Tithing, give unto YHVH what is due to Him

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The topic of tithing and giving has been much debated and there are many different interpretations of the Scripture regarding this topic. Both individuals and organizations have twisted the scriptures regarding tithing for their own benefit. The purpose of this study is to see what the Scripture teaches about tithing and how we can apply it in our lives. We are going to look into pre-mosaic tithing, mosaic tithing and what we can learn from Y’shua and from history. What does YHVH require from us with regards to tithing and giving? What is in our Father’s heart?

We can start off with a word study on the word “tithe”

1711h מַעֲשֵׂר(maʿăśēr) tithe.

· tenth part, tithe;—abs. מ׳ Nu 18:26 +; cstr. מַעְשַׂר Lv 27:30 +, מַעֲשַׂר Ne 10:39 (bef. הַמַּעֲשֵׂר); sf. מַעַשְׂרוֹ Lv 27:31; pl. abs. מַעַשְׂרוֹת Ne 12:44; sf. מַעְשְׂרֹתֵיכֶם Am 4:4 + 3 times;— 1. tenth part of ḥomer Ez 45:11, of bath v 14. 2. · tithe,

Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (electronic ed.) (798). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

The Hebrew word: מַעֲשֵׂר (maʿăśēr)”is used interchangeably for tithing or “tenth part” in the scripture.

Pre-mosaic Tithing

Abraham’s tithe

Abraham was the first man, documented in the Scripture, to tithe. It was not an instruction from YHVH; he did so out of free will. Abraham gave a tenth of the choicest spoils of war to Melchizedek, after he was blessed by him. Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave the rest to the King of Sodom. (This event took place before the covenant was made between him and YHVH.) Who is Melchizedek? Melchizedek was the King of Salem. Some say Melchizedek is a “type” of Y’shua, some say it was Y’shua. We know Y’shua is The High Priest of the order of Melchizedek.

Genesis 14:19–20
19 He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of Elohim Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be Elohim Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.

It can be confusing when reading the last part of verse 20. Who tithed to whom? We find some guidance when we look at the Hebrew grammatical principle of the usage of the word “and.” The Hebrew language is very fast-paced and fluent, and the word “and” is often used when one idea or concept is described. You can look, for this reason, at the usage of this word to determine whether or not two verses discuss the same or different concepts. Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth, because there would otherwise be an “and” inserted between “hand” and “He.” The second witness is a passage in Hebrews:

Hebrews 7:4–8
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.

The writer of Hebrews alludes to the Levites being the lesser and mortal, are normally the ones receiving tithes. However, in the case of Abraham, the tithe is received by the one who lives on. Could this be referring to the high priest of the Most High? Also known as the high priest of the order of Melchizedek.

Jacob’s tithe

Genesis 28:14–22
14 “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely YHVH is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of Elohim, and this is the gate of heaven.” 18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If Elohim 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, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then YHVH will be my Elohim. 22 “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be Elohim’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Jacob had an encounter with YHVH while lying down to sleep. In a dream he was blessed by YHVH. The promise made to Abraham was repeated to him. Being under the impression of this, He made a counter promise to give a tenth to YHVH of all that He would give him. It is interesting to note that both Abraham and Jacob gave a tenth after they were blessed; they did not give in order to be blessed.

The History of tithing

Giving a tithe (a portion) was not just a practice of Israel; in ancient times it was practiced throughout the Middle East. It was income for the king and his kingdom, like a tax. It may be regular, voluntary or prescribed by law of a certain country. The Egyptians were required to give a fifth part of their crop to Pharaoh (Gen. 47:24). Abraham, Jacob and others were familiar with this principle being in foreign lands; however, it was not yet given as a command for their nation. <http://www.letusreason.org/doct54.htm>

Genesis 47:23–24
23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.”

