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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter X

Early Church Fathers  Index     

10.  Concerning Those Who Demanded the Half-Shekel.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received the half-shekel came to Peter.” 5904   There are certain kings of the earth, and the sons of these do not pay toll or tribute; and there are others, different from their sons, who are strangers to the kings of the earth, from whom the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute.  And among the kings of the earth, their sons are free as among fathers; but those who are strangers to them, while they are free in relation to things beyond the earth, are as slaves in respect of those who lord it over them and keep them in bondage; as the Egyptians lorded it over the children of Israel, and greatly afflicted their life and violently held them in bondage. 5905   It was for the sake of those who were in a bondage, corresponding to the bondage of the Hebrews, that the Son of God took upon Him only the form of a slave, 5906 doing no work that was foul or servile.  As then, having the form of that slave, He pays toll and tribute not different from that which was paid by His disciple; for the same stater sufficed, even the one coin which was paid for Jesus and His disciple.  But this coin was not in the house of Jesus, but it was in the sea, and in the mouth of a fish of the sea which, in my judgment, was benefited when it came up and was caught in the net of Peter, who became a fisher of men, in which net was that which is figuratively called a fish, in order also that the coin with the image of Cæsar might be taken from it, and that it might take its place among those which were caught by them who have learned to become fishers of men.  Let him, then, who has the things of Cæsar render them to Cæsar, 5907 that afterwards he may be able to render to God the things of God.  But since Jesus, who was “the image of the invisible God,” 5908 had not the image of Cæsar, for “the prince of this age had nothing in Him,” 5909 on this account He takes from its own place, the sea, the image of Cæsar, that He may give it to the kings of the earth for Himself and His disciple, so that those who receive the half-shekel might not imagine that Jesus was the debtor of them and of the kings of the earth; for He paid the debt, not having taken it up, nor having possessed it, nor having acquired it, nor at any time having made it His own possession, so that the image of Cæsar might never be along with the image of the invisible God.


Footnotes

481:5904

Matt. xvii. 24.

481:5905

Exod. 1:13, 14.

481:5906

Phil. ii. 7.

481:5907

Mark 41:17, Luke 20:25.

481:5908

Col. i. 15.

481:5909

John xiv. 31.


Next: Chapter XI

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