First mentioned in the command (Exodus 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 Chronicles 24:6; Matthew 17:24).
Afterwards, when the people had kings to reign over them, they began, as Samuel had warned them (1 Samuel 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 (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13,14). Mention is made of the tax (telos) on merchandise and travellers (Matthew 17:25); the annual tax (phoros) on property (Luke 20:22; 23:2); the poll-tax (kensos, "tribute," Matthew 17:25; 22:17; Mark 12:14); and the temple-tax ("tribute money" = two drachmas = half shekel, Matthew 17:24-27; Compare Exodus 30:13). (See TRIBUTE .)