Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
CaeSAR ( Καῖσαρ).—In the Gospel record this name occurs 18 times, in 16 of which it answers to ‘reigning emperor,’ who in each case was Tiberius Caesar; in the remaining two the more individual name is found,—in the one case Augustus ( Luke 2:1), and in the other Tiberius (3:1).
The name ‘Caesar’ was assumed by Augustus in 44 b.c., immediately after the tragic death of his grand-uncle, Julius Caesar, being considered by him part of the inheritance left to him. We have Cicero’s authority ( ad Att . xiv. 5, 10, 11, 12) for saying that the friends of Octavius began to address him as ‘Caesar’ within a week or two of the Dictator’s assassination. Augustus himself soon gave evidence that he meant to gather up and concentrate on himself all the fame that was associated with ‘Caesar.’ Not many years passed till he came to exercise a world-wide sway, such as the great Julius had never known. He handed on the title to his successors very much as we find it used by the writers of the NT, in the sense of the great ruler or Kaiser. His own name (Gr. Σεβαστός, Lat. Augustus ) was quite familiar to them as applied to the reigning emperor ( Acts 25:21; Acts 25:25, Nero). The fame of the first Caesar had come to be overshadowed by the remarkable career of the founder of the Empire. The way was thus prepared for the still later development, when the title of ‘Caesar’ was given to the junior partner of the two joint-emperors, and ‘Augustus’ remained the distinguishing name of the supreme ruler. In the Gospel record there is clear confirmation of the first part of this historical development, and there is at the same time no contradiction of the second.
In the majority of the cases of the use of the title ‘Caesar’ in the Gospel writings, the question of paying the tribute has come up. This reveals the great change that had taken place from the time of the ‘census’ under Augustus, when ‘everyone went to enrol himself in his own city’ ( Luke 2:3), to that of the trial before Pilate, when the chief charge against Jesus was said to be ‘the forbidding to give tribute to Caesar’ ( Luke 23:2). In those thirty-three years of interval the relation between the Roman power, as represented by ‘Caesar,’ and the Jewish people, had undergone a radical change. Judaea had become a Roman province, and was under obligation to ‘pay tribute as well as submit to an enrolment of its heads of households. In perfect accord with this historical fact, St. Luke wrote ( Luke 3:1): ‘Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea,’ with the tetrarchs for Galilee, Ituraea, and Abilene, desiring to mark the period in the reign of Tiberius Caesar when ‘the word of God came to John in the wilderness.’ The change came with the death of Herod the Great in 4 b.c. While Varus, the governor of Syria, was engaged in quelling serious outbreaks of rebellion in Jerusalem, the sons of Herod were in Rome waiting the decision of Augustus as to their conflicting claims. At length all parties were heard by the emperor in an assembly that met in the celebrated temple of Apollo, behind his own house on the Palatine. The imperial verdict, announced after a few days, upheld substantially the will of Herod. To Archelaus were assigned Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea—not as king, but as ethnarch; to Antipas, Galilee and Peraea as tetrarch; Batanaea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, Gaulanitis, and Paneas to Philip, also as tetrarch (Josephus Ant . xvii. viii. 1, xi. 4). The kingdom of Herod was thus divided into three separate territories after his death. As it was in Jerusalem that the question as to the tribute money was raised, our subject in this article has to do only with Archelaus. After some nine years of rule over Judaea, Archelaus was summoned to Rome to answer charges brought against him by a deputation of leading men from Judaea and Samaria. He was deposed and banished by Augustus to Vienne in Gaul in a.d. 6. His territory was put under direct Roman rule, becoming a part of the province of Syria, with a Roman of equestrian rank for its governor. An end was thus put to the uniform consideration for Jewish traditions and national prejudices shown by Herod and his sons. The first notable instance of this in history is met with in the rebellion of a.d. 6, on the occasion of the great census, while Quirinius was governor of Syria, which is referred to in Acts 5:37. The tumult, with its accompanying bloodshed, must have been of no slight moment, when a quarter of a century thereafter Gamaliel could effectually use it in restraining the Council from slaying the Apostles. Between a.d. 6 and a.d. 30, whichever length of cycle for the imperial census be taken, there must have been at least another ‘enrolment’ for purposes of taxation. We do not read of a serious revolt having taken place then as in 6 a.d. The Roman authorities, no doubt, were better prepared for what might happen, and the Jewish people also had learned the fruitlessness of rebellion. As the time of Christ’s public ministry approached, their spirit nevertheless became more and more embittered. It was inevitable that at some point or other in that ministry the question should be pressed upon Him, ‘Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?’ ( Matthew 22:17 ||). It was one of the burning questions of His time. A distinction must here be drawn between the ‘customs’ or duties upon goods and the land tax with poll tax. The latter only passed into the ‘Fiscus’ or imperial treasury. With perfect accuracy, therefore, it could be described as ‘tribute to Caesar.’ This tax was exacted annually, and as the Jews were not yet subject to military conscription, it formed the chief sign of their subjection to the Roman yoke. Officers of state collected it, the procurator for the tax in the case of Judaea being also the governor, Pilate. It was different with the ‘customs,’ which were farmed out to the highest bidder, thus creating that intense antipathy which is revealed in the phrase ‘publicans and sinners.’
