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BASKET OF MONEY © Suzanne Tucker | Dreamstime.com

When we are asked to do something or to believe something regarding Scripture, we should always be like the Bereans and test everything against Scripture itself (Acts 17:11), the whole of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16-17). If a person feels "led by the spirit" to speak, behave, or believe a certain thing, they should test that spirit (1 John 4:1) and determine if it is in agreement with Scripture.

Let's walk together through Scripture and see what it says about the matter of tithing.  As we take this journey, may we say, believe, and do what is right, be merciful in our speech and actions, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8).

 

Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted. Bolded text or other emphases in the Scriptural references are ours.

The Hebrew word for "tithe" or "tenth" is מַעֲשֵׂר (ma'aser, Strong's #4643).

The Greek word for "tithe" or "tenth" is δεκάτη (dekate, Strong's # 1181).

Scripture first mentions "tithe" in Genesis 14 so let's begin there...


Avram's tithe is the first use of ma'aser, and it is found in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis:

When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people. Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of G-d Most High. He blessed him and said,"Blessed be Abram of G-d Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be G-d Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself." Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD G-d Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, 'I have made Abram rich.' I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share." (Genesis 14:14-24)

 

First, let's consider this bit of Scriptural history in a practical manner: If you were to ride out in hot pursuit of an army which has taken a close family member captive (verse 14) would you take:

  1. all of your sheep and goats
  2. all of your personal belongings
  3. all of your grain and vegetables
  4. all of the above
  5. none of the above

 

Take your time...

 

There is no rush...

 

Ready?

The correct answer is (e).

A person not likely pack up their entire camp (taking a day or two) and start traveling at the pace of the slowest animal in their herd. They would go armed for battle and move fast and light in an attempt to overtake the enemy. So what is the "all" from which the tenth came in verse 20? See verse 16: "He brought back all the goods..."

These were not Avram's personal possessions.  Rather, they were the goods of S'dom recovered after the battle.  Note that Avram refused to accept any of the goods for himself (verses 22-24) and did not consider them his property even though he had captured them as a result of his victory.

Please note that this is a unique event in the whole of Scripture. Avram gave a tenth of the spoils of one battle. His tithe is not something G-d commanded Avram to do.

Is this isolated and unique event related to the tithing that is required by G-d elsewhere in Scripture?  There is no connection between the two beyond the fact that that the same Hebrew word "ma'aser" (i.e. a tenth) is used.  Considering the "law of first mention", it is interesting that this is the first time the word ma'aser is used in Scripture. It is also intriguing that Avram gave this tenth as a freewill offering outside of any covenantal requirement.

Those who promote tithing today will often point to Avram and claim "Abram tithed before the Law of Moses. Tithing predates the Law.  Therefore, tithing still applies to us today." Using this logic, they require believers to tithe, but they don't use the same reasoning to Avram's burnt offerings and require them as well.  How odd.

Let's summarize-

Avram's tenth was:

  1. Taken from goods captured in battle- not his personal belongings
  2. Given to one particular person: Melchizedek
  3. Not commanded but a freewill offering
  4. A unique example from Scripture


Let's see what else Scripture says about tithing. The next individual mentioned in regards to tithing is another Patriarch: Ya'akov.

 


 

The next time we find the Hebrew word ma'aser in Scripture involves another Patriarch: Ya'akov. He also tithed before the giving of the Law; however, his story is not recounted as frequently as Avram's. Genesis Chapter 28 provides us with the record of his tithe.

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If G-d will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my G-d. "This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be G-d's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You." (Genesis 28:20-22)

 

To paraphrase what Ya'akov is saying with particular emphasis: he is telling G-d "IF You will be with me and IF You will keep me and IF You will give me food and IF You will give me garments and IF I return to my father's house in safety THEN You will be my G-d ... and... I will surely give a tenth to You".

Ya'akov makes a conditional promise to tithe IF G-d does five things for him. Notice this is a voluntary act binding only upon Ya'akov. He had not left the land of his forefathers yet, nor married, nor had any children. This promise was his alone. G-d did not command Ya'akov to make this agreement. Even so, Ya'akov was committed to tithe because G-d met his conditions.

