How Many Tithes Were in the Bible?

One of the most often debated topics within the tithing discussions is how many tithes were in the bible. There are multiple viewpoints to how many tithes there were, but i will contrast the two main ones. First, there is a tithing system that was an accumulative of 10% of the total increase, and second, there was a three tithes system, which included a second as well as a third tithe that was every three years totaling up to 23-30%. I agree that there were multiple tithes given throughout the year, so i don’t disagree with a three tithe system. Although i do disagree that the Israelites gave over 10% of their increase. Here are the reasons why i believe Israel only gave 10%, not 23%.

A Tithe Means 10%

Right off the bat, 23% has an uphill battle in its defense. Obviously, 23% is not a tithe. At the very core of the tithing definition, a tithe means 10%. If I gave God 23% of my increase, then i am not tithing, and we cannot call it a tithe. Let’s illustrate this. If you and i were in a business partnership and we had an agreement for each of us to take 10% of the profit, could either one of us take an additional 10% from our profits and still have a valid agreement? The answer is, no. Once we’ve both taken more than 10% of our increase for the year, then we no longer have a tithing agreement.

A Single Tithe is Complex Enough

Regardless of where anyone stands on this subject, most of us agree that the bible is vague about this complex matter in the first place. Now take into account the more complex matter of giving 23%, which involves questionable algorithms. With a three tithe (23%) system there would arise an exponential amount of  ‘fill in the blanks’. For instance…
… How would one go about giving the second or third tithe of his harvest that he’s already stored, sold, or eaten?
… If some of it was stolen or lost in a fire, do you tithe on the original harvest, or on what’s left . . . if anything?

Can you see some of the trouble we’ve run into? We’ve just made a very ambiguous single tithing system ten times worse. Let’s go back to our business illustration. After our business partners have withdrawn the first 10%, and have decided to then withdrawal another 10%; is the second 10% debited off the original value of their increase, or do they debit 10% off the already decreased value (80%)? If we truly believe that they gave 23-30%, then this opens up Pandora’s box and a plethora of additional complexities arise, which are not even remotely addressed in the bible. Something just doesn’t fit when this multifarious task  is extremely disproportionate to the minute amount of details given.

The best way to simplify giving 23-30% and dispersing one-third of it multiple times a year, is to order Israel to separate 30% out immediately when they are harvesting. The problem is that the bible doesn’t tell them to separate 30% of their harvest out. It says the tenth one is holy, and to take only the tenth one out and give it.

One Tithe was Sufficient Enough

I read a book titled, “Eating Sacred Cows” written by Graeme Carle. In this book the author explains through the census records in the bible that the Levites  consisted 7% (some argue less than 4%) of the total population of Israel. How can 7% of the population receive more than 10% of the food?  Because of this numerical imbalance, the Levites would have had 3x-4x more food than they needed if there were multiple tithes. We can take the number of Levites and compare with the rest of Israelite population, and KNOW that one tithe alone should have been sufficient; this is without mentioning firstfruits, offerings,  spoils of war, and also the increase in animals that were born under Levitical possession.

One Tithe was Spread Throughout the Year

A possible explaination of why there is so much confusion about multiple tithes is that some have not taken into account that there were multiple harvests throughout the year, resulting in multiple occasions of tithing. Because most of us are not farmers, we don’t know that figs, barley, wheat, olives, and various other agriculture were not harvested at the exact same time in the year. I found a Jewish calendar that has the times of year that different produce was harvested. Here is a summary

  1. Barley Harvested in 1st & 2nd Months
  2. Wheat harvested in 3rd & 4th months
  3. Grapes, figs, walnuts & olives were harvested  in the 5th month
  4. Vegetables, cotton, & pomegranate’s harvested in 6th month
  5. Rice harvest 8th month
  6. Winter figs & citrus harvested in 11th month
  7. Flax harvested in 12th month.

2 Chronicles 31:7 is an account of the Israelites harvesting for 4 months and storing the tithe which leaves room for three general harvest periods throughout the year. If multiple harvests throughout the year would result in multiple opportunities to tithe, maybe this would clear up confusion about the number of tithes there actually were. This would conclude that a tithe still is 10%, simplify the tithing system, and prevent too much waste.

It doesn’t make sense to reserve a tithe from each harvest period throughout the year to be given as a lump-sum at the end. So, i would disagree with those who say there was only one tithe, once a year.

The Feast of Tabernacles is when Israel brought their tithe to have a celebration in the seventh month, which was prior to the rice, figs, citrus, & flax harvest. These crops still had to be harvested and still had to be tithed upon. so it’s obvious there were multiple tithes in a year.

What is the Year of Tithing / Third Year Tithe?

Deuteronomy 14:28 – At the end of [every] third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store [it] up within your gates.

Most people explain that the third year tithe is an additional 10% added onto the 20% of tithes that are given every year, and is repeated the third and sixth years in-between sabbaticals. There are a few things to be aware of. One, many translations of the bible interpret the phrase “[every] three years” while inserting the word “every” for clarification. The problem is that the word “every” is not in the original Hebrew. In the other 300 instances in the bible, the same Hebrew is not translated “every three years”.

There is one instance in the bible that has the phrase every three years. in 2 Chr. 9:21, “For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish ...” The Hebrew word (echad) is  in 2 Chr. 9:21 and by definition it means ‘each, every’. So the translation in 2 Chr. is correct in implying a three year recurring event.

The second point here is significant in understanding the “Year of Tithing”. Let’s read Leviticus 25:20-22 “And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” ‘Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat [of] the old [harvest].

Every Seventh year, Israel had a sabbatical where they did not tithe, grow crops, nor tend the field. So, in Leviticus 25, God states he would bless them so much in the sixth year that their increase would last the next three years. Three years is a lot of food and a long time, but if you read closely in Leviticus 25 there was a reason for it. Israel did not eat from their crops again until the ninth year. This means there were two consecutive years (7th and 8th) where they did not tithe because there was nothing to harvest yet. BUT, the third year, which is the year they began tithing again is when God said their produce would come in . This is why it is called the year of tithing.

Most people assume that there was only one year without the agricultural tithe, but there were two years without tithing, which was followed by the third year when they commenced tithing again. Hence the “Year of Tithing”.

It’s a Forty-Nine Year Cycle, Not a Seven Year Cycle

I need to also address another aspect about the year of tithing, that hopefully can be explained clearly.

The conventional thinking is that the ‘year of the tithe’ was the third and sixth year within a seven year period, and this cycle reset and recurred every seven years. The problem is that everyone assumes that the “year(s) of tithing” was reset after the sabbatical year. If we are to interpret the scripture saying that Israel was to tithe every three years, then all indications should point to the fact that they were to tithe every three years within the standard 49 year cycle. There is no scriptural indication that “every three years” is only within the confines of the seven year cycle.  The sabbatical year did not reset the clock for the “year of tithing”. If scripture wanted Israel to give every 3rd and 6th year, then it would not have implied in succession – without being reset.

It comes down to the interpretations of these translations. It’s the difference between saying, “Every three years” and saying, “On the third year”.  The former indicates that the clock doesn’t reset and it is a recurring pattern. The latter indicates that it is a one time event but still allows it to reset.  The year of tithing cannot reset every seven years and also establish itself as a recurring, successive event. There is no scriptural precedence to indicate otherwise. The two train of thoughts here are:|
1. It’s every third year in a seven year period
2.It’s every third year in succession.

The Sabbath comes every seven years in succession. So, if the year of tithing were to simply repeat every three years, it would recur just like the Sabbath – in succession. It wouldn’t only be the 3rd and 6th year. If it told you to give me a $1000 every seven years and then $300 every three years, in what world are you living in that you would assume that you should reset the clock when i want my $300? How do i know it was a 49 year cycle not a cycle that reset every seven years? Because of Leviticus 25:22, “And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest.

Here is a chart that shows how it would look if the “year of tithing” came in succession, regardless of how the sabbatical fell.

chart of year of tithing and sabbatical

 

As i stated before, the year of tithing is just the third year after having no harvest for the prior two years. It is definitely different than the other tithes mentioned in the bible. The year of the tithe was laid within the city gates and was for the Levites, poor, and strangers. Normally, the tithe was stored within the Levitical cities and distributed from there. The year of the tithe may have been distributed uniquely because infrastructure of the welfare system may have been over-flooded  due to the desperation being without a harvest for 2 years. That is just speculation since the scripture doesn’t give any reason why it’s unique.

I don’t want to throw in another wrench in the mix of things here, but it could be that the “year of tithing” passage is mistranslated in scripture. The passage could mean that it’s the “third tithe in the year”. Or it could mean “After the third tithe in the year”.