The tribute payment after all was based on the fact of the kingship of Caesar. The combination of ‘Caesar’ with ‘king’ sounds entirely unhistorical to one familiar with the rise and growth of the Roman Empire. ‘King’ was a term which Augustus was most careful to avoid from the time that it may be said to have cost the first ‘Caesar’ his life. Among Eastern peoples, however, it was the most usual title for their ruler. During the long reign of Herod no name was more familiar to the Jews than ‘king.’ It was most natural for them to transfer it to ‘Caesar.’ Any one claiming to be a ‘king’ within the wide dominion of Caesar was seeking to establish a rival authority. This was the charge which they found it so easy to frame against Jesus when He and they were in the presence of Pilate: ‘forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king’ ( Luke 23:2). No more powerful appeal could they have made to Pilate’s fears, as they thought, than when they cried out, ‘If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar’ ( John 19:12). The title on the cross, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews’ ( John 19:19), as Pilate actually wrote it, served him better than their proposed modification, ‘He said, I am king of the Jews’ ( John 19:31). Should he ever be called in question by Caesar for giving Jesus up to death, that title, written out by his own hand, would form an ample justification. The greater probability lies in the supposition that Pilate so named Him to spite the Jews, in accordance with those other words, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ ( John 19:15). The whole attitude of Jesus towards Caesar, not only in the question of the tribute, but throughout the trial before Pilate, must have entirely disarmed the Roman governor of any fear that He was, or ever had been, a rival of Caesar’s.
J. Gordon Gray.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
CÃ†SAR . This is the cognomen or surname of the gens Julia , which was borne, for example, by its most illustrious representative, Caius Julius CÃ¦sar. The emperor Augustus (b.c. 23 a.d. 14) had it by adoption, and was officially named ‘Imperator CÃ¦sar Augustus.’ His stepson, the emperor Tiberius, officially ‘Tiberius CÃ¦sar Augustus’ (a.d. 14 37), had it through his adoption by Augustus. It was borne also, amongst other less important persons, by the emperor Caius CÃ¦sar Germanicus (nicknamed ‘Caligula,’ ‘Boots’) (a.d. 37 41), who was a son of Germanicus, the adopted son of the emperor Tiberius. These alone among the Roman emperors had it as a family name, but all the emperors bore it as a title except Vitellius (a.d. 69), and hence we find it continued in the titles Kaiser and Czar . The beginning of this use is seen in the NT. There the name is found always, except twice ( Luke 2:1; Luke 3:1 ), by itself, simply equal to ‘the Emperor.’ The remaining emperors of the 1st cent. are Claudius (wh. see), Nero (wh. see), Galba (9 June 68 15 Jan. 69), Otho (15 Jan. 25 Apr. 69), Vitellius (2 Jan. 69 20 [?] Dec. 70), Vespasian (69 79), Titus (71 79 81), Domitian (81 96), Nerva (96 98), Trajan (97 98 117).
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
The common title of the successive Roman emperors, taken from Julius Caesar. In the New Testament Augustus in Luke 2:1, Tiberius in Luke 3:1, Claudius in Acts 11:28, Nero in Acts 25:11, etc. Roman citizens as Paul had the right of "appeal to Caesar," and in criminal cases were sent for judgment to Rome, where was the emperor's court ( Philippians 4:22; compare Philippians 1:13); Nero is the emperor meant. John's exile to Patmos ( Revelation 1:9) was probably in Domitian's reign. The current coin bore Caesar's image, the argument which Jesus used to show Caesar could claim tribute ( Matthew 22:17, etc.). Though Caesar did not call himself "king," the Jews did ( John 19:15), in which respect Josephus (B. J. 5:2, section 2) confirms the gospel undesignedly.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
The name ‘Caesar’ was a Roman family name that became famous through Caesar Augustus, the man who in 27 BC introduced a new era in Roman affairs. Out of the disorder that characterized Rome and its colonies, Caesar Augustus founded what became known as the Roman Empire ( Luke 2:1). People held him in such honour that later rulers took his name Caesar as their title ( Luke 3:1). By New Testament times the common practice was to refer to the Emperor simply as Caesar ( Mark 12:14; Luke 20:22; John 19:15; Acts 17:7; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:25). For further details see Rome .