What is the significance of the pre-mosaic tithe? Mark A. Snoeberger wrote a paper on the pre-mosaic tithe. He researched the origin of the tithe in the Ancient Near East and wrote the following:

He discusses the possibility of tithing being instituted by YHVH at the very beginning. He investigates the offerings of Cain and Abel, Abraham’s tithe to Melchezedek as well as Jacob’s promise of a tithe. He points out the following with regard to Abraham and Jacob’s tithes:

  • Abram’s tithe was apparently a one-time act, not a regular giving pattern. There is no record of Abram’s return to Melchizedek, and the references to his tithe in the singular in Hebrews 7:4, 6 point to a one-time gift.
  • Abram’s tithe was made strictly on the spoils of war seized from the coalition of eastern kings. While the Hebrew and Greek texts simply state that Abram made a tithe of “all,” this clearly cannot mean he gave Melchizedek a tenth of his entire possessions—Abram surely was not carrying such a percentage of his property on a swift military raid. It seems certain that it was only the spoils on which Abram tithed.
  • · There is no present-day recipient of a tithe that can parallel Melchizedek.
  • The promised tithe of Jacob is never said to have been actually paid

We conclude, therefore, that the pre-Mosaic tithe was merely a culture-bound, voluntary expression of worship reflective of the ancient Near Eastern practice of the time, and adapted by Abraham as a means of expressing gratitude and attributing glory to YHVH.”
The pre-mosaic tithe: issues and implications by Mark A Snoeberger http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2000/snoeberger.pdf

The Mosaic Tithe

How many tithes are to be given and when?

We will address the “when” part of the question first.

Deuteronomy 14:22
22 “You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.

Nehemiah 10:35
35 and that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of YHVH annually,

2 Chronicles 31:5–7
5 As soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel provided in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all. 6 The sons of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of sacred gifts which were consecrated to YHVH their Elohim, and placed them in heaps. 7 In the third month they began to make the heaps, and finished them by the seventh month.

From the above scriptures, we can see that the tithes were given annually. It would probably be taken to Jerusalem during the pilgrimage festivals. We can see from the general instructions in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that there are three commanded tithes.

  • A first tithe was given to the Levite in order for them to be provided for ( Num 18:21). 
  • A second was for the feasts to be enjoyed by the Israelite (Deut 14:22–26) and 
  • a third for the widows, orphans, strangers and Levites (Deut 14:28–29). 

The first and second was given every year and the third tithe every third year.

Historical sources describe three tithes

Evidence of how things were done in history may shed some light on this for us. A quote from the “Antiquities of the Jews” by Josephus Flavius, a Jewish historian who lived about the time of Y’shua, documented the understanding of his time regarding the first and second tithe and how it was appropriated. To add to his credibility I must add that he was also from the priestly line.

“Let there be taken out of your fruits a tenth, besides that which you have allotted to give to the priests and Levites. This you may indeed sell in the country, but it is to be used in those feasts and sacrifices that are to be celebrated in the holy city: for it is fit that you should enjoy those fruits of the earth which God gives you to possess” (Antiquities 4:8:8).

It is spoken of two different tithes here given in the same year, namely the tithe for the Levite and the tithe for the feasts. He later on writes about another tithe paid every third year in addition to the other two tithes. Josephus clearly states, about the third tithe, that this tithe collected for the poor was different from the other two:

“Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year a third tithe to be distributed to those that want [i.e., lack]; to women also that are widows, and to children that are orphans” (Antiquities 4: 8:22).

In the apocryphal book of Tobit, which many scholars date to about 200 B.C., the writer states:

“I, for my part, would often make the pilgrimage alone to Jerusalem for the festivals, as is prescribed for all Israel by perpetual decree. Bringing with me the first fruits of the field and the firstlings of the flock, together with a tenth of my income and the first shearings of the sheep, I would hasten to Jerusalem and present them to the priests, Aaron’s sons, at the altar. To the Levites who were doing service in Jerusalem I would give the tithe of the grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs and other fruits.

