakh in Ezra 4:13, etc., is usually taken to mean a road tax, a toll, from root halakh, but compare Winckler, Altorientalische Forschungen, II, 463, which derives from root ilku, a command, a decree, hence, an imposed tax. Belo from root yabhal is supposed to be a tax on merchandise or produce (as distinguished from "tribute" or the tax on houses, lands and persons), usually paid in kind and levied for the support of the native or provincial government. See Ryle, Cambridge Bible, Ezra- Nehemiah, in the place cited Telos in New Testament and Macc is an indirect tax farmed out to the publicans.
Walter R. Betteridge
These files are public domain.
In the Old Testament, except, Genesis 31:35 where the Revised Version (British and American) renders, better, "manner" (derekh, "way"), the words translated "custom" are choq, chuqqah, "statute," and mishpaT, "judgment." Such passages as Judges 11:39; Jeremiah 32:11, and especially Ezra 3:4 (the King James Version "custom," the Revised Version (British and American) "ordinance"), illustrate the difficulty of deciding upon the proper translation, in cases where "custom" might become "statute," "usage" establish itself as "law." In Leviticus 18:30; Jeremiah 10:3 the reference is to heathen religious practices.
In the New Testament Luke 1:9; 2:42; Acts 6:14; 15:1 (the King James Version "manner"); Luke 16:21; 21:21 (ethos), and Luke 2:27 from the same Greek root, refer likewise to definitely established religious practices; in every case except Acts 16:21, those of the Jewish law. The Revised Version (British and American) makes the translation of ethos uniform, reading "custom" in Luke 22:39 (the King James Version "wont") and in John 19:40; Acts 25:16; Hebrews 10:25 (the King James Version "manner"). Greek eiothos, from the same root, is rendered "custom" in Luke 4:16 by English Versions of the Bible, and by the Revised Version (British and American) also in Acts 17:2, its only other occurrence in the New Testament. In John 18:39; 1 Corinthians 11:16 "custom" is the translation of Greek sunetheia, in the sense of "usage" rather than of "law."
F. K. Farr
These files are public domain.