Matthew 17:27


King James Version (KJV)

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go you to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first comes up; and when you have opened his mouth, you shall find a piece of money: that take, and give to them for me and you.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go you to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first comes up; and when you have opened his mouth, you shall find a piece of money: that take, and give to them for me and you.

American Standard Version (ASV)

But, lest we cause them to stumble, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a shekel: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

But, so that we may not be a cause of trouble to them, go to the sea, and let down a hook, and take the first fish which comes up; and in his mouth you will see a bit of money: take that, and give it to them for me and you.

Webster's Revision

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take the fish that first cometh up: and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: take that, and give to them for me and thee.

World English Bible

But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."

English Revised Version (ERV)

But, lest we cause them to stumble, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a shekel: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Definitions for Matthew 17:27

Cast - Worn-out; old; cast-off.
Sea - Large basin.

Clarke's Matthew 17:27 Bible Commentary

Lest we - offend them - Be a stumbling-block to the priests, or rulers of the Jews, I will pay the tribute - go thou to the sea - cast a hook, and take the first fish - thou shalt find a piece of money, στατηρα, a stater. This piece of money was equal in value to four drachms, or two shekels, (five shillings of our money), and consequently was sufficient to pay the tribute for our Lord and Peter, which amounted to about half-a-crown each. If the stater was in the mouth or belly of the fish before, who can help admiring the wisdom of Christ, that discovered it there? If it was not before in the mouth of the fish, who can help admiring the power of Christ, that impelled the fish to go where the stater had been lost in the bottom of the sea, take it up, come towards the shore where Peter was fishing, and, with the stater in its mouth or stomach, catch hold of the hook that was to draw it out of the water? But suppose there was no stater there, which is as likely as otherwise, then Jesus created it for the purpose, and here his omnipotence was shown; for to make a thing exist that did not exist before is an act of unlimited power, however small the thing itself may be. Some suppose that the haddock was the fish caught by Peter, because this fish has a blackish mark on each side of its neck or shoulders, as seems to exhibit the impression of a finger and thumb. The haddock is the gadus eglesinus. But this being a sea fish, could not be a native of the sea of Galilee or Tiberias, etc., for the river Jordan runs through the sea of Galilee, and falls into the Dead Sea, which has no outlet to the ocean: no sea fish of any kind can be found there; and we may add to this, that Belzoni, a learned traveler, who examined the produce of the lake of Tiberias, found only trouts, pikes, chevins, and tenches. That it may, besides these, have some fishes peculiar to itself, as most extensive fresh water lakes have, need not be denied; but it could have no sea fish.

The account of the transfiguration, the peculiar case of the lunatic, with his cure, and the miracle wrought to pay the tribute money, render this one of the most interesting and instructive chapters in the New Testament.

1. To what has already been said on the subject of the transfiguration, nothing need be added: I have given that sense to it which the circumstances of the case, the construction of the words, and the analogy of faith warrant. That others have understood the whole transaction differently, is readily granted. Some of the foreign critics, who are also called divines, have stripped it, by their mode of interpretation, of all its strength, use, and meaning. With them, it is thus to be understood: - "Jesus, with his disciples, Peter, James, and John, went by night into a mountain, for the purpose of prayer and meditation; while thus engaged, the animal spirits of the disciples were overcome by watching and fatigue, and they fell asleep: in this sleep they dreamed, or Peter only dreamed, that he saw his Master encompassed with a glorious light, and that Moses and Elijah were conversing with him. That early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, there happened some electric or thunder-like explosions (a thing not unfrequent near some mountains) by which the disciples were suddenly awoke; that Peter, whose mind was strongly impressed with his dream, seeing the rising sun shine gloriously upon his Master, and his strongly impressed senses calling to remembrance his late vision, he for a moment imagined he saw, not only the glory of which he had dreamed, but the persons also - Moses and Elijah, still standing on the mount with Christ; that not being as yet sufficiently awake, finding the images impressed on his imagination fleeting away with his returning exercise of reason, he cried out, before he was aware, Lord! it is good for its to be here, let us make three tabernacles, etc.; but in a short time, having recovered the regular use of his senses, he perceived that it was a dream; and, having told it to our Lord and his brother disciples, lest the Jews might take occasion of jealousy from it, he was desired to tell the vision to no man." This is the substance of that strange explanation given by those learned men to this extraordinary transaction; a mode of interpretation only calculated to support that system which makes it an important point to deny and decry all supernatural and miraculous influence, and to explain away all the spirituality of the New Testament. Whatever ingenuity may be in this pretended elucidation, every unprejudiced person must see that it can never be brought to accord with the letter and concomitant circumstances of this most remarkable case.

2. The cure of the deaf and dumb lunatic has been treated, by the same critics, in nearly the same way, and for the same obvious design, namely, to exclude from the world all supernatural agency; and could they succeed in this, of what value, or, indeed, utility, could the whole New Testament be to mankind? We might be well astonished to find such a history, with such a great variety of curious and apparently interesting circumstances: - a wondrous person, laboring, preaching, suffering, dying, etc., etc., without having scarcely any thing in view, but a sort of merely moral reformation of the outward man! Truly, this: -

"Is like an ocean into tempest toss'd,

To waft a feather, or to drown a fly."