“And except for sabbatical years, I used to give a second tithe in money, which each year I would go and disburse in Jerusalem. The third tithe I gave to orphans and widows, and to converts who were living with the Israelites. Every third year I would bring them this offering, and we ate it in keeping with the decree of the Mosaic law and the commands of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel; for when my father died, he left me an orphan” (Tobit 1:6-8, New American Bible).

We have a document that also proves that a tithe was paid even in the absence of the Temple. A document (MUR24E) was found dated at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in 133-135 AD, which proves that tithing was continued, although the Temple was defiled and not in use at the time. This document is a rental agreement stating that a tithe of the grain -probably the rental payment- was to be delivered to the silo of the treasury. Could this refer to a third year tithe? image

Do we tithe in the Sabbatical year?

A seven year sabbatical cycle was in place. The seventh year was a year of rest for the land, there was no sowing, planting or harvesting during that year (Lev 25:1-7, 18-22). There was no tithing of this produce in the Sabbatical year, because a tithe was to be given from the increase of the land. A tithe from the increase of the flock would still be possible. So, during the Sabbatical year, the amount tithed would be substantially less than in other years. If we apply it to our modern time, if we have increase, we can tithe.

From this we can also conclude that the tithe that was to be set aside in the third year was also set aside in the sixth year of the seven-year cycle. If this was not the case, you would run into problems during the 21st year because the two laws would be in conflict with each other (the law of tithing and the sabbatical law).

Deuteronomy 14:28
28 “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.

Furthermore, note that this instruction is given just before the instructions concerning the Sabbatical year. It would, therefore, in my opinion, imply every third year within the 7 year cycle, years 3 and 6. What I found beautiful is how Abba YHVH provides for the seventh year. He would provide such a bounteous harvest in the sixth year, thus so providing for the Levite, widow, orphan and the stranger during the Sabbatical year.

What was to be tithed?

Leviticus 27:30–32
30 ‘Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is YHVH’s; it is holy to YHVH. 31 ‘If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. 32 ‘For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to YHVH 33 ‘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.’ ”

The range of the tithe is given in the broadest possible terms, and in a manner perfectly suited for an agricultural economy. All the tithe of the land belongs to YHVH. This includes vegetation as well as animal life, without exception. Moreover, the tithe is not to be confused with the offering of the first fruits (Ex 22:29–30) nor is it to be based on partiality (keeping the better for oneself). Respecting animals, for instance, a herdsman was simply to count every tenth animal as it would leave the fold and regard it as belonging to YHVH. A farmer might wish to convert his agricultural tithe to cash (for ease in transporting it), but he would have to add a fifth to it, to preclude any financial advantage. He could not make such an exchange for his animals. The resultant tithe was “holy to YHVH” (see qōdeš), set apart to His exclusive use.
Allen, R. B. (1999). 1711 עשׂר. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (702–704). Chicago: Moody Press.

The tithe of the land was given from:

  • the increase of the seed,
  • the fruit of the trees
  • every tenth one from the herd or the flock.

Could this increase of the land, herd or flock be converted to money? A farmer could convert the increase of his land to cash for ease of transporting, but he had to add a fifth to it to preclude any financial advantage (Lev 27:31).

  • The same could not be done with animals (Lev 27:33).
  • The second tithe could also be converted to money if the person had to travel far for the feast (Deut 14:24).

Now that we have a general understanding regarding the Mosaic commandments regarding the giving of the tenth, we will continue with a detailed study of the three different tithes.

The first tithe and the Salt Covenant

In order for us to understand the first tithe better, we are going to look into the special covenant YHVH made with the Levites. They were called by YHVH, because they proved themselves faithful to YHVH, even at the cost of son or brother. This took place after the incident with the golden calf.

Exodus 32:26–29
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on YHVHh’s side? Come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says YHVH, the Elohim of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.’ ” 28 The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day. 29 Moses said, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of YHVH, each one at the cost of a son or a brother, and so have brought a blessing on yourselves this day.”

