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And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:1 all the world. Such a decree does not reflect ignorance on the emperor’s part, but arrogance. As great as the Roman Empire was, he certainly knew that Rome could not gather taxes beyond its own boundaries. He evidently believed that the rather limited part of the “world” (i.e., in Greek, oikoumene, meaning “inhabited world”) which was controlled by Rome was all that deserved the designation.

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