Although Scripture is silent on the topic, Ya'akov very likely honored his word and tithed as he pledged to do. However, we are left with additional questions if we consider these verses in a practical manner: where does Ya'akov take his tithes?  There is no mention of Melchizedek (to whom Avram tithed).  There is no storehouse, no Temple, and no priesthood to receive his gift.  Although there is no specific Scriptural mention of the manner in which Ya'akov tithed, here are a few of the possible ways he did it:

  • A burnt offering - offerings dedicated to the Lord and completely destroyed by fire (as in Leviticus 1:9)
  • Eating and rejoicing before the Lord (as in Deuteronomy 12:6-7)
  • Giving to the foreigners, orphans, and widows (as per Deuteronomy 14:28-29)


Let's summarize-

Ya'akov's tenth was:

  • Taken from his personal belongings
  • Given in an undefined and unexplained manner
  • Not commanded but a freewill offering
  • Possibly an ongoing act since G-d's provision to Ya'akov was continuing

 


 

The only tithe commanded by G-d in the whole of Scripture is found in the Sinai covenant: the Law of Moshe. Scripture uses more than a dozen verses to describe this commandment.  Let's examine this one piece by piece to see what it reveals regarding G-d's intentions.

 

Tithe what?

According to Scripture, there are several different kinds of sacrifices including "peace offerings" (Leviticus chapter 3), "sin offerings" (Leviticus chapter 4), "tithes", and "first fruits" (Leviticus 2:12 and Leviticus 23:10-25). We should not confuse the "tithe" with offerings, first fruits, or other sacrifices.

Scripture is our authority so let's see what it says-

'Thus all the tithe of the Land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy to the LORD. If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD. He is not to be concerned whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; or if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. It shall not be redeemed.'" (Leviticus 27:30-33)

 

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD's offering. Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD's portion to Aaron the priest. You must present as the LORD's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.' (Numbers 18:25-29)

 

There are several interesting details in these verses:

  1. The tithe is the produce "of the land"
    1. of the seed of the land
    2. of the fruit of the tree
    3. of the herd or flock
  2. The tithe is the tenth part of the herd or flock- not the first (Lev 27:32).
  3. The tithe comes from the produce of the land. Potters were not required to tithe pots, miners were not required to tithe ore, and fishermen were not required to tithe fish.
  4. The tithe did not have to be without blemish (Lev 27:33) unlike other offerings (e.g. Lev 22:21).
  5. The Levi'im also tithed to the Lord from what was given to them. Their tithe was reckoned as "grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress" (Num 18:27).
  6. The Levi'im were to present the best and holiest parts to the Lord. (Num 18:29).


In regards to the "what is tithed" question, comments often arise:

"Money had not been invented yet, so they had to tithe fruit, grain, sheep, and cattle."

or other comments such as

"Sheep, goats, and the produce of the land were their forms of money, so that is what they tithed, but we earn cash now, so that is what we tithe."

 

Neither the Bible nor history supports ideas like this.  Scripture shows us Avram and Ya'akov (both shepherds) had significant amounts of silver.  It also provides other evidence that currency existed and was used before the tithe was established in the Law.

  • Avimelech gives Avram 1000 shekels of silver. (Genesis 15:20-17)
  • Avraham buys a piece of land from Efron for four hundred shekels of silver. (Genesis 23:16)
  • Ya'akov buys a plot of ground from the sons of Hamor for a hundred pieces of silver. (Genesis 33:19)
  • Yosef's brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. (Genesis3 7:28)
  • Yosef's brothers came to buy grain from Egypt using silver. (Genesis 42:25)
  • Yosef gives gifts to his brothers. To Binyamin, he gave 300 shekels of silver. (Genesis 45:22)


In these verses, the word "shekel" denotes a measure of weight. Notice that they were not buying and selling using sheep, goats, food, or other goods as their currency. They used hard money: silver.

Here's another interesting tidbit from history: before He commanded the tithe (in Leviticus 27), G-d required the Israelites to give a half-shekel tax for the maintenance of the Tabernacle.

Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD. (Exodus 30:13)

 

Why would G-d command an offering of hard currency before He established the Levitical priesthood and then command "tithe of the land" afterward unless that is what He wanted?  Apparently, He did not want the tithe to be in the form of currency because if G-d wants cash, He asks for cash.

Let's summarize-

The tithe G-d ordained is:

  • Taken from the land; the produce of the field and trees or from flocks and herds
  • Not in the form of currency
  • Specifically commanded

 

Who gets the tithe?

If someone gives a tithe, who is supposed to receive it?  Can it be just anyone?  Are there any limitations on who can receive it?  When we examine Scripture, we find a few different answers, and they depend on another question: which tithe, the first or second?