By their actions on that day, they were ordained for special service unto YHVH; first in the tabernacle and later in the Temple.

Numbers 18:19–21
19 All the holy offerings that the Israelites present to YHVH I have given to you, together with your sons and daughters, as a perpetual due; it is a covenant of salt forever before YHVH for you and your descendants as well. 20 Then YHVHh said to Aaron: You shall have no allotment in their land, nor shall you have any share among them; I am your share and your possession among the Israelites. 21 To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for a possession in return for the service that they perform, the service in the tent of meeting.

Numbers 18:23–24
23 But the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear responsibility for their own offenses; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. But among the Israelites they shall have no allotment, 24 because I have given to the Levites as their portion the tithe of the Israelites, which they set apart as an offering to YHVH. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no allotment among the Israelites.

The tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to YHVH, was given to the Levites in return for the service that they were to perform. They did not receive an inheritance with the rest of Israel. YHVH was their inheritance; He made a special covenant with them. This is a perpetual covenant of friendship and fellowship, also referred to as a salt covenant (Num 18:19).

“It’s name comes from an ancient practice. Each Hebrew person carried a small pouch of salt. When two or more men wanted to enter into this type of relationship with each other, the parties to the covenant would mix their salt in a common bowl, break bread, dip it into salt, and eat it. When they were finished, they would redistribute the salt into their pouches. At that point, the only way to break the covenant would be to separate each grain of salt from the others and return it to it’s original owner. Since that was impossible, the established bond remains forever.”
Lost in translation vol 1, John Klein and Adam Spears, p42

This covenant is further elaborated on in Malachi.

Malachi 2:4–7
4 Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says YHVH of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of YHVH of hosts.

The Levites had certain additional responsibilities; they were:

  • to fear YHVH
  • to instruct the people in truth
  • to walk with YHVH in uprightness and integrity
  • they were messengers of YHVH

The Levites were to give a tithe of the tithe they received (Num 18:25-32) My question to you now is: are we still to give the first tithe? There is no Levitical priesthood or Temple service at the moment. However, looking at the responsibilities of the Levites, and the role they had, you could postulate that righteous teachers should be provided for. Rather than speculating about it, what can we learn from the Scripture in this regard? Paul never demanded any payment for his teaching, he, in fact, continued with his work as a tent maker. (Acts 20:32-35; 2 Cor 11:7-12; 2 Cor 12:14-18). He did, however, teach that the material needs of teachers are to be taken care of (1Tim 5:17-18; 1 Cor 9:9-11). One scripture stands out for me:

1 Corinthians 9:13–14
13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also YHVH directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

Paul puts the Levitical priesthood in direct relation with preachers of the gospel. Just as the Levites were taken care of by way of the tithe, just so a provision should be made for righteous teachers. However, there are many, even in those days, who are peddling the Word of Elohim. A more understandable translation would be: selling the Word at retail. There should be a balance in everything.

2 Corinthians 2:17
17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of Elohim, but as from sincerity, but as from Elohim, we speak in Messiah in the sight of Elohim.

We are thus obligated, of our own accord, to take care of the material needs of teachers, but they are not to sell their services or teachings at a profit. How would we apply this in our technological age? I would think it acceptable for a teacher to make his teachings (cd’s or dvd’s) available at a price in order to recover his costs. He can also receive donations from those he teaches, but he is not to sell either his time or teachings at retail, thereby making an unreasonable profit from it. That would be “peddling the Word of Elohim.” In conclusion, we can see from the scriptures what we are to do regarding the first tithe. Let the Ruach guide you to help those who teach you, have their material needs met.

The second tithe

The second tithe was for the celebration of the feasts. It was to be taken along, when going up to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage feasts. Please refer to our previous article on this topic. In this instance, the tithe may be exchanged for money if you have to travel far. You are allowed to spend this tithe on yourself and your family in order for you to learn to fear YHVH always. This is a very interesting reason given by Abba. You take the tithe, which is the tithe of the blessing He has bestowed upon you, and you utilize it in your celebration of the feast. It will cause you to be thankful for His provision knowing that this is only possible through Him who provides for you. Could this be one of the special reasons to go up to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage feasts?

