First of all to pay jizyah you must be a non-Muslim who lives under Muslim leadership. And even then: Jizyah is only paid by male non-Muslims (not by female or children) to simply name one of the conditions for this payment and there are many more.
So in order to have the option paying jizyah or being killed you must be fighting Muslims and the commander of Muslims gave you one of three options:
- fight or
- accept Islam and revert/convert or
- capitulate and accept the Muslim leader ship and pay the jizyah.
Note that the commander of a winning Muslim army has also choices among which is to release the captured or defeated non-Muslims...
As Allah the Almighty ordered:
Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled. (9:29)
In fact jizyah is not only a tax it is a privilege as non-Muslims who pay jizyah must be protected in case of a war by the Muslim army and they don't need to send out (young) men to support this army. While jihad on Muslims is fard and the support financial and personal is a due on them.
However jizyah only applies for specific kinds of non-Muslims one could generally speak about ahl-al-Kitaab any other kinds of non-Muslims have only two options:
- fight or
- accept Islam
Finally this concept also exists in the Bible:
Here some examples
10 And they drove not out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day and serve under tribute.
3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and rendered him tribute.
25 He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus preceded him, saying, “What thinkest thou, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? From their own children, or from strangers?”
strangers: refers to non-Christians or disbelievers