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And they (the Jerusalem authorities, c. AD 30) sent out to him (Jesus of Nazareth) some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, so that they might entrap him in word.
There are the final few days before Jesus’ execution on the cross. He has come to Jerusalem so that this will take place. His purpose is now to bring into the light the truth about the religious and political authorities there, knowing that this will provoke them to kill him.
He has just made clear to them – admittedly using a parallel story - that they are fulfilling their own Scriptures by having decided already to kill him. So, temporarily defeated but unwilling to capitulate they attempt entrapment.
And, coming to him, they stated, “Teacher, we have perceived that you are true and it is not any concern of yours about anyone else. For you do not look at the face of human beings but teach in truth the way of God. Is it permitted to give a poll tax to Caesar, or not? Should we give, or should we not give?”