Deuteronomy 12:5–7
5 “But you shall seek YHVH at the place which YHVH your Elohim will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6 “There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 “There also you and your households shall eat before YHVH your Elohim, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which YHVH your Elohim has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 14:22–29
22 “You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. 23 “You shall eat in the presence of YHVH your Elohim, 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 YHVH your Elohim always. 24 “If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where YHVH your Elohim chooses to set His name is too far away from you when YHVH your Elohim blesses you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which YHVH your Elohim chooses. 26 “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 YHVH your Elohim and rejoice, you and your household. 27 “Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you.

Who is Abba YHVH speaking to here? He is speaking to Israel!

Deuteronomy 14:2
2 “For you are a holy people to YHVH your Elohim, and YHVH has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

He first gave a general summation of the dietary laws and then starts with this passage on tithing. Another point: in verse 27, Israel is told not to forget the Levite. Furthermore, note how the word “and” is used. We have discussed this principle earlier; being the typical way in the Hebrew language to communicate a thought. This thought process was broken in verse 27 where YHVH speaks of the Levite. We see the same pattern between Deut 14:29 and Deut 15:1 – no “and.”

Deuteronomy 14:27
27 “Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you.

I see this as Abba YHVH’s way of providing for the Israelites for the pilgrimage feasts. You are to take your tithes -you and your family and celebrate the feasts. The Levite should not be forgotten and would, in my opinion, be included in your festive rejoicing.

The third year tithe

You may want to know when the next Sabbatical year is. In our previous article on this topic, we have shown from the Scripture and history when the next sabbatical year would be. It is essential to know this, as it is YHVH’s timing not ours – that is important. It is just as important to celebrate the Sabbath on the seventh day as it is to keep the Sabbatical year in its proper time. This is also significant for us in order to know when to give the third-year tithe. The previous sabbatical year was in 2009. Thus, the next third-year tithe would be due in 2012(ending 2013) and then 2015(ending 2016). Allow me to explain this.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29
28 “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. 29 “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 YHVH your Elohim may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

This third tithe is also called the sacred portion. (Lev 27:30)

Deuteronomy 26:12–19
12 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 “You shall say before YHVH your Elohim, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. 14 ‘I have not eaten of it while mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of YHVH my Elohim; I have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 ‘Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.’ 16 “This day YHVH your Elohim commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 “You have today declared YHVH to be your Elohim, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. 18 “YHVH has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to YHVH your Elohim, as He has spoken.”

Please take note who the recipients of this tithe were and where it was to be given.

Deuteronomy 26:12
12“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to

  • the Levite, to
  • the stranger, to
  • the orphan and to
  • the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

This tithe was historically taken to the storehouse, from where it would be distributed to those in need. I would also imagine that it would be a substantial amount in products as there were certainly more Israelites than there were Levites, orphans, widows and strangers. They were therefor, in my opinion, well provided for, for the next three years. In the sixth year, the storehouse would receive another third-year tithe. This time it would be a double portion as Abba would provide abundantly in this year in order to provide for the sabbatical year. Aren’t His ways amazing? Also take note of  the special blessing that is associated with this tithe when given: “in order that YHVH your Elohim may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do”

We have written a more  detailed article about the third tithe. You can read it here: The third year tithe providing for the widows and the orphans.

The storehouse

The tithe described in Deut 14:28 would go to the storehouse. This storehouse is also referred to in Nehemiah and Malachi.

Deuteronomy 14:28
28 “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 poor and the alien would and should be allowed to glean from the corners of the fields (Lev 19:9, Lev 23:22). This storehouse is for the times that there is nothing to glean (in my opinion). There are four references to this storehouse in the book of Nehemiah. This storehouse was restored when Judah returned from exile and the tithes were taken there.

