Matthew 9:9

At the place of toll (epi to telwnion). The tax-office or custom-house of Capernaum placed here to collect taxes from the boats going across the lake outside of Herod's territory or from people going from Damascus to the coast, a regular caravan route. "Called Matthew" (Maqqaion legomenon) and in Mark 10:3 Matthew the publican is named as one of the Twelve Apostles. Mark ( Mark 2:14 ) and Luke ( Luke 5:27 ) call this man Levi. He had two names as was common, Matthew Levi. The publicans (telwnai) get their name in English from the Latin publicanus (a man who did public duty), not a very accurate designation. They were detested because they practised graft. Even Gabinius the proconsul of Syria was accused by Cicero of relieving Syrians and Jews of legitimate taxes for graft. He ordered some of the tax-officers removed. Already Jesus had spoken of the publican ( Luke 5:46 ) in a way that shows the public disfavour in which they were held.