I know i went into the ‘year of tithing’ a little deeply, but it’s important to dig into the details sometimes. Ultimately, i’m not really dogmatic about my observations. It could have been the 3rd and also the 6th year. The only thing that makes sense about having it both the 3rd and 6th year is the opportunity to provide welfare for the poor for an extra year; but then again, it still doesn’t makeup for the other two other years without the extra tithe.

Other Great Points

Here are just some roadblocks that come to mind when i try to defend the three tithes (20% or more) position.

  1. How would a farmer survive for the sabbatical if he were to tithe 30% on the sixth year; as well as give 10% to the king, pay government taxes, give sacrificial offerings, and actually leave parts of their land ungleaned?
  2. There is no reference for Israel to save up 30% the third year
  3. Jewish Rabbis disagree on the number of tithes
  4. In Leviticus 27:32 God said count 1 out of every 10. I’m not sure how that comes out to 30%?
  5. It is called the ‘year’ of the tithe, not ‘years’ (plural) of the tithe. Within a seven year cycle, the ‘year of the tithe’ only occurred once, not twice.
  6. In order to maintain giving away 20-30% of their increase in flocks, the birth rate of their animals would need to be higher in order to have growth of their animal population.
  7. Why call it “the year of tithing” when Israel tithed all the other years, unless this was the year they started tithing again after being off for two years.
  8. If they were two years of tithing in the 7 year cycle, then why call it the singular version – “Year of Tithing” instead of the “Years of tithing”

Conclusion

Trying to determine when the animal farmers gave and when the fruit farmers gave and when the grain farmers gave and how much they saved and did they give 10% 23% or 30% takes too much effort because we find ourselves digging for little secrets hidden in the bible that aren’t actually there.

I think we can make thing pretty complicated. That’s why i like to keep it simple.

Simple fact – Israel gave only 10% of their increase. TOTAL
Simple fact – They didn’t give their tithe the same way, nor did they give it at the same time or place each year.

The very first command on tithing explains the general concept. No matter how complex it gets later in scripture, the extra variations cannot deviate from the original landscape.

Lev. 27 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. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.

Since then, we’ve taken all the other complexities of Israel’s calendar, feasts, infrastructure and kept adding stipulations, and variations convoluting the whole thing; which when first mentioned in scripture was very simple.

So, what i believe is that Israel divided 10% of their increase into multiple payments throughout the year. I’m not saying that i have given the final answer to the single tithing system, but in my view, the three tithes theory sprouts even more conflicts and questions than it even begins to solve. So, for now i stick with it. Figuring out the amount and types of tithes is not one of those issues where people get into heated arguments about. Truthfully, aside from misinterpreting scripture, it doesn’t really matter to me if I’m wrong about this issue. But nonetheless, i have devoted a lot of time studying the intricacies of the tithing system and i feel it helps me understand God’s word just a tad more.

What do you have to say about this issue? Do you feel i am wrong, or is there anything you have learned?

 

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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29 comments on “How Many Tithes Were in the Bible?
  1. Jared, you make a very good case for a single tithe.  You brought up a lot of points I hadn’t considered.  As you know, I’ve studied this in depth, too.  I guess I assumed three different tithes because they just seem like different tithes in the passages where they’re discussed.  But it makes sense that they could just be talking about three different times (harvests) where the tithe is used in various ways.
    I’m not a staunch defender of the 23 1/3% idea.  I generally say it “could have been” 3 different tithes.  As far as we Christians are concerned, it doesn’t really make a difference.  We’re not in a system where we’re to be caught up in keeping the letter of a Law whose Spirit we reject.
    Thanks for putting the work into this and laying out your ideas.  I’ll have to go back and rethink some of the stuff I’ve written.  Hope you have a great Christmas!

  2. Thanks for your input Paul,
    Thank goodness we’re not in a system where we have to figure all this stuff out. 
    – jared 

  3. Gary Arnold says:

    You have taken Leviticus 25:20-22 totally out of context.

    Leviticus 25:3 (KJV) Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;

    As you go on down through the verses, its gets to the 50th year, the year of jubilee. 7 times 7 = 49, so year 49 is a sabbath year, and year fifty is the year of jubilee. Thus, in both years 49 and 50 there is no harvest or sowing.  That is why Leviticus 25:20-22 says what it does. It is ONLY referring to the year of jubilee.

    • Overall, the passage speaks much about the jubilee, but v20-22 mention the 7th 8th, & 9th years. It does not mention the 49th, 50th & 51st. Let’s just say 49th 50th and 51st year was representative of the 7th, 8th and 9th; then why did God allow them to sow on the eighth if the eighth year was actually the jubilee?

      7th year (sabbatical) v20
      8th year (can sow) v22

      49th year(sabbatical) v4
      50th year (jubilee cannot sow) v11

      Leviticus 25:20-22 is not in reference to the jubilee.

      • Gary Arnold says:

        Obviously the earlier verses are referring to the 7-year cycle without a jubilee year.  Otherwise how would you explain verse 3?
        The 49th, 50th, and 51st are the 7th, 8th, and 9th year.
        It all must fit together.

  4. Paul says:

    I think its a lot of hairsplitting as we’re not under the law. This is a personal decision. But there are practical issues as well. Our church has a huge budget. If we all give on whim, how can they know how to budget. Therefore we, and many of the mature Christians we know, give 10% regularly as clockwork. That keeps the doors open and the lights on.
    That said, we try to live by the New Testament principle to give as we are able. I guess the Old Testament concept of 23% would be letting me off cheap. We have so much, and there are so many poor, both spiritually and financially.
    I remember J. Vernon McGee talking about this. Its never left me.

    • True says:

      I am the poor! I have given over the years enough money that me and my children shouldn’t be without a home right now. I don’t care anymore about a church building and its lights. I need help from the church and they send me in every direction along with their prayers. I’m disgusted with the church(building). What about the people? The tithe is dead. It puts God’s people in bondage. When the real church steps forward, there will be no lack. When I am back on my feet, I will give as IICor. 7:9 says to give.

  5. chris says:

    Hi Jared
    The main reason I do not believe that tithes were paid through the year is the following scripture:-
    Deut 26:12 “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year — the year of tithing — and have given it to the Levite,   NKJV
    This indicates to me that it was only given once…probably after the main harvest prior to the Feast of Ingathering. For the first two years it would also have been accumulated and then consumed over the following three feasts when they were required to appear before the Lord at Jerusalem. (no-one was to appear empty handed.
    The above scripture also confirms that there was only one tithe…..ie in the third year ‘ALL the tithe’ was given to the Levites (and shared with the widows, orphans, etc). If it was ‘ALL the tithe’ that was given then there clearly was no scope for a second or third tithe.

  6. So from what i understand, you are saying in the third year, the tithe was stored up throughout the year and then distributed all at once? But in the first and second years, it was distributed multiple times throughout the year during the feasts?

    The scripture does seem to indicate a single tithe during the third year, but (just my logic here) the feast of ingathering was in month 7. So, there was still crops to be harvested during the next 5 months. You still had rice, wheat, figs, citrus, and flax to be harvested before the end of the year. 

    Deut 26:12 “FINISHED laying aside ALL the tithe” – Since you adhere to the literal interpretation of this; then wouldn’t this mean they waited til the harvests were all FINISHED and then ALL the tithe could actually be given at the end of the year? It wouldn’t made sense to give ALL the tithe when it was only a portion of that year’s harvests.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but want to see if you have any clarification about these questions. If it is any consolation, i really don’t have a final answer in this whole mes either.

    – jared 

  7. chris says:

    Hi Jared

    The parallel verse in Deut 14:28 says ‘at the END of every three years, bring ALL the tithes of that year’ .. this confirms the intent of a single one off act for the ‘Third Year’ tithe. The amount made available would have been taken by the Levites when they needed it….and they also took a tenth of their share to the priests in Jerusalem.

    I am not sure when the ‘end of the year was’ ….but it seems that storing food for extended periods was a common practice for produce in that era.

    The tithe confession Deut 26:13-14 which they made after giving this third year tithe for the Levites (and the poor) categorically confirms that there was only one tithe in that year. ALL the tithe of that year was given …and what was given was ALL that God had commanded….and nothing was left undone
    … every command was obeyed!

    This confession makes it clear that NO further tithing obligation existed under the Law.

    Chris

  8. Jackp says:

    Prosperity gospel is very common nowadays in churches. Especially in churches where members are upper A to middle class. If you’re new to that church, you would see and feel that the members are “doing good” because they “give to the Lord”. Then you’ll be drawn to their belief thinking that you will get the same financial windfall if you give 10% of your gross income. 

    • True says:

      Right! I will never tithe again and put myself in that bondage. Christ took it to the cross. I will give as I am led to give. Tithing has become a status thing. Like when Jesus rebuked the Sadduces and Pharisees. They like to talk about the tithe and how they do so, but their brother and sister sitting right next to them doesn’t have lights and water or some without a home. Where is the LOVE? I’m disgusted with many of the churches today.