Nehemiah 10:37–38
37 We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our Elohim, and the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. 38 The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our Elohim, to the chambers of the storehouse.

Nehemiah 12:44
44 On that day men were also appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions required by the law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who served.

Nehemiah 13:5
5 had prepared a large room for him, where formerly they put the grain offerings, the frankincense, the utensils and the tithes of grain, wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, the singers and the gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.

Nehemiah 13:12
12 All Judah then brought the tithe of the grain, wine and oil into the storehouses.

There is also a detailed reference about the storehouse, teamed with a serious rebuke in the book of Malachi. It would seem from this passage that this tithe was being neglected. It also shows us that this tithe is a test commandment. Not in the way the modern church has twisted it to fund their church buildings. This scripture has been used for centuries to rob YHVH further, for personal gain and for the building of expensive church buildings. That was not the purpose of this tithe. This tithe is for a certain group of people: the widows, orphans, the Levite and the stranger. If applied correctly, there is a blessing involved, but this should not be the reason for giving. The intent of our hearts should be obedience and taking care of those who are in need.

Malachi 3:7–15
7 “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 YHVH of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 “Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the YHVH of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says YHVH of hosts. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says YHVH of hosts. 13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says YHVH. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is vain to serve Elohim; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before YHVH of hosts? 15 ‘So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test Elohim and escape.’ ”

Are we still to observe this? How are we to apply this tithe in our day? We don’t have storehouses. Where should we take this?

It is not always straightforward to apply commandments that were given in former times, but this should not be our reason for not observing it. We still see this as a valid commandment for us, even in our time. We can ask Abba YHVH for His leading in this. An idea would be to have a separate bank account where you separate that which is meant for tithing. This can then be accessed when you are led by the “Ruach” (Spirit of Elohim) to give. This could be your storehouse. You could still give over and above this, but this will help you not to give less than commanded. This can be a testimony of the goodness of our Heavenly Father to those in need. With the exclusion of the Levite, we still have widows, orphans and strangers among us. Let Abba’s Ruach lead you in the way you should do this. Don’t make this someone else’s responsibility, give it directly to those who need it.

Historical reference to the third year tithe

I have found some information on an early assembly called the Waldenses. They existed in the 1500’s and there are some evidence in a writing of Passagini that they observed the giving of tithes. That was in the 1500s. I have posted this reference because most people will say that the Temple and Levites are a prerequisite for all tithing. This shows that it was probable that this tithe was still given, even after the destruction of the Temple. It makes perfect sense to me, as the widows and orphans and strangers will always be among us, as Y’shua also said (Matt 26:11).

“The Waldenses recognized that they were the true successors of the apostolic church. They kept the Sabbath and also the yearly Passover.

In about 1200 A.D, under the name of Passagini, we have a very clear picture that these people observed the whole Old Testament law—including the Sabbath and festivals—even though the Catholic Inquisitors zealously burned the records about anyone living God’s way of life at that time! (That’s one thing to be said for the Roman Catholic Church: It is very diligent at certain things. The problem is that it’s in the wrong direction, and we suffer for it.)

The membership paid a three-part division of tithes to God through the ministry of the Waldensian church. Even in the 1500’s, the same division [of tithing] still continued among the Waldensians. In his book, History of the Waldenses, the author (Leonard) quoted George Morel, a Waldensian elder, as saying: “The money given us by the people is carried to the aforesaid general council, and is delivered in the presence of all, and there it is received by the most ancients [that is, the elders], and part thereof is given to those that are wayfaring men, according to their necessities, and part unto the poor.”

So George Morel actually mentions a “second tithe,” apparently for those traveling to and from the festivals; and following it, [he mentions] the “third tithe,” which goes to the poor. Feast goers who had more “second tithe” than they needed shared their excess with those in need at that time as well. So we see there that they had not just a little bit of God’s truth, but quite a bit—probably most of God’s truth, as we have it today.”

