2,638. An Oath Taken Under Duress

Hilchos Shevuos 3:1

If someone takes one of the four types of oaths under duress, he isn’t responsible. This applies to one who took a false oath based on reasons beyond his control as has already been discussed, one who took an oath and was then coerced in a manner that kept him from fulfilling his oath, and to one who was forced by another to take an oath. Accordingly, one may take an oath if compelled to do so by robbers, killers or tax collectors. [Note: “tax collectors” were corrupt individuals who used force to extort money, not a well-regulated government agency; see next halacha.]

Hilchos Shevuos 3:2

The tax collectors referred to in the previous halacha are those who assumed the position unilaterally, taking money without legal authorization, or those who collect with legal authorization but take more than the assigned amount for themselves, as will be explained IY”H in Hilchos Gezeila.