  9. SJ says:

    We can split hairs and percentages, but what is the real “spirit of the law” regarding tithing and NT giving? To me, a portion of the income 3.3% or 10% (or more) was intended for the OT poor (e.g., the orphans, widows, aliens, landless Levites) as well as the NT poor (II Cor. 8-9: for the poverty stricken Believers in Jeruslaem) and possibly poor, sent-out, homeless, sojourning apostle Gospel-carrying “missionaries” (Lk. 10, Matt. 10, I Cor. 9). It was NOT intended for stationary elders since in Acts 20 Paul admonished the Ephesian elders to follow his tentmaking example and Jesus’ words: “It is better to give than to receive”. With the exception of the festival (“party tithe”), tithing and giving have almost entirely been intended for the needy… This does NOT include church buildings (There were none for the first few centuries of the early church!) or stationary, teaching, home-owning elder/pastors. In short, giving was always intended to be directed DOWNward (to the needy) or OUTward (in spreading the Gospel), NEVER INward (for MY building, MY programs, MY “worship”). We (and I include MYself!) have somehow failed to make a very important distinction between true tithing/giving for the poor/needy and simple payment of “member’s dues” (e.g., “no goods or SERVICES were received as a result of this gift”… Really!?!?). 

  10. D Jeff says:

    Blessisngs ,

    Interesting topic and interesting insights too. I think it is easy to agree that God meant  one tithe though as mentioned, they could have been given at different times of the year (possibly).  I’m not an expert in this neither do I have  the final word, however, One must look at tithing (especially in the new testament church) as something designed for those who have personal expereince or revelation and or those who have tried it and know that it works; in which case it is not designed for all. God fails to hold us accountable with tightitng, and  if it is not a pre-requisit for a relationship with him what then is the fuss about ? In all, we know it is a biblical concept and it works for those who genuinely practise it – thats al that maters.    D Jeffreys

     
     

  11. Be Led By The Holy Spirit says:

    Try reading a book called ‘Beyond Tithes and Offerings’ by Mitchell T. and Michael L. Webb. Explains tithing very well.

    You can also read a review on this book via this link: http://www.tithing.com/blog/beyond-tithes-offerings/

  12. Timothy says:

    So, you think that all God wants from you is your tithe of 10%? You probably are not aware that tithing 10% is not biblical. More than likely, you derive this concept from Genesis 14:20c: “[Abraham] gave [Melchizedek] a tenth of all.”

    The nation of Israel was required to pay tithes in order to run the country. These were basically taxes. They were mandatory and commanded. There was the tithe for their festivals (of which there were 7), there was the tithe for the poor, and there was the Levitical tithe. These tithes equate to 30-33% (where this “23%” comes from I have no idea). On top of that 30-33% tithing, they also had sacrificial giving, as Exodus 25:1-2 states. This sacrificial giving is the same as that which 2 Corinthians 8-9 talks about. We are told to give what we want—what our heart desires—out of what God prospers us with, and to give it sincerely from the heart.

    A lot of ministries, especially prosperity ministries, will say that we have to give to God even if we have no money or we are steeply in debt. 2 Corinthians 8-9 informs us not to give what we do not have. If we are just scraping by or we are in debt where we cannot afford anything (this is not speaking of manageable debt wherein you are able to tithe), we cannot give to God because we do not have it.

    God will not bless our bad stewardship. If we keep giving 10% while our children are starving and our bills are in need if being paid, God is not going to reward us. God knows exactly what we are capable of giving and He examines the motives of our heart. If we are able to give more and we do not, we have sinned against Him grievously. We cannot fool God. God loves a cheerful giver. We are to give what we want from what we have, according to what God has prospered us with. If God has prospered us greatly, we can tithe more. If God has prospered us little, our tithe may well be less than 10%.

    Because we tend to be legalistic in our religion, 10% has become a good standard of measure. However, tithing is not merely about our money. Tithing also includes our time and our skill. How are these given to or used for God?

    Why Should We Give?

    To meet the needs of the saints: Acts 2:44-45; 1 John 3:17; Galatians 6:9-10; Matthew 25:31-40; 12:50; 1 Timothy 5:16
    To meet the needs of Christian workers: 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 1 Corinthians 9:6-14; Philippians 4:15-18
    To meet the needs of the poor: Luke 12:33-34; Ephesians 4:28; James 1:27; Matthew 6:1-4

    How Much Should We Give?

    Give proportionate to your prosperity: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
    Give according to your ability: Acts 11:27-39
    Give what you have purposed in your heart: 2 Corinthians 9:7

    How Should We Give?

    We should give anonymously: Matthew 6:1-4
    We should give voluntarily: 2 Corinthians 8:3-4
    We should give expectantly: 2 Corinthians 9:6; Proverbs 19:17; 11:24-25; Matthew 6:19-21; 19:21; Luke 12:33; 1 Timothy 6:18-19
    We should give cheerfully: 2 Corinthians 9:7
    We should give sacrificially: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Mark 12:41-44

    What Is Our Motivation?

    The example of Christ: 2 Corinthians 8-9
    The command of Christ: John 15:12-13

    Many individuals think that our tithing must go directly toward the church, but this simply is not so. Many churches receive more than enough tithe and are guilty of being bad stewards with that tithe. If a church is not using that tithe the way they are biblically mandated to do so, an individual Christian has the responsibility to see that his/her tithe is used in accordance to the biblical mandates. In other words, the individual can use his/her tithe to support missions, to send Bibles around the world, or to any number of things that meet the “Why Should We Give?” criteria above. If the church we are attending is only going to use our tithe poorly and selfishly upon themselves, we have the responsibility to make sure it is used as God would have it used. Matthew 25:31-40 would be a good place for us to start.

    The Bible does not support a 10% tithe system. Understandably, it enables people to not have to think (which, unfortunately, our society these days already does enough of), but this is taught nowhere in Scripture. If a Christian wants to know how much they ought to tithe, then they need to study what the New Testament says about giving–not base tithing off a lone verse. To do so is poor exposition and exegesis. The “How Much Should We Give?” section above is where Christians should start when determining what to tithe. 10% is a comfortable standard for lazy individuals who don’t like to think. It makes it easy for them to know how much they will give every week, even though they are capable of giving more, even 50%–as the Lord has prospered them.

    I will not address the fact that most North Americans can afford to give well over 50% in order to help their brothers and sisters in other countries, yet because of their selfish greed spend it wastefully on themselves and material garbage they do not need. Rather than live a modest lifestyle, they attempt to live a lavish one by trying to keep up with the Joneses (who, by the way, are broke). I get the feeling many are going to hear the words of Jesus uttered in Matthew 25 in that what they did not do for others they did not do for Christ. Labeling one’s self a “Christian” does not make it so. Your actions help determine whether that claim is legitimate or not.

    SJ makes a really good point: In Acts 20, Paul admonished the Ephesian elders to follow his tent-making example and Jesus’ words “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. Tithing was always intended to be directed downward (to the needy) and outward (in spreading the gospel); never was it intended inward (for my building, my programs, my “worship”). If all our tithes are going directly into our buildings, then perhaps we need to re-think what it means to be a church and to get rid of the building so that our tithes might go where they are intended to go in the first place: missions and the poor (orphans, widows, homeless, etc., esp. poverty stricken believers).

  13. Whiteknight777 says:

    Figuring out how 23% is arrived at is fairly simple. It represents First tithe 10%, Second tithe 10% and one third tithe 3% paid over a three year period instead of paying an additional 10% in the third year.

    Personally I believe that there was only one tithe at 10% which had 3 different uses. Like all things that man puts his hand to, the tithing system became corrupted after the return from Babylon.

  14. Rod says:

    These were very good discussions. They answered my original question; Did Israel rotate their crops so that they always had food during a sabbath year. Now I understand, they stored up their crops. This makes perfect sense just as they kept twice as much manna on the six day so that they had food on the seventh day.
    I would point out that the tithe was from the increase. So you should never tithe on income you never received (ie Gross Income or income needed to make a living). If you don’t have an increase from your initial investment, you don’t have a tithe to give.

