And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
The record in Matthew is not as odd as it might seem to us. In the Bible lands there is a fish called a Musht. This fish is about six inches long, has a large head, and a bag under its mouth. The Musht picks up coins and other objects that sparkle in the water and keeps them in the bag under its mouth. They are hard to catch and rare but some men have become rich by catching Musht. Other fishermen have never caught one. Coins are often thrown into bodies of water that people believe to be holy at times of prayer as offerings to God. The Musht pick up the coins from the bottom of the rivers.