Matthew 9:10 Commentary - Abbott's Illustrated New TestamentVerse 10
Publicans and sinners. The publicans mentioned in the New Testament were persons employed by the government, or by farmers of the revenue acting under authority of the government, to collect customs and taxes. They were generally held in great detestation, not only on account their usual depravity of character but also because it was exceedingly humiliating to the proud spirit of the Jews, to be compelled to pay taxes to their heathen masters, whom they both hated and despised. The feeling, however, with which the publicans were regarded, was, in part, a prejudice, and in some cases, perhaps, as, for instance, in that of Matthew, wholly so. There is no evidence that he was not always a man of uprightness on integrity. That the office in itself innocent, seems to be implied by the directions which John gave for the performance of its duties. (Luke 3:12,13.)
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Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
The electronic edition of John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott's The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Translated Out of the Original Greek, and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised; with Explanatory Notes has been produced from a copy of the printed text published by O. A. Browning and Company (Toledo, OH, 1878). The title on the spine of the book is Abbott's Illustrated New Testament, and on the half-title page, The Pictorial New Testament; with Notes; by Jacob and John S. C. Abbott.