  15. warrior says:

    Jared thank you so much for this post. I am in prayer now seeking the lord on how he expects the new testament church to tithe. I know in the old testament there are multiple tiehts and you gave a very interesting spin on how the multiple tithes could possibly be misunderstood as on tithe given at multiple diiferent times. You made some amazing points. I am still in prayer and fasting about this matter I beleive it is vital because we should have clear biblical undertanding of God expects us to give our money with there being any confusion. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH AGAIN

  16. helen says:

    what a bunch of hooey.
    only levites can receive the tithe.
    Numbers 18:21,
    “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
    It was made abundantly plain that the biblical tithe was to be paid to the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. In this initial law of tithing, no one else had the slightest authority to receive that tithe. Even Christ Jesus, while he was teaching on earth, did not use (nor did he demand) a penny of biblical tithe to fund his preaching activities or those of his apostles. After all, our Lord was descended in an adoptive way from Judah (Hebrews 7:14). He was not a Levite. This made him ineligible to receive any part of the biblical tithe that was ordained for use by the Levites at the time of Moses. For this reason, Christ did not use any tithe money to support his ministry.

    The central fact was this: Only members of the tribe of Levi were at first ordained in the Bible to receive the tithe (the tenth). The Levites in turn were to give one tenth of that tithe to the Priests (Numbers 18:25–28) who did not tithe at all. In our modern age, however, even the Levites and Priests are disqualified from receiving any biblical tithe because there is no official body of men functioning as Levites.

    Since there is no Temple in existence, there are also no Levites and Priests serving in the Temple. The tithe at first was brought into play by Moses to maintain the service of the Temple. With no Temple, the major factor for tithe paying does not exist as far as the biblical laws of tithing are concerned. For preachers and church leaders to change the direction of paying the tithe from that of the Temple to the service of a Christian ministry is to do so without any authority whatever from God. In fact, to use the tithing laws in a manner not sanctioned by the Word of God is to sin against biblical law. And that is what the preachers, priests and evangelists are doing today.

  17. Noble says:

    Jared:

    I think you’ve done a fine job.

    You’ve come closer to agreeing with my teaching of the tithe than any scholar I’ve read and you’ve made some excellent points that I haven’t seen anybody else make. I offer a slightly different take in my conclusion that generally shares your opinion that there weren’t 3 tithes. However, I believe that the Word establishes 2.

    There were two tithes under the Mosaic Law (three if you count the Levites’ tithe to the priests under Num. 18). They were: (1) what I term the party tithe under Deut. 14:22; and (2) what I term the sacred tithe under Deut. 14:28.

    The party tithe was observed at the feast(s) and only consisted of grain (I don’t know how the grain farmers divided up their 10% at these feasts, but, for purposes of counting how many tithes there were, it wouldn’t seem to matter. I’m sure there were a number of grain farmers, who had to travel too far in order to carry their tithes, and who simply followed scripture, sold their tithes in their hometowns for money, and then used that money to buy “strong drink or whatever their hearts desired” to use for the party tithe celebration, either all at once or over all 3 feasts).

    Although all four elements of the Lev. 27 statutory definition of a tithe were to be brought to the feasts, scripture only refers to the grain as a “tithe”. Fruit and animals aren’t “sown” (14:22) and firstborns, by definition, couldn’t be tithed. This tithe was given at the tent of meeting and later Jerusalem at the temple and was to celebrate the Lord’s goodness. It had nothing to do with the “inheritance” for the Levites, which was the purpose of the second tithe.

    The second tithe was the Deut. 14:28 “inheritance” tithe (termed the “sacred” tithe in Deut. 26:12) and was given every third year. That the word “every” isn’t in the Hebrew doesn’t affect the meaning. The word “third” sets the schedule, or period, for giving.

    The two tithes are distinguishable both in terms of venue (the party tithe in Jerusalem vs. the sacred tithe in the farmers’ hometowns) and in terms of policy, or purpose (celebrating the Lord’s goodness and eaten by the tithers in the party tithe vs. wholly given to the Levites as their “inheritance” in the sacred tithe).

    Numbers 18 can’t constitute a separate annual tithe, as many write, because the passage doesn’t contain either the venue or the frequency by which the tithe was given. Since the purpose of the annual party tithe is so different from Numbers 18 being the inheritance tithe, proponents of an annual Numbers 18 tithe must associate both the venue and the frequency of the Numbers 18 tithe with the venue and frequency of the only other tithe mentioned in the Law, the Deut. 14:28 and 26:12 sacred tithe. The more specific and subsequent Deuteronomy passages trump Numbers 18 and show that it isn’t a separate tithe.

    About the Land Sabbath, although it occurred in the same calendar year for the fruit farmers, it overlapped two years for the grain farmers. Grain farmers were permitted to both harvest and sow in the 6th year. The land began its year-long rest in the 7th year when the farmers harvested the crop sown in year 6, but were prohibited from sowing in year 7, and the land completed it’s rest in the spring of the 8th year, when there would be no harvest. This overlapping aspect of the Sabbath is demonstrated by Christ when He said that the grain sown in year 8 wouldn’t come in until year 9.

    Thus, the triple blessing crop produced 4 crops in 3 years (the triple blessing crop in year 6, a normal crop harvested in year 7, and no crop in year 8). Since, because of the Jubilee, there were back-to-back Sabbaths in years 49-50 and 99-100, the triple blessing crop in the 6th year in those tithing cycles produced 4 crops in 4 years! This means that the grain farmers received a wind-fall in 14 of the 16 tithing cycles, in that they received 4 crops in 3 years. That windfall, if we run the numbers, produced more than enough grain for them to tithe 10% every year in the party tithe, which none of the other farmers had to observe.

    That means that grain farmers tithed 20% every 3 years (10% for the party tithe, which they ate and shared with their families, servants, and Levites, and 10% in the sacred tithe). The fruit and animal farmers only tithed every 3 years.

    Grain is fungible, allowing multiple tithes in one year. A crop that produces 150 units is capable of two tithes of 15 units each. However, animals aren’t fungible. Each animal is unique, which is why Lev. 27 instructs that the animal farmers weren’t to give 10% of their animals in tithe, but rather “every tenth one that passes under the rod”.

    Animal farmers weren’t prohibited from operating in land Sabbath years. In fact, Christ ordered enough “aftergrowth” in the fields that the animal farmers’ livestock would be able to eat. Animal farmers thus tithed every 3 years because they simply weren’t affected by the land Sabbath. You are correct that it is impossible for animal farmers to tithe twice in the same year, because Lev. 27 defines how their tithe was to be gathered. There is no way to have two sets of “every tenth” animals unless there are two separate counts, which, of course, scripture doesn’t instruct.

    The Levites numbered 2.34% of the population of Israel under the Numbers 26 census (taken right before Joshua succeeded Moses and the boys were about to enter the Land). I get that figure by adjusting the count of Levites to match how the warriors of the other 11 tribes were counted (age 20 and up).

    If Christ had given a sacred tithe every year, then each Levite so counted would have received over 4 times as much food as what each tithing son of Israel produced! That’s a mathematical proof that the sacred tithe was only given every 3d year.

    The animals that were too numerous for the Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens to “eat and be satisfied” were simply placed in the Levitical fields to provide a reproducing food source to get them through two years, and for the animals tithed to the priests to be raised in their 13 fields to produce the numerous animals required for the national sacrifices that Israel was to observe (there were only 2 priests left when Israel entered the Land and the tithe was first commanded to be observed).

    The priests couldn’t have eaten 1% of all the tithed animals in the entire Promised Land (especially when we consider that the priests ate the sacrificed firstborns that were offered independently from the tithe) and the animals that the priests’ slaves took care of were available for all of those sacrifices.

    Although I will stipulate that I’m the only dude out there making some of these points, I would encourage you to consider that the party tithe was only observed by grain farmers (funded by the triple blessing crop that fruit and animal farmers didn’t receive), that’s its statutory purpose and venue establish it as an independent tithe from the sacred “inheritance” tithe, that the purpose of the triple blessing was to accommodate the back-to-back land Sabbaths in years 49-50 and 99-100, and that the animal farmers tithed every third year.

    Again, thank you for your fine work.

    • a normal crop harvested in year 7

      They couldn’t harvest in a sabbatical. Lev 25:20

      The fruit and animal farmers only tithed every 3 years.

      It may be possible that the animal farmers tithed every three years and actually give a true tenth, but it would be difficult for a fruit farmer to give only every 3 years and give a true tenth of all their increase. There are only three options for a fruit farmer to give a tithe
      1. They gave 10% on the third year, but this wouldn’t be a true tithe of all their increase considering they missed two years without giving. In actuality, they would have only given 3.33% of their whole harvest.
      2. They saved their tithe on the years they didn’t give and gave it all on the third year; but the problem presents on how they kept the fruit from rotting for three years
      3. they gave 30% on the third year making up for the other years they didn’t give a tenth.

      That means that grain farmers tithed 20% every 3 years (10% for the party tithe, which they ate and shared with their families, servants, and Levites, and 10% in the sacred tithe).

      If they gave 20% of their food in year six and year six was a triple increase, then it would really be equal to 60% of a normal tithing year. Do they really need 60% to cover them for only three years when 10% a year (30% total) would have been fine?