The typical response at this point is "The second tithe? I've never heard of a second tithe!"

The first tithe is for the Levi'im:

"For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, 'They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel." (Numbers 18:24)

 

G-d has given this tithe to the tribe of Levi because they have no inheritance in the Land. He has specifically assigned it to them.

The second tithe is different:

You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the Lord your God blesses you, then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you.

At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:22-29)

 

This second tithe must be separated after the first tithe for the Levites.

There is a seven-year cycle known to scholars as the Shemittah in which the seventh year the land is left fallow (i.e. without sowing or reaping crops). It is a Sabbath for the Land which is the key to knowing who receives which tithe and when:

"You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. (Exodus 23:10-11)

 


When is the tithe given?

Two passages in Scripture outline the schedule for tithing: Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Exodus 23:10-11.

  • Year 1- first tithe for the Levi'im and second tithe to be eaten before the Lord (20% total tithe)
  • Year 2- first tithe for the Levi'im and second tithe to be eaten before the Lord (20% total)
  • Year 3- first tithe for the Levi'im and the second tithe for orphans and widows (20%)
  • Year 4- first tithe for the Levi'im and second tithe to be eaten before the Lord (20%)
  • Year 5- first tithe for the Levi'im and second tithe to be eaten before the Lord (20%)
  • Year 6- first tithe for the Levi'im and the second tithe for orphans and widows (20%)
  • Year 7- no tithe. The land lies fallow (0%)

Each year the Levi'im get a tenth (the first tithe) to support them since they have no portion in the Land. The Lord also requires that a second tenth is taken and eaten in a feast before Him on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th years of the Shemittah cycle. On the 3rd and 6th years, the second tithe is given to the widows, orphans, and the needy in each community.

 

Let's summarize-

There are two tithes commanded in Scripture:

  1. The first tithe is for the Levi'im (they always receive this tithe except in the seventh year of the Shemittah)
  2. The second tithe varies
    1. The tithes of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th years of the Shemittah cycle are eaten before the Lord
    2. The tithes of the 3rd and 6th years of the Shemittah are given to widows, orphans, and the poor

 

Where is tithe taken?

Does Shepherd Josiah give his lamb to Zephaniah the Levite who lives down the street?

What about the second tithe for widows and orphans?  Does Farmer Ya'akov take his tithed produce to Widow Sarah?

 

Let's see what Scripture tells us...

Then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your G-d will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 12:11)

 

Where is this "place in which the LORD your G-d will choose for His name to dwell?  It is Mount Zion where the first and second Temples once stood!

The second tithe was to be brought into the towns (Deuteronomy 14:28) to provide for the widows and orphans.

Some individuals who require tithing today will often point to Malachi 3:10 ("bring the whole tithe into the storehouse") and then claim the local church is that  storehouse. However, when Malachi penned his words, where were the Israelites supposed to bring their tithes? Let's examine the Hebrew of Malachi's statement.

The Hebrew word translated as "storehouse" is אוֹצָר (owtsar Strong's #214). This word is used 70 times in Scripture and is most often used to describe a treasury, either G-d's or a king's. This treasury is not some bare-bones concrete and steel kind of warehouse or a grain silo but a place where very precious things are put on display and protected: a show place of sorts.

Where does the nation of Israel keep its most prized possessions? In the Temple! That is where the holy things of G-d are. Why would G-d want the Israelites to bring their tithes to the Temple? Malachi 3:10 provides the answer "...that there may be food in My house" the Temple.  The reason is to provide for the Levi'im where they served: in the Temple.

 

Why tithe?

In all of the debate and discussion that occurs around tithing, one particular question often remains unasked: why did G-d command a tithe to be given?  It wasn't as though He needed it. The entire world is His! (Psalm 24:1)

There are two easy answers to this question, but there are likely many others:

First, the tithe was G-d's means of provision for the tribe of Levi who was to serve him and was not allowed to have a portion in the Land (Numbers 18:24).
Second, it was one of the ways G-d revealed His character: by commanding provision for the widows and orphans (Deuteronomy 14:29).

Other possible reasons might include:

  • It was a reminder to Israel that G-d was their provider so they would not become prideful thinking they had gained their crops or flocks by the work of their own hands. They would be reminded of His provision and blessing.
  • It was an opportunity for the other eleven tribes to bless those who worked in service to G-d in the Tabernacle/Temple.
  • It was a chance to reflect the generosity of G-d by giving to others who were in need.

