21他们回答：“凯撒的。”他就对他们说：“凯撒的应当归给凯撒， 神的应当归给 神。”
21 They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
21 Verse 21. They say unto him, Caesars.] The image was the head
of the emperor; the superscription, his titles. JULIUS CAESAR
was the first who caused his image to be struck on the Roman coin.
Tiberius was emperor at this time.
Render therefore unto Caesar] The conclusion is drawn from
their own premises. You acknowledge this to be Caesar's coin;
this coin is current, in your land; the currency of this coin
shows the country to be under the Roman government; and your
acknowledgment that it is Caesar's proves you have submitted.
Don't therefore be unjust; but render to Caesar the things which
you acknowledge to be his; at the same time, be not impious, but
render unto God the thing's which belong to God.
This answer is full of consummate wisdom. It establishes the
limits, regulates the rights, and distinguishes the jurisdiction
of the two empires of heaven and earth. The image of
princes stamped on their coin denotes that temporal things belong
all to their government. The image of God stamped on the soul
denotes that all its faculties and powers belong to the Most High,
and should be employed in his service.
But while the earth is agitated and distracted with the question
of political rights and wrongs, the reader will naturally ask,
What does a man owe to Caesar?-to the civil government under which
he lives? Our Lord has answered the question-That which IS
Caesar's. But what is it that is Caesar's? 1. Honour. 2.
Obedience. And 3. Tribute. 1. The civil government under which a
man lives, and by which he is protected, demands his honour and
reverence. 2. The laws which are made for the suppression of
evil doers, and the maintenance of good order, which are
calculated to promote the benefit of the whole, and the comfort of
the individual should be religiously obeyed. 3. The government
that charges itself with the support and defence of the whole,
should have its unavoidable expenses, however great, repaid by the
people, in whose behalf they are incurred; therefore we should pay
tribute. But remember, if Caesar should intrude into the things
of God, coin a new creed, or broach a new Gospel, and affect to
rule the conscience, while he rules the state, in these things
Caesar is not to be obeyed; he is taking the things of God, and he
must not get them. Give not therefore God's things to Caesar, and
give not Caesar's things to God. That which belongs to the
commonwealth should, on no account whatever, be devoted to
religious uses; and let no man think he has pleased God, by giving
that to charitable or sacred uses which he has purloined from the
state. The tribute of half a shekel, which the law, (,)
required every person above twenty years of age to pay to the
temple, was, after the destruction of the temple, in the time of
Vespasian, paid into the emperor's exchequer. This sum,
Melanethon supposes, amounted annually to THREE TONS OF GOLD.