The trap they thought they were laying for Jesus was that if Jesus said one should pay taxes, He could lose popularity among the people, who saw Roman taxation as oppressive and abusive.  However, if Jesus said one should not pay taxes, He would be seen as something of an insurrectionist, and the Herodians would run to Herod with the words of Jesus, thereby giving Herod a reason to arrest Jesus.  They thought they had Him.  They thought they would succeed where the chief priests, scribes, and elders had failed.  They were sure that there was no way around this verbal snare, but they were wrong.

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