The English word now conveys to us more distinctly the notion of a tax or tribute actually levied; but it appears to have been used in the sixteenth century for the simple assessment of a subsidy upon the property of a given county, or the registration of the people for the purpose of a poll-tax. Two distinct registrations, or taxings, are mentioned in the New Testament, both of them by St. Luke, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The first is said to have been the result of an edict of the emperor Augustus, that "all the world (i.e. the Roman empire) should be taxed," (Luke 2:1) and is connected by the evangelist with the name of Cyrenius Quirinus. The second and more important, (Acts 6:37) is distinctly associated, in point of time, with the revolt of Judas of Galilee.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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