Every Jew throughout the world was required to pay an annual tribute or capitation-tax of half a shekel, about twenty-five cents, in acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty and for the maintenance of the temple service, Exodus 30:12-15. It was with reference to this that Christ says, in effect, Matthew 17:25,26, "If this tribute be levied in the name of The Father, then I, The Son, am free."
In other New Testament passages, tribute means the tax levied by the Romans. On the question of paying tribute to foreigners and idolaters, Matthew 22:16-22, Christ gave a reply which neither party could stigmatize as rebellious, or as unpatriotic and irreligious. By themselves using Caesar’s currency, both parties acknowledged the fact of his supremacy. Christ warns them to render to all men their dues; and above all to regard the claims of him whose superscription is on every thing, 1 Corinthians 10:31 1 Peter 2:9,13.