But the truth of God's miraculous interpositions, the miracles of the New Testament, demoniacal possessions and influence, the atonement, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the regeneration of the corrupted human heart, etc., etc ,, must not be given up to please a certain description of persons, who have no commerce with God themselves, and cannot bear that others should either have or pretend to it.

3. The miracle wrought for the paying of the temple tribute money, is exceedingly remarkable. The note on Matthew 17:27, brings this particularly to view. To what is there said, it may be added, that our Lord seems to have wrought this miracle for the following purposes: -

1. More forcibly to impress the minds of his disciples, and his followers in general, with the necessity and propriety of being subject to all the laws of the different states, kingdoms, etc., wheresoever the providence of God might cast their lot.

2. To show forth his own unlimited power and knowledge, that they might be fully convinced that he knew all things, even to the most minute; and could do whatsoever he pleased; and that both his wisdom and power were continually interested in behalf of his true disciples.

3. To teach all believers a firm trust and reliance on Divine Providence, the sources of which can never be exhausted; and which, directed by infinite wisdom and love, will make every provision essentially requisite for the comfort and support, of life. How many of the poor followers of Christ have been enabled to discern his kind hand, even in the means furnished them to discharge the taxes laid on them by the state! The profane and the unprincipled may deride, and mock on, but the people of God know it to be their duty, and their interest, to be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; and, while his grace and providence render this obedience, in things both spiritual and secular, possible, his love, which their hearts feel, renders their duty their delight. The accomplishment of such ends as these is worthy both of the wisdom and benevolence of Christ.

Barnes's Matthew 17:27 Bible Commentary

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them - That is, lest they should think that we despise the temple and its service, and thus provoke needless opposition; though we are not under obligation to pay it, yet it is best to pay it to them.

Go to the sea - This was at Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.

Thou shalt find a piece of money - In the original, thou shalt find a stater, a Roman silver coin of the value of four drachmas, or one shekel, and of course sufficient to pay the tribute for two - himself and Peter.

In whatever way this is regarded, it is proof that Jesus was possessed of divine attributes. If he knew that the first fish that came up would have such a coin in his mouth, it was proof of omniscience. If he created the coin for the occasion and placed it there, then it was proof of divine power. The former is the most probable supposition. It is by no means absurd that a fish should have swallowed a silver coin. Many of them bite eagerly at anything bright, and would not hesitate, therefore, at swallowing a piece of money.

Remarks On Matthew 17

1. It is proper to withdraw from those around us that we may engage in secret prayer; and it is desirable for every one to have a place where he may be alone with God, Matthew 17:1. Christ often went into deserts and on mountains that he might be by himself. This should be done:

(1) to avoid the appearance of ostentation.

(2) pride is easily excited when we know that others hear us pray.

Everyone should have some place - some closet - to which he may retire at any time, with the assurance that none sees him but God. See the notes at Matthew 6:6.

2. In such seasons we shall meet God, Matthew 17:2. It was in such a season that the divine favor was uniquely shown to Christ. Then the transfiguration took place - the brightest manifestation of his glory that ever occurred on earth. So the clearest and most precious manifestations of the love and glory of God will be made to us in prayer.

3. We see the great glory of Christ, Matthew 17:2. No such favor had been granted to any prophet before him. We see the regard in which he was held by Moses and Elias among the greatest of the prophets. We see the honor which God put on him, exalting him far above them both, Matthew 17:5. The glory of heaven encompasses the Lord Jesus, and all its redeemed pay him reverence. In him the divine nature shines illustriously; and of him and to him the divinity speaks in glory as the only begotten Son of God.

4. It is right to have particular affection for some Christians more than others, at the same time that we should love them all. Christ loved all his disciples, but he admitted some to special friendship and favors, Matthew 17:1. Some Christians may be more congenial to us in feeling, age, and education than others; and it is proper, and may be greatly to our advantage, to admit them among our special friends.

5. The death of Jesus is an object of great interest to the redeemed. Moses and Elias talked of it, Luke 9:31. Angels also desire to look into this great subject, 1 Peter 1:12. By that death all the redeemed are saved, and in that death the angels see the most signal display of the justice and love of God.

6. Christians should delight to be where God has manifested his glory. The feeling of Peter was natural, Matthew 17:4. His love of the glorious presence of Christ and the redeemed was right. He erred only in the manner of manifesting that love. We should always love the house of prayer - the sanctuary the place where Christ has manifested himself as especially glorious and precious to our souls, or unique as our Friend and Deliverer.


Wesley's Matthew 17:27 Bible Commentary

17:27 Yet that, we may not offend them - Even those unjust, unreasonable men, who claim what they have no manner of right to: do not contest it with them, bat rather yield to their demand, than violate peace or love. O what would not one of a loving spirit do for peace! Any thing which is not expressly forbidden in the word of God. A piece of money - The original word is a stater, which was in value two shillings and sixpence: just the sum that was wanted. Give for me and thee - Peter had a family of his own: the other apostles were the family of Jesus. How illustrious a degree of knowledge and power did our Lordhere discover! Knowledge, penetrating into this animal, though beneath the waters; and power, in directing this very fish to Peter's hook, though he himself was at a distance! How must this have encouraged both him and his brethren in a firm dependence on Divine Providence.

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