Luke 3:12

Also publicans (kai telwnai). We have had the word already in Matthew ( Matthew 5:46 ; Matthew 9:10 ; Matthew 11:19 ; Matthew 18:17 ; Matthew 21:31 ) and Mark ( Mark 11:15 ). It is sometimes coupled with harlots and other sinners, the outcasts of society. The word is made up from telo, tax, and wneomai, to buy, and is an old one. The renter or collector of taxes was not popular anywhere, but least of all when a Jew collected taxes for the Romans and did it by terrible graft and extortions. Extort (prassete). The verb means only to do or practice, but early the tax-collectors learned how to "do" the public as regular "blood-suckers." Lucian links them with crows and sycophants.