Questions From Readers
● At Daniel 11:20 reference is made to “one who is causing an exacter to pass through” the land. In “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” page 249, paragraph 57, this is applied to the issuing of a decree of registration mentioned at Luke 2:1-7. But is there not a difference between the two words? How can the issuing of a registration decree be termed an exaction?—W. B., U.S.A.
The word “exactor” has reference to exacting tribute or tax and is used in this sense, for instance, at 2 Kings 23:35, which refers to King Jehoiakim’s taxing Judah in order to pay tribute to Egypt’s Pharaoh Nechoh. This signification, however, does not debar the word “exactor” from being applied to the agent whom Caesar Augustus sent throughout the land at the time that Jesus was about to be born. It is true that some translations refer to what Caesar Augustus there decreed as an enrollment of the world, whereas the New World Translation speaks of it as a registration, but we must remember that this enrollment or this registration was not merely for the purpose of finding out how many people there were in the Roman Empire, or in a province of the Roman Empire. It had an ulterior motive, and as the book, “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” shows, that ulterior motive could be the exaction of men for the army or the exaction of taxes. This exaction would be determined and administered according to the number of people enrolled or registered in any one district or province of the empire. So the end result is the same although the Hebrew word in Daniel 11:20 may be different from the Greek word in Luke 2:1-7.