Levi - The same as Matthew; he appears to have been a Jew, though employed in the odious office of a tax-gatherer. For an account of his call, see his Gospel, Matthew 9:9, etc.
Levi, the son of Alpheus - The same, undoubtedly, as “Matthew,” the writer of the gospel which bears his name. It was not uncommon among the Jews to have two names.
The receipt of custom - See the notes at Matthew 9:9.
Of the Roman officials in Palestine, none were more hated than the publicans. The fact that the taxes were imposed by a foreign power was a continual irritation to the Jews, being a reminder that their independence had departed. And the taxgatherers were not merely the instruments of Roman oppression; they were extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society. DA 272.1Read in context »