      It doesn’t make sense that Israel gave 10% of their tithes to celebrate a party that lasted only 7 days. Seven days out of the year is roughly 2%, and yet, they ate 10% of their food during that time?

      I am not sure how we are close to agreeing? Maybe i wasn’t as clear, but i don’t believe they gave more than 10% of their overall increase. I think all the events, and the various harvests and animal growth and calendar changes with the sabbatical, and feasts, allowed for multiple tithing oppotunities of individual crops, harvests, fruits, and animals at different times of the year.

      Trying to determine when the animal farmers gave and when the fruit farmers gave and when the grain farmers gave and how much they saved and did they give 10% 23% or 30% takes too much effort because we find ourselves digging for little secrets hidden in the bible that aren’t actually there.

      I think we can make thing pretty complicated. That’s why i like to keep it simple.
      Simple fact – Israel gave only 10% of their increase. TOTAL
      Simple fact – They didn’t give their tithe the same way, nor did they give it at the same time or place each year.

      The very first command on tithing explains the general concept. No matter how complex it gets later in scripture, the extra variations cannot deviate from the original landscape.
      Lev 27 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. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.

      Since then, we’ve taken all the other complexities of Israel’s calendar, feasts, infrastructure and kept adding stipulations, and variations convoluting the whole thing; which when first mentioned in scripture was very simple.
      For the sake of clarification, i did modify my post above and added some text to it.

  18. Noble says:

    Jared:

    Here’s where I think we agree: (1) there weren’t three tithes, and (2) animal farmers couldn’t tithe twice in the same year. We also appear to agree that there was only one sacred, or “inheritance” tithe given to the Levites. Those two or three points of agreement are why I commented that you’re closer to my teaching than any other scholar I’ve read. Your blog disproves the most common three-tithe model that many scholars have advanced for years, and you are to be congratulated for it. As I said, you’ve done a fine job.

    Your theory of a single 10% tithe paid at different times throughout the year seems to be based upon three premises: (1) since the word “every” isn’t in Deut. 14:28, then the inheritance tithe was given only once in each 7-year tithing cycle; (2) since no tithes were given in the 7th and 8th years because you believe the land sabbath precluded all production “of the Land” for two years, the “year of tithing ” had to be the next following year (but only the next year); and (3) Israel was commanded to tithe 10% of all its produce every year.

    I offer the following observations for your consideration to demonstrate that all three of your premises are invalid.

    1. The sacred tithe was every third year, making each such third year the “year of tithing”.

    I presume that you believe that the words “you shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year” means that the Jubilee occurred “every” 50 years, even though it doesn’t say “every” fiftieth year. I read the tithe statute the same, regardless of whether the word “every” appears or not. Is there a rule of solid hermeneutics that permits us to read “fiftieth” as “every fiftieth”, but does not allow us to read “third” as “every third”?

    The sacred tithe was the “third” year, meaning the third, sixth, ninth, etc., all the way to 99. Scripture labels every third year the “year of tithing” because those were the only years that Israel tithed “all produce” for the Levites’ “inheritance”.

    2. Israel still produced food during the Land Sabbath. I’ll try again to persuade you on your reading of the land sabbath.

    a. Fruit farmers only observed the sabbath in year 7.

    What is your authority that fruit farmers didn’t produce in year 8? Their fruit was neither “sown” nor “harvested”, but rather “pruned” and “gathered”. They were merely shut down in year 7, when they were prohibited both from “pruning” and “gathering” in the same year. The statute simply doesn’t affect fruit farmers in year 8.

    b. Grain farmers harvested in year 7.

    Grain farmers observed the sabbath by abstaining from sowing in year 7 and not harvesting in year 8. Their crop over-lapped 2 Jewish years, which point is proven by Christ declaring that their crop “sown” in year 8 wouldn’t “come in” until year 9.

    The sabbath certainly didn’t prevent Israel from harvesting in year 7 the crop that they were specifically commanded to sow in year 6 (Lev. 25:3). Nowhere is Israel prevented from harvesting in year 7; they are only prohibited from “sowing” in year 7 (25:4). Israel didn’t eat in year 8 from a field sown in year 7 but not harvested in year 8, because such sowing would deprive the land of rest, which is the whole point of the sabbath. Rather, Israel ate in year 8 the “aftergrowth” (that which grew on its own without having been sown in year 7). Thus, “a normal crop in year 7″, as I previously posted.

    c. Animal farmers produced in both years 7 and 8.

    Finally, animal farmers, which contributed 50% of the subject of the tithe, are in no way affected by the land sabbath. Please identify the statute that caused them not to produce.

    Therefore, contrary to your second essential premise, Israel produced assets in both of the two years in which your theory requires that they didn’t produce anything, as follows: Year 7, the grain farmers and animal farmers both produced. Year 8, the fruit farmers and animal farmers both produced. If you complete your chart, you will see that this pattern holds for all 14 of the 7-year tithing cycles in a 2-Jubilee period of 100 years.

    3. Israel only gave the sacred tithe every third year.

    There is no scriptural instruction for Israel to tithe 10% of all its produce every year, which is your third invalid premise. Please cite for us the statute that requires an annual tithe of 10% of all produce. It simply doesn’t exist in the Law.

    The only tithe commanded annually was the party grain tithe, which only involved grain, ie., that which is “sown”. Deut. 14:22. If you abandon the assumption that Israel tithed every year on all assets that it produced each year (which isn’t supported by any tithing scripture), then the “third year” takes on a whole other meaning and the Law as a whole will make more sense to you.

    In other words, your excellent point that animals couldn’t be tithed twice in the same year actually disproves any notion that the Deut. 14:22 tithe related to “all produce” instead of only grain. That’s because animals couldn’t be tithed to the Levites in the farmers’ hometowns under Deut. 14:28 in the third year and also tithed at the party tithe under Deut. 14:22 in the same year.

    Therefore, when we understand that the 14:22 tithe wasn’t “given” as an “inheritance” tithe at all, but rather eaten by the farmers themselves (and that it only affected grain farmers), it all lines up to teach an annual party tithe of grain only, plus the sacred “inheritance” tithe of “all produce” “every three years”.

    There was only one sacred “inheritance” tithe given, and neither Lev. 27 nor Numbers 18 establishes it. Lev. 27 only provides the general subject of the tithe. It does not provide the specific subject of any particular tithe (what “is sown” vs. “all produce”), object (Levites vs. the farmers themselves vs. widows, orphans and aliens), purpose (partying vs. providing the Levites’ “inheritance”), venue (the temple vs. the farmers’ hometowns), frequency (every year vs. every third year), or time of year (at the feasts vs. the “end of the year”). Numbers 18 provides the object and purpose (the Levites for their “inheritance”), but not the specific subject, venue, frequency, or time of year.

    All of the essential elements for the only two tithes commanded of the sons of Israel in the Mosaic Law are contained in a single passage in Deuteronomy 14:22-29. The essential elements of who, what, when, where, and why are each set forth, clearly establishing two separate tithes with two separate subjects, objects, purposes, venues, frequency, and timing.

    4. If a triple blessing year fell on a sacred tithe year (as happened in years 6, 27, 48, 63, and 84), the grain tithe would be 300% of what it would be in a normal production year. In other words, the tithe perfectly matched the increased blessing. Why would Christ not extend the same blessing as a substituted “inheritance” to the Levites that He extended to those who inherited the land?

    The chart you created in response to my post actually comes very close to picturing just how Christ ordered His sacred tithing system. If you run your chart out to 100 years (to include 2 Jubilee periods) and add the triple blessing component, you will see Christ’s glory represented by the fact that the triple blessing crop was ordered to produce 4 crops in 4 years to accommodate the back-to-back land sabbaths of years 49-50 and 99-100 (a triple crop in year 48, a normal crop in year 49, and no crops in years 50 and 51).

    Your chart, so modified, will thus graphically illustrate that your view of the Land Sabbath (which you believe prohibited production of all produce for two consecutive years) is incorrect.

    You will need to “reset” the cycles after year 50, in which all land reverted to its original owners, such that year 51 started the 8th seven-year tithing cycle. That glorious plan means that the grain farmers received a windfall (4 crops in 3 years) in 12 of the 14 tithing cycles. Fruit and animal farmers didn’t receive a windfall.

    That the windfall production only went to grain farmers must be related to the fact that grain farmers were the only farmers who tithed in the Deut. 14:22 party grain tithe. So, part of the answer to your question about so much grain is that the triple blessing grain crop funded the party tithe that only grain farmers were commanded to observe.

