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The temple tax (which God told Moses to collect in Exodus 30:13-16) was required of Jewish males over age 20, and the money was used for the upkeep and maintenance of the temple (and, before that, the tabernacle). The tax was first collected at the time of the census in the wilderness after Israel's exodus from Egypt. By the time of 2 Kings 12:5-17 and Nehemiah 10:32-33, it seems that the temple tax was paid annually (during either Passover, Pentecost, or the Feast of Tabernacles), rather than in connection with a census. By my understanding, the amount of the tax was roughly equivalent to two days’ wages. In Jesus' conversation with Peter cited in the question, Jesus was pointing out that He and His followers were free of this obligation (since Christ as the Son of God is the "ruler" of the temple, and His disciples are His subjects, rather than foreigners), but that they must sometimes relinquish their rights in order to uphold their witness and not cause others to stumble.
The temple tax refers to the half-shekel tax paid annually by male Jews to support the temple (Exod 30:13-16). Bible.org - (to nomisma tou kensou (Mt 22:19), "the coin used in payment of the imperial taxes"): Lit. "the lawful money of the tax," which, in the case of the poll tax, had to be paid in the current coin of the realm (see Mt 17:27). ISBE says, “After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were required to pay this poll tax toward the support of the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus” and Ryrie adds “as a punishment on the Jews for their rebellion.” [THE MIRACLES OF LORD]. Mr. Maas mentioned the original tabernacle tax. “Originally the silver collected was used for making the sockets that supported the boards of the tabernacle and those of the pillars for the veil, the hooks for the pillars of the court, their capitals, and connecting rods (Ex. 36:20-25; 38:25-31). The ransom money, then, was always in sight as long as the tabernacle stood.” (Chas. Ryrie).
Greek: didrachma (G1323), double drachma, worth about $2.30 today. This was the temple tax which every Jew paid yearly (Ex. 30:13; 2Ki. 12:4; 2Chr. 24:6-9). Mathew 17:25 is evidence that Christ paid all taxes and tributes common among the people under the law of Moses. However, there is no law pertaining to such taxes today as Christ Himself nailed it on the cross and blot out the Mosaic law that mandated material offerings and blood sacrifices.. Christians are NOT subject to the O/T. laws of giving to money or offerings or blood sacrifices for remission of sins.
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