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
Originally the surname of the Julian family at Rome. After being dignified in the person of Julias Caesar, it became the usual appellation of those of his family who ascended the throne. The last of these was Nero, but the name was still retained by his successors as a sort of title belonging to the imperial dignity. The emperors alluded to by this title in the New Testament, are Augustus, Luke 2:1; Tiberius, Luke 3:1 20:22; Claudius, Acts 11:28; and Nero, Acts 25:8 Philippians 4:22 . Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius, is not mentioned.
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary 
Perhaps the reader doth not know, or recollect, that this name was used by all the Roman Emperors, whatever their other name might be. Thus Tiberius was the Emperor in the days of our Lord. (See Luke 3:1) But our Lord only called him Caesar. (See Matthew 22:21) And Paul the apostle, when compelled to appeal against the injustice of Festus, said, I appeal unto Caesar; whereas, Nero was at that time the Emperor. (See Acts 25:10-11)
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
a title borne by all the Roman emperors till the destruction of the empire. It took its rise from the surname of the first emperor, Caius Julius Caesar; and this title, by a decree of the senate, all the succeeding emperors were to bear. In Scripture, the reigning emperor is generally mentioned by the name of Caesar, without expressing any other distinction:
so in Matthew 22:21 ," Render unto Caesar," &c, Tiberius is meant; and in Acts 25:10 , "I appeal unto Caesar," Nero is intended.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
The common title given to succeeding Roman emperors, adopted from the name of Julius Caesar. Matthew 22:17,21; Mark 12:14,16,17; Luke 2:1; John 19:12,15; Acts 25:8,21; Philippians 4:22; etc. The history of the New Testament fell under the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
John 19:15 Acts 17:7 Matthew 22:17 Acts 25:11 Luke 2:1 Acts 11:28 Acts 25:8 Philippians 4:22
Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types 
Matthew 22:21 (b) He represents anyone who rightfully rules over us and to whom certain obligations are due.
John 19:12 (c) Here he is a type of any earthly relationship which replaces or displaces the Lordship of Christ
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Cae'sar. Always, in the New Testament, the Roman emperor, the sovereign of Judea. John 19:12; John 19:15; Acts 17:7.
Webster's Dictionary 
(n.) A Roman emperor, as being the successor of Augustus Caesar. Hence, a kaiser, or emperor of Germany, or any emperor or powerful ruler. See Kaiser, Kesar.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Graecized Καῖσαρ ; hence the Germ. title Kaiser, Russian Czar), a name assumed by or conferred upon all the Roman emperors after Julius Caesar (who is said to have been so named from his having been born by a surgical operation, Ccesus). In this way It became a sort of title, like Pharaoh, and, as such, is usually applied to the emperors in the New Testament, as the sovereign of Judaea ( John 19:15; Acts 17:7), without theirdistinctive proper names. (See Augustus).
It was to him that the Jews paid tribute ( Matthew 22:17; Luke 20:22; Luke 23:2), and to him that such Jews as were Cives Romani had the right of appeal ( Acts 25:11; Acts 26:32; Acts 28:19); in which cise, if their cause was a criminal one, they were sent to Rome ( Acts 25:12; Acts 25:21; comp. Pliny, Epp. 10:97), where was the court of the emperor ( Philippians 4:22). The Caesars mentioned in the New Testament are Augustus ( Luke 2:1), Tiberius ( Luke 3:1; Luke 20:22), Claudius ( Acts 11:28), Nero ( Acts 25:8); Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius, is not mentioned. See each name. On Philippians 4:22, (See Household).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
sē´zar Καίσαρ Kaı́sar Luke 2:1 Luke 3:1 Matthew 22:17 Matthew 22:21 Acts 25:11 Acts 25:12 Acts 25:21
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Cæ´sar, a name assumed by, or conferred upon, all the Roman emperors after Julius Caesar. In this way it became a sort of title like Pharaoh, and, as such, is usually applied to the emperors in the New Testament, without their distinctive proper names (Augustus). The Caesars mentioned in the New Testament are Augustus (); Tiberius (; ). Claudius (); Nero (); Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius, is not mentioned.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
Name of an old Roman family claiming descent from the Trojan Æneas, which the emperors of Rome from Augustus to Nero of right inherited, though the title was applied to succeeding emperors and to the heirs-apparent of the Western and the Eastern Empires; it survives in the titles of the Kaiser of Germany and the Czar of Russia.
- ↑ Caesar from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- ↑ Caesar from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Caesar from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types
- ↑ Caesar from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Webster's Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Holman Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Caesar from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- ↑ Caesar from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- ↑ Caesar from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
- ↑ Caesar from The Nuttall Encyclopedia