New Testament

Matthew 22:15-22

15 Then the Pharisees went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words. 16 They sent to him their disciples along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You do not court anyone’s favor because you show no partiality. 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.


Nedarim 28a

The Gemara asks, concerning the mishna’s statement that one may take a vow to tax collectors: But didn’t Shmuel say: The law of the kingdom is the law (dina de-malkhuta dina), i.e., there is a halakhic principle that Jews must obey the laws of the state in which they live? Since one must pay the tax determined by the kingdom, how did the Sages permit one to lie in order to avoid paying?

Rav Ḥinnana said that Rav Kahana said that Shmuel said: The mishna is referring to a tax collector who has no fixed amount for collection established by the kingdom, but rather collects the tax arbitrarily. Therefore, this case is not included in the law of the kingdom. A Sage of the school of Rabbi Yannai said: The mishna is referring to a tax collector who establishes himself as such independently and was not appointed by the kingdom.

The mishna states: He may also take a vow to them that his produce belongs to the house of the king, although it does not belong to the house of the king. The Gemara asks: How does he take a vow in this way? Rav Amram said that Rav said: This is a case where he said: The produce of the world should be forbidden to me if this produce does not belong to the house of the king.

The Gemara asks: Since he said that the produce of the world shall be forbidden to him, shouldn’t all the produce of the world is forbidden to him, as this produce did not belong to the house of the king? The Gemara answers: This is a case where he says: They shall be forbidden to me only today. The Gemara wonders: If he says: Today, the tax collector will not accept it as a vow, since it is not difficult to avoid eating produce for one day. Therefore, he may still be suspected of lying.