Bible History Online Images & Resource Pages

Categories

Ancient Documents
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Israel
Ancient Near East
Ancient Other
Ancient Persia
Ancient Rome
Archaeology
Bible Animals
Bible Books
Bible Cities
Bible History
Bible Names A-G
Bible Names H-M
Bible Names N-Z
Bible Verses
Biblical Archaeology
Childrens Resources
Church History
Illustrated History
Images & Art
Intertestamental
Jerusalem
Jesus
Languages
Manners & Customs
Maps & Geography
Messianic Prophecies
Museums
Mythology & Beliefs
People - Ancient Egypt
People - Ancient Greece
People - Ancient Near East
People - Ancient Rome
Rabbinical Works
Second Temple
Sites - Egypt
Sites - Israel
Sites - Jerusalem
Societies & Studies
Study Tools
Timelines & Charts
Weapons & Warfare
World History

April 25    Scripture

Bible History Online Submission Page
Bible History OnlineBible History Online Search
Bible History Online Sitemap
About Bible History OnlineBible History Online Help


Smiths Bible Dictionary

 

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 


Publican
        The class designated by this word in the New Testament were employed as collectors of the Roman revenue. The Roman senate farmed the vectigalia (direct taxes) and the portorin (customs) to capitalists who undertook to pay a given sum into the treasury (in publicum), and so received the name of publicani. Contracts of this kind fell naturally into the hands of the equites, as the richest class of Romans. They appointed managers, under whom were the portitores, the actual custom-house officers, who examined each bale of goods, exported or imported, assessed its value more or less arbitrarily, wrote out the ticket, and enforced payment. The latter were commonly natives of the province in which they were stationed as being brought daily into contact with all classes of the population. The name pubicani was used popularly, and in the New Testament exclusively, of the portitores. The system was essentially a vicious one. The portitores were encouraged in the most vexatious or fraudulent exactions and a remedy was all but impossible. They overcharged whenever they had an opportunity, Lu 3:13 they brought false charges of smuggling in the hope of extorting hush-money Lu 19:8 they detained and opened letters on mere suspicion. It was the basest of all livelihoods. All this was enough to bring the class into ill favor everywhere. In Judea and Galilee there were special circumstances of aggravation. The employment brought out all the besetting vices of the Jewish character. The strong feeling of many Jews as to the absolute unlawfulness of paying tribute at all made matters worse. The scribes who discussed the question, Mt 22:15 for the most part answered it in the negative. In addition to their other faults, accordingly, the publicans of the New Testament were regarded as traitors and apostates, defiled by their frequent intercourse with the heathen, willing tools of the oppressor. The class thus practically excommunicated furnished some of the earliest disciples both of the Baptist and of our Lord. The position of Zacchaeus as a "chief among the publicans," Lu 19:2 implies a gradation of some kind among the persons thus employed.

Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr "Definition for 'Publican' Smiths Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Smiths; 1901.

Copyright Information
Smiths's Bible Dictionary

Smiths Bible Dictionary Home
Bible History Online Home

Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Online Bible (KJV)
Naves Topical Bible
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Hitchcocks's Bible Names Dictionary