Coin in the fish's mouth
In the Gospel account, in Capernaum the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax ask Peter whether Jesus pays the tax, and he replies that he does. When Peter returns to where they are staying, Jesus speaks of the matter, asking his opinion: "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes — from their own children or from others?" Peter answers, "from others," and Jesus replies: "Then the children are exempt. But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
The story ends at this point, without stating that Peter caught the fish as Jesus predicted.
The four-drachma coin would be exactly enough to pay the temple tax (two-drachma coin) for two people. The coin in the fish's mouth is generally seen as a symbolic act or sign, but there is little agreement concerning what it signifies.
The Bible does not name the fish, but Tilapia is sometimes referred to as St. Peter's fish.
- Render unto Caesar
- Life of Jesus in the New Testament
- Miracles of Jesus
- The Tribute Money (Masaccio)
- Daniel J. Scholz 2009 Introducing the New Testament ISBN 0-88489-955-1 page 86
- Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 page 349
- Herbert Lockyer, All the Miracles of the Bible (Zondervan, 1988) page 219.
- Graham H. Twelftree, Jesus the Miracle Worker: A Historical and Theological Study (InterVarsity Press, 1999), page 137.
- Keener, Craig S., 2009, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 0-8028-6498-8, page 445.