 


 

Discussions about tithing frequently include a focus on Malachi 3.  Let's take a look at that chapter but before we do, here is a bit of historical background on Malachi:

Malachi was a prophet who lived in the fifth century BCE. By this time the Jews had become disillusioned and apathetic [after their return to the Land of Israel from their captivity in Babylon]. Things were not as good as they had hoped. Drought and crop failures along with opposition from various enemies had made life difficult. They were neglecting the things of G-d and offering imperfect sacrifices as well as failing to give their tithes. The priests were lax and did not encourage them. Mixed marriages and divorce had become common.1

 

Those who require tithing today often try to use Malachi 3:8-10 to justify their position:

"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." (Malachi 3:8-10)

 

However, those few verses do not convey the clear meaning of this passage.  Let's get some context by starting at the beginning of the chapter:

"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts. "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me," says the Lord of hosts. "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

"From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the Lord of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall we return?' 

Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." (Malachi 3:1-10)

 

Now, let's answer some questions:

  • To whom is G-d speaking?
    • (verse 6) The descendants of Jacob: Israel. Those who are in covenant relationship with Him

  • Of what were they robbing G-d?
    • (verse 8) Tithes and offerings... i.e. the produce of the land... grain, fruit, and cattle

  • When was this happening?
    • Circa 450 BCE after to the Babylonian captivity

  • Where was this occurring?
    • In the Land of Israel

  • Why was this happening?
    • Israel had been unfaithful to the covenant through which they had been "wed" to the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:32).


These verses paint a picture for us: Israel has been unfaithful in her relationship with her "husband", the Lord.  He is patient and does not vent his anger but seeks only justice (verse 5).  G-d desires that they repent and return to Him (verse 7).  He even tells his wayward bride how she can return: honor the covenant between them including the tithe (verse 10) so that "offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years" (verse 4).

What made the offerings from previous years acceptable? Israel made them according to the instructions in the Law of Moshe. If Israel returns to faithfully living within the context of covenant relationship defined by G-d, then He will open "the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

There is not a single word in Scripture that is unimportant or carelessly used.  One word that jumps out from this passage is in verse 10: now. G-d tells Israel through the prophet Malachi to take action "now."  That "now" was in the 5th century BCE.

Does this passage apply to anyone in the 21st century? If so, how does it apply? Can we return to the covenant and tithe to G-d and receive the blessings He promises? We examine the covenants of Scripture in a separate series of articles. For now, let it suffice to say that without a physical Temple and a Levitical priesthood serving in the Temple there is no need for the first tithe.

Have pastors, priests, or ministers taken the place of the Levitical priesthood in today's world?  Are they entitled to receive a tithe?  There is no Scriptural basis for such a claim.  In fact, Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10 tell us that all believers are made into a kingdom of priests.  If so, then are all believers owed a tithe from one another? Such a claim appears to be (at best) speculation and (at worst) heresy.

As long as there are widows and orphans, however, there will always be a need to provide for them.

Let's continue with the remainder of Scripture and what it tells us.

 


 

In the Greek Scriptures (Matthew through Revelation), we find little more than a handful of verses that speak about tithing.

Topics include:

  1. Correcting Scribes and Pharisees regarding the placement of the tithe above justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matt 23:23, Luke 11:42)
  2. Contrasting the truly repentant with those who tout their good deeds in public (Luke 18:12)
  3. Comparing Jesus' priesthood with that of Melchizedek and noting it is above the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:5-9)


Those who support tithing today may use the term "offering" instead of "tithe" and claim that offerings were brought and "laid at the apostles' feet" and so we should do the same today. Let's take a quick look at these "offerings."

The first reference in Scripture to an offering after Messiah's death is in Acts 24:17-18 where Paul testifies at his trial that he was bringing alms to his nation (Israel) and offerings in the Temple, not to the apostles.  A few other later verses refer to the offerings commanded in the Law of Moshe, but a huge majority of these verses refer to Yeshua as our offering.

None of these verses refer to offerings being brought to the apostles.

In the interesting of being thorough, however, let's examine a few other passages:

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising G-d and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:45-47)

 

Nothing is that passage about giving to the apostles.

Let's check elsewhere:

And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:32-37)

 

Aha! Here we find irrefutable evidence from Scripture that property was being sold and given to the apostles for the purpose of distribution to the needy. While nothing is explicitly stated about the believers' personal income from their vocation, it might be assumed that their earnings were part of the "all things" that were common property.