    Thus, all three of your premises for how Deut. 14:28 means only “year three” in each tithing cycle are incorrect. First, basic hermeneutics in no way precludes reading “third year” as “every third year”. Second, no scripture commands that the “inheritance” tithe was given annually, or that Israel tithed 10% of its assets every year. Third, the land sabbath resulted in much production (3 of the 4 subjects of the Lev. 27 definition) in both of the years that your theory requires that nothing was produced.

    5. You state, “It doesn’t make sense that Israel gave 10% of their tithes to celebrate a party that lasted only 7 days”. It’s not my purpose to conjure all the reasons why Christ designed His tithing system as He did; my purpose is merely to teach what the Law required, which is so different than what tithe-teachers are preaching. However, if the number of feast days is important to you, consider 3 scriptural truths that perhaps will make sense to you.

    First, you understate the number of feast days by a substantial amount. Passover and Unleavened Bread lasted 8 days. Ex. 13. The Feast of Weeks was 7 days and, if we assume the boys were in Jerusalem for the two holy convocations right before the Feast of Booths (one of which was Atonement), that’s another 22 days (Num. 28-29). That’s 37 days, or 10.13% of the year’s calendar days (and I’m not even counting the travel days that some would need, which would add another 6-9 days to the total for some). Second, keep in mind that the party food was to be shared with the Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens (Deut. 16). Third, only grain was tithed at the feasts. Deut. 14:22 (what is “sown”).

    6. You state, “It doesn’t make sense to reserve a tithe from each harvest period throughout the year to be given as a lump-sum at the end”. To that, all I can do is quote the Word: “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithes of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town.” Deut. 14:28. Not only does the Word require what doesn’t make sense to you, this passage clearly shows it was only the assets of “that year”, the “third year”, which were subject to a tithe (not assets from the prior two years).

    Although “tithe” means “a tenth”, neither Lev. 27 nor Numbers 18 instructs how often this 10% was to be given. Of course, a tithe of 10% that is given against assets only once every ten years isn’t really a 10% tithe. Although it’s nominally 10%, it’s effectively only a 1% tithe. And, a tithe given only every third year is really an effective annual tithe of about 3.34%.

    Please consider the possibility that the reason so much of the Mosaic Law of tithing doesn’t make sense to you is that you are reading it through unscriptural assumptions. First, you assume that Israel was required to give a sacred Levitical tithe every year. You can’t cite a single statute for that proposition because none exists. You literally have to “pencil in” a required annual tithe into Lev. 27 and Numbers 18 in order for those passages to contain such an annual requirement. That’s substandard hermeneutics.

    Rules of statutory interpretation require that the general and incomplete passages in Lev. 27 and Num. 18 must yield to, and be construed by, the subsequent and very specific statute of Deut. 14:22-29. There are only two tithing frequencies commanded in the Law: the annual party tithe that wasn’t for the Levitical “inheritance”, and the sacred tithe given every third year.

    Your “third year” argument is disproven by the fact that Israel produced food in both of the years that your theory requires that Israel didn’t produce anything. If you will further abandon your assumptions that Israel tithed every year, and that they were required to give 10% of everything they produced (neither of which are scriptural), the Mosaic Law of tithing will make a whole lot more sense to you. And it will bless you to see Christ’s glory in how He set the whole thing up.

    Only by studying the entire Mosaic Law can we understand the glory of Christ’s tithe. And that glory is that He ordered His sacred tithe to be given every third year, for an effective annual tithe of 3.34% given to the Levites, who numbered 2.34% of Israel’s population, to be stewarded by them to feed themselves and the widows, orphans and aliens for two years until He did it again. How Great is our God!

    • Your theory of a single 10% tithe paid at different times throughout the year seems to be based upon three premises: (1) since the word “every” isn’t in Deut. 14:28, then the inheritance tithe was given only once in each 7-year tithing cycle;

      It’s based on more than the fact that the word "every" isn’t in there, but i’m not going to repeat it all

      Your theory of a single 10% tithe paid at different times throughout the year seems to be based upon three premises:… (2) since no tithes were given in the 7th and 8th years because you believe the land sabbath precluded all production “of the Land” for two years, the “year of tithing ” had to be the next following year (but only the next year)

      Some things i do not state the obvious on and this is an example. The Israelites of course gave their animals every year. Since they could not harvest the fruit in the sabbath, they did not give it in the 7th year, but they did give it in the 8th. The harvest of much of the grains could not have been given in the 7th or 8th because they could not plant or harvest in the 7th, they could plant in the 8th, but much of the increase from their planting would not be ready til the 9th year to harvest

      Your theory of a single 10% tithe paid at different times throughout the year seems to be based upon three premises:…  (3) Israel was commanded to tithe 10% of all its produce every year.

      On the years that they harvested they were to give 10%. Not 23%. Not 20%. Leviticus 27 states, "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" As i statd above – "The very first command on tithing explains the general concept. No matter how complex it gets later in scripture, the extra variations cannot deviate from the original landscape."

      The sacred tithe was the “third” year, meaning the third, sixth, ninth, etc., all the way to 99. 

      I could agree with this rather than to agree with the 3rd and 6th year only in repeating seven year cycle. The cycle was for 49 years. there was no seven year cycle. If the sacred tithe was the 3rd and 6th years it would fall on third, sixth, tenth, thirteenth, etc. That does not make it every three years. but what’s odd about that is how the third year would fall on a sabbatical every now and then if it truly was every three years.

      Fruit farmers only observed the sabbath in year 7.

      I agree. Sorry it seemed that i didn’t

      Grain farmers harvested in year 7.

      I disagree. They could not harvest in year 7. Lev. 25:20 makes that clear. I posted this vers above.

      Animal farmers produced in both years 7 and 8.

      i agree. sorry for not being clear on that.

      There is no scriptural instruction for Israel to tithe 10% of all its produce every year, which is your third invalid premise. Please cite for us the statute that requires an annual tithe of 10% of all produce. It simply doesn’t exist in the Law.

      I am not sure what the confusion is here. Why isn’t Leviticus 27:30 obvious? Is there something i’m missing? If Israel had increase from crops or animals, then they gave 10% of it if they harvested it or raised it.

       If you abandon the assumption that Israel tithed every year on all assets that it produced each year (which isn’t supported by any tithing scripture), then the “third year” takes on a whole other meaning and the Law as a whole will make more sense to you.

      To be frank, I don’t care when it was given, and how frequent. Thats really not my reason for the article above. Sure, i state a bunch of theories and opinions about how often and number of harvest. But If they didn’t give a tithe every year but held it for three years, or decided to skip every two years, or whatever. My whole point is that God said a tithe (10%) was HOLY. Not 20%. Not 30%. It was 10% that he consecrated. God didn’t consecrate 20%. God didn’t consecrate 30%. He only consecrated 10% of "all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree". That means that they couldn’t give a harvest one year and the next year give only 10%. Theoretically, that would equal 5% of the overall increase. I don’t know how they could save fruit from spoiling for 3 years, but sure, if they saved it for 3 years and gave their tithe that they had saved up for the past three years is fine with me. I don’t really care. That doesn’t make sense to to save fruit over thrree years, but whatever. I just disagree that all their harvest and all their fruit and all their animals was less than 10% or more than 10%. In other words all their increase that was given as a tithe cumulatively equaled 10% overall altogether.

      Therefore, when we understand that the 14:22 tithe wasn’t “given” as an “inheritance” tithe at all, but rather eaten by the farmers themselves (and that it only affected grain farmers), it all lines up to teach an annual party tithe of grain only

      that’s in line with i’ve been saying as well.

      Thus, all three of your premises for how Deut. 14:28 means only “year three” in each tithing cycle are incorrect. First, basic hermeneutics in no way precludes reading “third year” as “every third year”.

      No problem. The same is true vise versa

      Thus, all three of your premises for how Deut. 14:28 means only “year three” in each tithing cycle are incorrect. …Second, no scripture commands that the “inheritance” tithe was given annually, or that Israel tithed 10% of its assets every year.

      i’ve got no disagreement if the ‘inheritance’ tithe was or was not given annually. I’ve got not no disagreement whether israel gave 10% all in the third year, or all in every year. It’s of no importance to me unless you are stating that they gave either above or below 10% of their total, overall increase that was harvested

      Thus, all three of your premises for how Deut. 14:28 means only “year three” in each tithing cycle are incorrect…. Third, the land sabbath resulted in much production (3 of the 4 subjects of the Lev. 27 definition) in both of the years that your theory requires that nothing was produced.

      I may have stated specifically that nothing was produced, but it’s just a general statement and i should have made it clear -. of course something was produced. Trees all of a sudden don’t grow fruit. The land doesn’t all of a sudden stop growing wheat even though it wasn’t planted. Grapes grow year after year regardless. There is residual growth even though nothing was sown or tended the prior year. I did not mean to portray that nothing was produced. Of course things were produced. What i am implying is that the land owners did not plant new seed, nor did the owner harvest crops to sell. I don’t know how else to say it besides the land was not ‘worked on". But, sure they could pick from it, and eat from risidual crops.

