Search This Blog

What was a census in the Bible?

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…And everyone went to their own town to register. Luke 2:1,3

            A census in Roman times had the same purpose behind a census today—to get an accurate headcount of people so you can tax them.  Rome had a huge infrastructure—roads, buildings, armies.  Who was going to pay for all that?  The people of course.

            Caesar Augustus was also known as Octavian, whose uncle was Julius Caesar.  When Julius was stabbed to death, Augustus took over.  He really expanded the empire, brought peace to the land.  All of that work needed money.

            History shows that Rome had three censuses around Jesus time: 28 BC, 8 BC, 14 AD, then Judea had three censuses also: 8 BC, 2 BC, 6 AD.  Rome was greedy and powerful and demanded all the money they could from everyone possible.