Matthew 22:21

New Testament

17 Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, “Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought him a denarius. 20 Jesus said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?” 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 Now when they heard this they were stunned, and they left him and went away.

Bava Batra 54b

Babylonian Talmud

Abaye said to Rav Yosef: Did Shmuel actually say this? But doesn’t Shmuel say that the law of the kingdom is the law, i.e., the halakha obligates Jews to observe the laws of the locale in which they reside, and the king said that land may not be acquired without a document? Therefore, taking possession should not be effective for acquisition. Rav Yosef said to him: I do not know how to reconcile this contradiction, but there was an incident in the village of Dura that was founded by shepherds, where there was a Jew who purchased land from a gentile by giving money, and in the interim another Jew came and plowed it a bit. The two Jews came before Rav Yehuda for a ruling, and he established the property in the possession of the second individual. This accords with the ruling of Shmuel that the property is ownerless until a Jew performs an act of acquisition.

 Notes and References

"... For most of Jewish history, Jews lived in the Diaspora under gentile rulers who were deemed ethically unreliable, even though Christian countries acclaimed their sovereign as the representative of God on earth. Prior to the christianisation of the Roman Empire, there was often a tug-of-war between God and Caesar. Jesus said “Pay Caesar what is Caesarʼs: pay God what is Godʼs” (Matthew 22:21). Though the context is the payment of Roman taxes, the issue is whether a human king can be Dominus et Deus – both an earthly king and a god. For Judaism, Edmond Jacob points out, God is a king, but a king cannot be God. It is easy to say “Separate the spiritual from the temporal” – yet for halachah there can be no such distinction. “Know Him in all your ways” is the doctrine of the Bible (Proverbs 3:6) ... Whatever “king” means, there is a distinction between Jewish and gentile kings, but both had to be obeyed. In the Diaspora, there is a halachic principle of dina demalchuta dina, “the law of the land is the law” (Nedarim 28a; Gittin 10b: Bava Kamma 113a/b; Bava Batra 44b/45a). Maimonides says the acceptance of the kingʼs coinage is the mark of royal authority (MT Gezelah 5:18; and see Rashbamʼs commentary to TB Bava Batra 54b). Maimonidesʼ word “acceptance” indicates an actual or tacit contract between ruler and ruled; Mordekhai Jaffe says that otherwise the king is a robber. We read in the Tosafot commentaries on TB, “The king owns the land, and those who wish to live there must obey his statutes” ..."

Apple, Raymond Jewish Prayers for the Government (pp. 1-5) Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, 2013

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