      5. You state, “It doesn’t make sense that Israel gave 10% of their tithes to celebrate a party that lasted only 7 days”. It’s not my purpose to conjure all the reasons why Christ designed His tithing system as He did; my purpose is merely to teach what the Law required, which is so different than what tithe-teachers are preaching. However, if the number of feast days is important to you, consider 3 scriptural truths that perhaps will make sense to you.

      First, you understate the number of feast days by a substantial amount. Passover and Unleavened Bread lasted 8 days. Ex. 13. The Feast of Weeks was 7 days and, if we assume the boys were in Jerusalem for the two holy convocations right before the Feast of Booths (one of which was Atonement), that’s another 22 days (Num. 28-29). That’s 37 days, or 10.13% of the year’s calendar days (and I’m not even counting the travel days that some would need, which would add another 6-9 days to the total for some). Second, keep in mind that the party food was to be shared with the Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens (Deut. 16). Third, only grain was tithed at the feasts. Deut. 14:22 (what is “sown”).

      You have made my point about there being multiple occasions to tithe throughout the year. I agree that 10% of their increase wasn’t given solely for one feast. i think i even explained that in my post.

      You state, “It doesn’t make sense to reserve a tithe from each harvest period throughout the year to be given as a lump-sum at the end”. To that, all I can do is quote the Word: “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithes of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town.

      I already addressed this in my post above – "I don’t want to throw in another wrench in the mix of things here, but it could be that the “year of tithing” passage is mistranslated in scripture. The passage could mean that it’s the “third tithe in the year”. Or it could mean “After the third tithe in the year”."

      First, you assume that Israel was required to give a sacred Levitical tithe every year. You can’t cite a single statute for that proposition because none exists. 

      Like i said. i don’t care if they 12 months came and went and they stored a tithe of their harvest the whole time. The only thing that concerns me is that 10% of "ALL" the seed of the land and fruit of the true was consecrated. So as long as they gave it at some point, that’s fine with me, although it would be impossible to store some food items for such a long period of time. i don’t have to pencil a required annual tithe and i don’t need substandard hermaneutics to have common sense either. If i feel that 10% of the harvest was consecrated it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in systematic theology to assume (i know that’s a bad word) that tithes were given every year unless they stored the tithe for longer than 12 months.

      There are only two tithing frequencies commanded in the Law: the annual party tithe that wasn’t for the Levitical “inheritance”, and the sacred tithe given every third year.

      The difference between us is that i’m using Lev 27 as the basis of understanding how much Israel gave and you are using the latter verses to determine how much they gave. For me, it’s too complex to figure out how much Israel gave based on verses beyond Leviticus 27. In Leviticus 27, it was clear. The answer was to give a tithe of "All" from the seed of the land and the fruit of the tree and to count the tenth one that passes under the rod. In regards to the rest of scripture after that, we can’t even get Jewish sholars and and Rabbi’s to agree on the frequency & amount.

      He ordered His sacred tithe to be given every third year, for an effective annual tithe of 3.34% given to the Levites, who numbered 2.34% of Israel’s population

      I don’t care if the sacred tithe was 3.34% as long as another 6.66% was given also elsewhere. By definition, 10% of the increase from one out of three years of harvest it is not a "tithe of all"

  19. Gary Arnold says:

    Numbers 18:21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

    ALL THE TENTH. Not part of the tenth.

    Leviticus 27:32 every tenth animal.

    In Deuteronomy 14:22-27 it says firstlings, not every tenth animal.

    In Deuteronomy 14:28-29 there is no mention of animals.

    According to scripture, there were three tithes commanded by God. Three different tithes with three different definitions, three different purposes, and three different instructions.

    Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe
    Definition: a tenth of crops and every tenth animal raised on the Holy land.
    Purpose: to help support the Levites and priests.
    Instructions: commanded to take the tithe to the Levites, and the Levites were commanded to take a tenth of the tithe to the priests. The priests were commanded to give a heave offering to God from the best of their tenth.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe
    Definition: a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals.
    Purpose: to feast before the Lord.
    Instructions: take to the place God specified for the feast/festival.

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe
    Definition: a tenth of crops.
    Purpose: to feed the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger.
    Instructions: invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to your home to eat.

  20. Noble says:

    Gary:

    I agree with much of what you’re saying. My comments are:

    1. Num. 18 and Lev. 27.

    Although both command a tithe, which means “a tenth”, neither passage commands how often this tithe was to be given. Of course, a 10% tithe only given every three years isn’t an effective annual tithe of 10%. It’s 3.33%. The Mosaic Law only sets forth the frequency of Mosaic Law tithes once, and they appear in the same passage, Deut. 14:22-29. This passage sets forth the festival tithe, given every year, and the sacred “inheritance” tithe, given every third year.

    Since you are quite correct that the festival tithe only related to grain, it had no application to fruit or animal farmers. Although fruit farmers were required to bring their new wine and oil, and animal farmers were required to bring their firstborns, neither such command is referred to as a “tithe”. The fruit and animal farmers simply weren’t subject to a mathematical quantity, much less 10%. In fact, firstborn males only averaged 1.03 % of the lambs produce each year.

    2. Deut. 14:28.

    Agreed, the passage doesn’t specifically reference “flock” or “herd”. Nor does it specifically reference “seed” or “fruit”. It commands a tithe of “all produce” of the Land, which, according to Lev. 27, is seed, fruit, herd and flock. So, all four categories of farmers were required to tithe of their assets every third year. The portion of the tithe that was in excess of what would be required for the Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens to “eat and be satisfied” were simply stored (grain and fruit) or placed on the Levitical fields (animals) to reproduce and provide an ongoing food source for 3 years until the Numbers 18 – Deut. 14:28 sacred “inheritance” tithe was given again. The passage doesn’t specify that the food was to be given in the farmers’ “homes”, but rather the farmers’ “hometowns”, one of the Levitical cities, which had the fields to carry the tithed animals that weren’t eaten in one sitting. Since you correctly observe that animals weren’t tithed in the feasts grain tithe, do you believe Christ never tithed any of His animals to benefit the poor (other than sharing in firstborns 2 or 3 times a year at the feasts)?

    3. Only 2 tithes (3 if you count the Levites’ tithe to the priests). Deut. 14.

    Neither Lev.27 nor Num. 18 qualify as separate tithes, per se, because neither passage provides the venue (temple vs. farmers’ hometowns), frequency (every year vs. every third year), timing within that frequency (at the 3 feasts vs. the “end of the year”), or subject (only what is “sown” vs, “all produce”).

    Basic rules of statutory construction thus provide that the general provisions of Lev. 27 and Num. 18 must yield to the later-appearing and more specific statute of Deut 14. There is simply no way to argue that the venue of a Lev.-Num. tithe was given in the farmers’ hometowns without linking that “tithe” to Deut. 14:28, which necessarily requires accepting the frequency (every third year) that the Deut. statute prescribes. Further, we can’t simply write off Deut. 14:28 as a “poor” tithe because the poor were beneficiaries of both Mosaic Law tithes.

    Where would 10% of all the animals in the Promised Land be carried after they were given under the “poor” tithe? They would’ve been carried in the Levitical fields and managed by the Levites. The “poor” tithe is the same thing as the Num. 18 “Levitical” tithe.

    It was given every third year. Run the numbers on a Numbers 18 tithe given every year to the Levites, which numbered just over 2% of Israel’s population (Num. 26). They would’ve received over 4 times as much food as their tithing brethren produced. However, by receiving Christ’s sacred “inheritance” tithe only every third year, the Levites’ portion, after tithing to the priests, would be 12.5%, enough to feed the Levites, as their brethren ate, and have plenty for the poor beneficiaries.

    Although “tithe” means “a tenth”, we can’t calculate the effective annual tithe of the sons of Israel until we study how often Christ gave His tithe. Since you are correct that Deut. 14:22 only relates to grain farmers, the only other statutory option is every 3 years under Deut. 14:28.

    Grain farmers tithed twice every third year (which is easy to do with fungible grain), and Christ funded that extra tithe with His triple blessing grain crop in year 6 of each tithing cycle that didn’t benefit the fruit or animal farmers. What a plan! How great is our God!

    • Gary Arnold says:

      Produce does not include animals. Check the Hebrew word used.

      Which tithe does the following apply to:
      Nehemiah 10:37-38 (KJV)
      37And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
      38And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

  21. Noble says:

    Gary:

    “Produce” defined. Scholars segregate the definition of “tebuah” into 3 categories:

    (1) General asset terms – “product(s)”, “produce”, or “property of husbandmen”;

    (2) Specific asset terms – “fruit”, or “crop(s)” (none define it as “grain”); and

    (3) Cashflow terms-“gain”,”income”,“increase”, “revenue”, or “yield”.