If someone tries to use this passage to claim we should bring our money and "lay it at their feet" (so to speak), then we should require that everyone in the congregation share all of their personal property with each other. That is the complete example described in this passage.

We can also discern that the money given in this passage was for the purpose of meeting the basic needs of individuals who otherwise couldn't do so. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase "needy person" as "homeless, hungry beggars" we can see that the members of the congregation were only meeting each others' basic needs.

Let's move on to the conclusion of all that we have found thus far.


 

We have seen the following regarding Scripturally ordained tithing:

  • There are two G-d ordered tithes
    • One for the Levi'im 
    • One to be eaten before the Lord or given to widows and orphans

  • The first tithe is given to the Levi'im on the first through sixth years of the seven-year Shemittah cycle
  • The second tithe is given to widows and orphans in the 3rd and 6th years of the Shemittah cycle
  • The tithe is taken from the land... the produce of the field and trees or from flocks and herds
  • The tithe is never in the form of currency
  • The first tithe is to be taken to the Temple; the second is to be taken to the towns


Scripture informs us that a tithe cannot properly be given while there is no Temple standing and no Levitical priesthood serving in it. However, this does not give us license to be stingy with our finances. Still, G-d paints a clear picture in Scripture that we should care for the widows, orphans, and less fortunate in our communities. There is also no reason why individuals should not contribute monetarily (or otherwise) to their local congregation for the purposes of paying for facilities (maintenance, utilities, etc.), providing income for pastors and other hired help, etc.

It would be senseless to expect a physical fitness center to remain open if no one paid their membership dues.  In a similar fashion, we cannot expect our spiritual fitness centers to keep their doors open if no one provides support whether it be in terms of time or money. These contributions, however, cannot and should not be termed a "tithe."  They should not be compelled or coerced from individuals by using Scripture taken out of context to imply that the contributions are a tithe and withholding them is a sin against G-d.

May we always live lives reflecting G-d's glory and give according to the abundance He has given to us.

 

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This appendix provides a listing of Scriptural references that use the Hebrew and Greek words translated as "tithe" or "tithing." The items below include the word translated from the original Hebrew or Greek (according to the NASB translation).

Verses referencing the Hebrew noun ma'aser ("tithe", Strong's #4643)

Gen 14:20 - tenth

Lev 27:30 - tithe
Lev 27:31 - tithe
Lev 27:32 - tenth

Num 18:21 - tithe
Num 18:24 - tithe
Num 18:26 - tithe
Num 18:28 - tithes

Deut 12:6 - tithes
Deut 12:11 - tithes
Deut 12:17 - tithe
Deut 14:23 - tithe
Deut 14:28 - tithe
Deut 26:12 - tithe, tithing

2 Chr 31:5 - tithe
2 Chr 31:6 - tithe, tithe
2 Chr 31:12 - tithes

Neh 10:37 - tithe, tithes
Neh 10:38 - tenth, tithes
Neh 12:44 - tithes
Neh 13:5 - tithes
Neh 13:12 - tithe

Eze 45:11 - tenth
Eze 45:14 - tenth

Am 4:4 - tithes

Mal 3:8 - tithes
Mal 3:10 - tithe

 

Verses referencing the Hebrew verb asar ("to tithe", Strong's # 6237)

Gen 28:22- give a tenth

Deu 14:22- tithe
Deu 26:12 - paying all the tithe

1Sam 8:15 - take a tenth
1Sam 8:17 - take a tenth

Neh 10:37- bring, tithe
Neh 10:38 - receive tithes

 

Verses referencing the Greek verb apodekatoo ("to separate a tithe", Strong's # 586)

Matt 23:23 - tithe

Luke 11:42- pay tithe
Luke 18:12- pay tithes

Heb 7:5- tenth

 

Verses referencing the Greek noun dekate ("tithe", Strong's # 1181)

Heb 7:8- tithes

 

Verses referencing the Greek verb dekatoo ("to pay tithe", Strong's # 1183)

Heb 7:6 - tenth
Heb 7:9 - received tithes

 

 

Footnotes

1. The Prophets of Israel and Judah at http://www.bible-history.com/resource/r_proph.htm [back]

Torah Portion

בּהעלתך (Beha'a lot'cha)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Rishon, 13 Sivan, 5779

Sunday, June 16, 2019

 

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