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A fugitive from the tax collector appeals to a Jewish courtier (11th century).

This 11th century letter refers to the yearly tax, or jizya, levied upon all males who were "People of the Book" – that is, those whose religion centered upon the Bible. The jizya paid for civil protection and the upkeep of the army. It was levied on a sliding scale, according to the wealth or poverty of the taxpayer.




O master…my condition…is one of sickness…and excessive fear…the tax officer…is bearing down upon me…issuing warrants for my arrest and…sending them to detectives who are on my trail… If I fall into their hands, I shall surely die under the punishment or go to prison and die there… Protect me!... My deliverance and salvation will come from God through your hand…If God should ordain that some money be found to pay my poll tax…it is not for myself alone, but for me and my sons… I am in God’s debt and in yours. Peace.

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