    Significantly, “produce” in any tithing verse only means one of these terms. In other words, no scholar defines “tebuah” as “fruit AND crops” or “products AND increase”, meaning there are only 10 possible choices. Let’s take these categories in reverse order to exegete what “produce” in Deut. 14:28 means.

    Cashflow terms. When interpreting “tebuah” in any tithing verse, the cashflow terms are the easiest to eliminate. Because a shepherd with 29 ewes and no ram (and thus no increase or yield) would still have to tithe 2 sheep, we know that the tithe of animals was based upon assets that “passed under the rod” (whether they produced income, increase, or nothing at all).

    That means that “produce” in any tithing verse can’t mean “gain, income, increase, revenue, or yield” unless “produce” is specifically limited to produce that doesn’t include animals and the way scripture required them to be counted and tithed. Of course, Deut. 14:28 contains no such limiting language. So, we eliminate the cashflow terms.

    Specific asset terms. Because of the land sabbath, the terms “fruit” and “crop(s)” must be eliminated as possible interpretations. That is, “produce” can include those terms, but it can’t be limited to them.

    If “produce” in Deut. 14:28 is limited to “fruit” or “crops”, then the command was incapable of obedience every time the Sabbath fell on a third year (see my explanation of how the sabbath affected “production” in my previous posts). That leaves only three choices: ”products, produce, and property of husbandmen”.

    General asset terms. A clear majority of the time, when “tebuah” is used in the Word, it is accompanied by a limiting prepositional phrase, such as “of the land”, “of grain”, “of the field”, “of the threshing floor”, “of the winepress”, “of the vineyard”, “of his lips”, and “of the wicked”.

    The word “tebuah” is used twice in Deut. 14:22-29, which is the only Mosaic Law passage that sets forth all five statutory elements of the only two tithes the sons of Israel were commanded to observe. For the feast tithe in 14:22, the word “produce” is limited to “of what you sow”.

    However, there is no such limiting statutory language in 14:28. That is significant, from a statutory construction standpoint, particularly when the terms are in such close proximity in a single 8-verse passage that describes the statutory elements of, and distinguishes between, two separate tithes.

    Certainly, the word “produce” in verse 28 means something different and broader that “produce from what you sow” in verse 22. The only definitions scholars have derived that provide such a broader definition are “produce”, “products”, or “property of husbandmen”.

    Thus, tebuah means “produce”, “products” or “property of husbandmen”, and is further statutorily defined by all four definitional subjects of the tithe, “seed, fruit, flock, and herd”, from Lev. 27:30.

    B-D-B seems to be spot-on when it defines “produce” as “property of husbandmen, or people”, specifically citing both Deut. 14:28 and Deut. 26:12. Husbandry is defined as “the application of scientific principles to agriculture, especially to animal breeding.”

    The fact that “produce” must include all the products of Lev. 27 will be made apparent as we walk through the sacred tithe.

    The Num. 18 – Deut. 14:28, 26:12 Sacred Inheritance tithe. The B-D-B definition of “produce” that connects Deut. 14:28 with Deut. 26:12 is significant. Further, the use of the term “sacred” inseparably connects those two passages to Num.18. to show that they were the same tithe.

    I strongly disagree with your statement that “The priests were commanded to give a heave offering to God from the best of their tenth.” The priests didn’t offer the heave offering, or “sacred” portion, to the Lord. Exactly the opposite – the Lord offered the sacred portion to the priests. Num. 18:28-9.

    Once we see that the “sacred” portion was offered TO the priests rather than BY the priests, the inseparable connection between Num.18 and Deut.14:28 and 26:12 becomes clear.

    There was only one sacred tithe in scripture and the Word draws a perfectly straight line for that sacred tithe from the sons of Israel (Deut. 26:12), to the Levites (Num. 18:21), from the Levites to the Lord (Num. 18:26-7), and from the Lord to the priests (Num. 18:28-9). Here’s the three-step process by which the sacred tithe went from the Land to the priests:

    1. Step One. The sons of Israel to the Levites. Israel was commanded to tithe from “all their produce” at the end of every third year. Deut. 14:28, Deut. 26:12. That’s all 4 elements mentioned in Lev. 27:30. This tithe is referred to as “sacred”. Deut. 26:13. Note the ceremonial statement that the sons of Israel were commanded to make when presenting their “produce” in the sacred tithe:

    That the “sacred” produce had been REMOVED from the tithers’ homes and that NONE WAS EATEN by the sons of Israel (none of it was used to “invite” the beneficiaries to eat it with the tithers, as you suggest).

    2. Step Two. The Levites to the Lord. Note that everything from Num. 18:26-32 is all one quote that the Lord is instructing Moses to make to the Levites. No part of that instruction was directed to the priests. All instructions to the priests were given to Aaron in the preceding verses.

    Therefore, the “tithe of the tithe”, “best part”, “heave offering”, and “sacred” part (all synonyms) were “offered to the Lord” by the Levites. Num. 18:26.

    Exactly as the tithers were prohibited from eating any of this tithe in Deut. 26, NONE WAS EATEN here of the “sacred”, “best”, “tithe of the tithe”. Num. 30-31. After the sacred portion was given to the priests, the “rest” could be “EATEN ANYWHERE” by the Levites. The uneaten animals tithed to the Levites in the sacred tithe were placed into their 35 Levitical fields to provide a food source for the Levites and poor for the next three years.

    3. Step Three. The Lord to the priests. The sacred, best, heave offering, “tithe of the tithe” was then given by the Lord to the priests as “the Lord’s portion”. Num. 18:19-20. Only then were the sacred gifts allowed to be EATEN BY THE PRIESTS. The priests didn’t give any heave offering of them, as you suggest. The “best”, or “sacred” animals (and their offspring) were eaten or sacrificed as holy by the priests, which is why neither Israel (Deut. 26) nor the Levites (Num. 18:31) could EAT THEM. See how perfectly symmetrical Num. 18 is to Deut. 14:28 and 26:12?

    Thus, the use of the term “sacred” inseparably connects the tithe of Numbers 18 with Deut. 26:12, which is simply a restatement and more detailed presentation of the Deut. 14:28 sacred tithe given every third year. The food tithed under Num. 18 is the same food tithed in what you term the “poor” tithe.

    If one interprets “produce” to only be “crops”, the term “sacred” in both Num. 18 and Deut. 26 would similarly limit the Levites’ tithe to the priests to only crops. Since Christ gave 2 priests a whopping 13 fields on which to graze the animals tithed to them by the Levites, the animals had to be included in that which is “sacred” in both passages.

    Deut. 14:22 Feast tithe. The second tithe given by the sons of Israel was the feast tithe. If you use “crops” to mean both grain and fruit, then I disagree with you about what was tithed here. Fruit isn’t “sown”. Only grain was tithed here, with the extra grain being funded by Christ’s triple-blessing grain crop in each 6th year that the fruit and animal farmers weren’t benefitted by.

    Fruit farmers were commanded to bring an unspecified amount of new wine and oil to the feasts, but they didn’t tithe at the feasts. The only farmers who observed the feast tithe were grain farmers, for a net effective annual tithe of 10.33%. Fruit and animal farmers gave a net effective annual tithe of 3.3% because they only tithed every third year.

  22. lee says:

    Today the tithe (singular) has been traditionally taught to give 10% of ones income.

    However I believe God intended the tithes(plural)to be a provision of substance to meet the needs of his people and sustain Gods intended purposes, what ever they may have been.

    What always seems to be a grey area in the NT covenant is the context of

    The 10 Commandments
    The keeping of the Sabbath
    The Tabernacle
    The tabernacle rituals
    Tithes
    (but not limited to just these)

    Jesus did not did not sacrifice him self, so the gentiles could eventually turn synagogues into multimillion dollar business and use his word to finance and justify there life styles.

    The purpose of the tithes is for provision, of labors and the people, labors are ONLY given what they need to meet there need and the people are also provided for of what they are lacking.

    Ministers are only given what they need, not in excessive to remind them who it is they rely on and who it is they trust in, then the needs of the members in the fellowship need to be addressed for what they are lacking and then the community needs will be addressed.

    This is the standard order

    The needs of the people are not forfeited to pay for air or TV time, this is robbing them of there blessing, it is our heavenly father who provides for these expenses.

    The tithes was not designed to be collected for a persons personal wealth, whilst others struggle to survive, the tithes are collected to meet the labors peoples and community needs and the where ever God directs them to be used.

    There is so much corruption in the body of Christ.

    May God forgive us.

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