Tiberius Denarius – Biblical Tribute Penny
Tiberius’ denarius coins with Pax reverse are commonly known as the ‘Tribute Penny.
The Tiberius silver denarius is a historically significant silver coin minted during the time of Jesus Christ. The Roman Empire struck it under Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD), and it is also known as the Tribute Penny in the King James version of the bible.
Paying Taxes to Ceasar
The Pharisees asked Jesus about paying the Roman tax to trap him and test his views on the subject. They sought a way to discredit him and create controversy, as they felt threatened by Jesus’ growing popularity and influence.
The issue of paying the Roman tax was sensitive, as many Jews felt that paying taxes to the Roman Empire was a form of submission and a denial of their independence as a nation. At the same time, there was a practical necessity for paying the tax, as those who refused to pay were subject to punishment, including imprisonment, fines, and confiscation of property.
The Pharisees sought to take advantage of this tension by asking Jesus whether it was lawful to pay the Roman tax. If he answered that it was unlawful, he would be seen as challenging the authority of the Roman Empire and inciting rebellion. On the other hand, if he answered that it was lawful to pay the tax, he would alienate the Jewish people and be seen as a collaborator with the Roman occupiers.
Thus, the Pharisees attempted to trick Jesus into speaking against or endorsing the tax to discredit him and create controversy.
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
However, Jesus cleverly avoided their trap by asking for a coin and then asking whose image was on it. When they answered “Caesar’s,” he responded by saying, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:20). With this answer, Jesus emphasized the importance of obedience to civil authorities, while also affirming the supremacy of God’s authority.
Obverse: CAESAR DIVI AVG. F. AVGVSTVS, Laureate head
Reverse: PONTIF. MAXIM., Livia as Pax, holding a reversed spear, seated r. on a throne with ornamented legs
Exact Replica coin of the Original.
Diameter: 18 mm
Material: Silver-plated lead-free fine pewter
Made in the USA
Packaged in a coin-collecting flip with a printed description