An annual tax, required of every Jewish male, was designated for maintenance and support of the temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps the temple officials who collected this tax approached Peter about paying it because Jesus and His disciples were hard to pin down. Their teaching and healing ministry kept them moving from place to place.
The New International Version translates the Greek word for “tribute money” in this verse as “two-drachma tax.” The standard Greek coin of that time was the drachma. It took two of these coins to pay the tax.
The drachma was roughly equivalent to the Roman coin known as the denarius. A common laborer of Bible times would often be paid one denarius for a full day’s work (Matthew 20:2).
MATTHEW 17:24 – They [the temple officials] that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master [Jesus] pay tribute [the temple tax, NIV]?