2:14 As he went along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax booth. 4 “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.
[2:14] 4 tn While “tax office” is sometimes given as a translation for τελώνιον (telwnion, so L&N 57.183), this could give the modern reader a false impression of an indoor office with all its associated furnishings.
[2:14] sn The tax booth was a booth located on the edge of a city or town to collect taxes for trade. There was a tax booth in Capernaum, which was on the trade route from Damascus to Galilee and the Mediterranean. The “taxes” were collected on produce and goods brought into the area for sale, and were a sort of “sales tax” paid by the seller but obviously passed on to the purchaser in the form of increased prices (L&N 57.183). It was here that Jesus met Levi (also named Matthew [see Matt 9:9]) who was ultimately employed by the Romans, though perhaps more directly responsible to Herod Antipas. It was his job to collect taxes for Rome and he was thus despised by Jews who undoubtedly regarded him as a traitor.