tithe

Tithing under the Old Covenant

tithing and God's word




The Tithing System under the Old Covenant




The subject of the Old Covenant tithing is quite complex and will be
discussed under three headings.


     1)  The Old Covenant Tithing System  (see below) 

     2)  No 2nd or 3rd Tithe! ( «- clickable)

     3)  A Tithe of Animals?  ( «- clickable)



THE OLD COVENANT TITHING SYSTEM


1)  The tithing system, which started in Genesis, served a very useful
    purpose under the Old Covenant.
 
    It served to support the tribe of Levi who
    had not been allocated a share of the land
    divided amongst the other tribes of Israel.
    Instead the Levites were to receive as an
    inheritance the tithes of the 12 tribes
    in return for assisting the priests in
    performing the work of the tabernacle of
    meeting.
    Num   18:1   Then the LORD said to Aaron: ...

            :6   Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites
                 from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to
                 you [Aaron], given by the LORD, to do the work of the
                 tabernacle of meeting.

            :21  Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes
                 in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which
                 they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.  

Note the Priesthood also had an inheritance!

    Num   18:20  Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You shall have no
                 inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any
                 portion among them; I am your portion and your
                 inheritance among the children of Israel.


2)  The tithe of the produce of the children of Israel was to be offered
    to the priesthood!


    Heb    7:5   And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi,
                 who receive the priesthood, have a commandment
                 to receive tithes from the people according to
                 the law, that is from their brethren, ...

    Num   18:8   And the LORD spoke to Aaron: "Here, I myself
                 have given you charge of My heave offerings,
                 all the holy gifts of the children of Israel;
                 ...

    NB: When reading Numbers 18:25-32 it seems to suggest tithes were
        offered to the non-priesthood Levites. However, we can see
        from the following text that the non-priesthood Levites could
        not receive the tithes of the children of Israel unless a
        Levite priest was present. 
    
        Neh   10:38  And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall
                     be with the Levites when the Levites receive
                     tithes; ...   



3)  It seems that two slightly different tithing arrangements existed.

    - Tithing in the farming communities

      Neh   10:37  ... and to bring the tithes of our land to
                   the Levites, for the Levites should receive
                   the tithes in all our farming communities. 
              :38  And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall
                   be with the Levites when the Levites receive
                   tithes; ...   

    - Tithing direct to Jerusalem

      2Chr  31:4   Moreover he (Hezekiah) commanded the people
                   who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support
                   for the priests and Levites, ...
              :5   As soon as the commandment was circulated,
                   the children of Israel brought in abundance
                   ... and they brought in abundantly the tithe
                   of everything. 



4)  A tenth of the tithe provided by the children of Israel was to
    be offered to the LORD.

    Num   18:26  ... When you take from the children of Israel
                 the tithes which I have given you ... then you
                 then you shall offer up a heave offering of it
                 to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe. 

    If the tithe had been received in a farming
    community then this 'tenth of the tithe' was
    to be transported to Jerusalem.

    Neh   10:38  ... and the Levites shall bring
                 up a tenth of the tithes to the
                 house of our God, to the rooms of
                 the storehouse. 
     
5)  Once the 'tenth of the tithe' had been selected and offered the
    remaining 9/10ths of the tithe would be available to support the
    Levites. This 9/10th's would be considered as if was the produce
    of the threshing floor and winepress.

    Num   18:30  ... then the rest shall be accounted to the
                 Levites as the produce of the threshing
                 floor and as the produce of the winepress.
            :31  You may eat it in any place, you and your
                 households, for it is your reward for your
                 work in the tabernacle of meeting.

    [NB: 1) Since much of the tithe of the tribes of Israel would
            have been presented outside of Jerusalem, where many
            of the Levites and priests dwelt, redistribution of
            the 9/10ths was minimized.
         2) For the tithe offered at Jerusalem the priesthood was
            responsible for ensuring the Levites serving in Jerusalem
            received their due portion of the 9/10ths. Refer Neh 13:10
            and 2Chr 31:17. ]



6)  The tithe was not collected year round. 2Chr 31:7 records that
    even around Jerusalem the tithe did not arrive outside of the
    third to seventh month. These months corresponded to the period
    between the 3rd month observance of the Feast of Weeks and the
    7th month observance of the Feast of Ingathering. 
   
    - Around Jerusalem
 
      2Chr  31:7   In the third month they began laying them in heaps,
                   and they finished in the seventh month.


    NB: Outside of Jerusalem the priests who lived in outlying
        areas would bring the 'tenth of the tithe' to Jerusalem
        when they journeyed to the city to observe the 7th month
        feast.



7) The Priesthood also tithed!

    Matt  23:23  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
                 For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
                 and have neglected the weightier matters of the
                 law: ...

    The priestly tithe was later to be set aside in their cities and
    be fully distributed to the poor.

    Deut  14:28  ... bring out the tithe of your produce of that year
                 and store it up within your gates.
            :29  And the Levite, because he has no portion nor
                 inheritance with you, and the stranger and the
                 fatherless and the widow who are within your gates,
                 may come and eat and be satisfied, ...

    Since the Priesthood carried this responsibility, Christ was
    justified in accusing them for the plight of widows. 

    Matt  23:14  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
                 For you devour widows' houses, ...



8) Scripture advises the tithe was composed of;

        - grain, wine, oil and honey

        - plus all other produce of the land

        - plus other items from the land
    2Chr  31:5   As soon as the commandment was circulated,
                 the children of Israel brought in abundance
                 the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and
                 honey, and of all the produce of the field;
                 and they brought in abundantly the tithe of
                 everything.
    The 'other items from the land included, milk, curd, wool and fleece. 
 

    Num   13:27  Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land
                 where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey,
                 and this is its fruit.
  
    Deut  18:4   The firstfruits of your grain and your new
                 wine and your oil, and the first [best] of the
                 fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.



9)  The tithe was composed of the best of the land.


       Num   18:12  All the best of the oil, all the best of the new
                    wine and grain, their firstfruits which they offer
                    to the LORD, I have given them to you (Aaron). 


       Num   18:29  'Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave
                    offering due to the LORD, from all the best of
                    them, the consecrated part of them.'
               :30  Therefore you shall say to them: 'When you have
                    lifted up the best of it, ...
               :32  And you shall bear no sin because of it, when
                    you have lifted up the best of it. ...  

 

10) All the tithe received from the children of Israel was initially holy.

    Lev  27:30   And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed
                 of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's.
                 It is holy to the LORD.


    For this reason the 'tithe of the tithe' could be called the 'tithe
    of holy things'.

    2Chr  31:6   And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in
                 the cities of Judah, brought ... also the tithe of
                 holy things which were consecrated to the LORD their
                 God they laid in heaps.


    Since the 'tithe of the tithe' retained its holy nature it was
    important to store it separately from the other 9/10ths (which
    had become as the produce of the threshing floor and winepress).



Introduction
Tithing
Tithe
Tithing
in the New
Testament
Prophetic
Teaching on
Tithing
New Testament
Spiritual
Tithe
Why the
Spiritual Tithe
is Necessary
Financing
the
Work
Tithing
in
Genesis



Old Covenant
- No 2nd or
3rd Tithe
Old Covenant
- A Tithe
of Animals?

SUMMARY



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