Read more: http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Audio.details/ID/728/Church-History-Part-3-A.D.-1161-1585.htm#ixzz1jqhUF42C.

The following is a quote from the Didache; “The teaching of the twelve apostles”. This document is from the late first century and gives us an idea as to how they observed the commandments in their day. This is what they say about giving:

Give to everyone who asks you, and do not demand it back,” for the Father wants something from his own gifts to be given to everyone. Blessed is the one who gives according to the command, for such a person is innocent. Woe to the one who receives: if, on the one hand, someone who is in need receives, this person is innocent, but the one who does not have need will have to explain why and for what purpose he received, and upon being imprisoned will be interrogated about what he has done, and will not be released from there until he has repaid every last cent.11 (6) But it has also been said concerning this: “Let your gift sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give it.”
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (251–253). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

What did Y’shua teach?

What does Y’shua teach us regarding giving?

  • Give willingly to those who teach in order to provide in their needs (Matt 10:10; Luk 10:7-8)
  • Do not give in a hypocritical way, in order to be seen, or for the sake of a blessing (Matt 23:23)
  • Give, not expecting anything in return (Luk 6:34-35)
  • Give, and it will be given to you (Luk 6:38)
  • Give to him who asks of you and do not turn anyone away who wants to borrow from you (Matt 5:42)
  • Render to Ceasar what is due to him and to YHVH what is due to Him (Mark 12:14-17). Reading this, can we say that we don’t have to tithe, because we already pay tax? I think not. There is historical proof that tithing was continued under Roman rule, but that is a discussion for another time.

Luke 10:7–8
7 “Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8 “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you;

Matthew 10:10
10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Matthew 23:23
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Luke 6:34–35
34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Luke 6:38
38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Matthew 5:42
42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Giving to the poor

These three tithes we discussed should be our target, but not our limit. We are to give freely to those in need.

Psalm 37:21
21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives.

Deuteronomy 15:7–8
7 “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which YHVH your Elohim is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; 8 but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

Deuteronomy 15:9–11
9 “Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to YHVH against you, and it will be a sin in you. 10 “You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing YHVH your Elohim will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

Proverbs 22:9
9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.

Let us prayerfully consider what Abba YHVH teaches us through His Word. Tithing was never meant to be a burden. It was to be a liberating act of joyful worship of  YHVH. All that we have, comes from Him. Tithing gives us the opportunity to share our blessings with those less fortunate, so sharing the love of YHVH with them. Take heed of Y’shua’s rebuke of the Pharisees, though we are not to be so pedantic about tithing the exact right amount that we neglect the more important matters like justice, faithfulness and mercy. That’s what they did, they were tithing even herbs in order to be seen to be correct to the letter. They were whitewashed graves and cups just cleaned on the outside; hypocrites. Our love for YHVH and for others are to be in our tithing.

Mark 12:30–31
30 and you shall love the YHVH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul (Deut 6:5), and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18).’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Proverbs 3:9–10
9 Honor YHVH from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

2 Corinthians 9:7
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for YHVH loves a cheerful giver.

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Comments (13)

  • Sukkot – the Festival of Joy! | Set Apart People


    […] To rejoice is to be joyful in such a way that your joy finds a visible expression. YHVH tells us how to express this joy. We are to celebrate a feast before Him, at the place He chooses, with others. Furthermore, we are not to come empty-handed, but give according to the blessing which He has given us. This is the second tithe, the tithe that is commanded to be used to celebrate the feasts with (Deut 14:22-27). Giving this tithe is an expression of our joy and thankfulness for YHVH’s provision. You can learn more about tithing at Tithing, give unto YHVH what is due to Him […]


  • Andrew Lewis


    This was an excellent review of tithing. Very provoking,insightful, & encouraging… Thanks for your hard work in study and living out that which you write. Two questions for you – which i believe you can help me on.

    1.) Were the storehouses throughout all the land of Israel in Every town or was there only one large storehouse in or connected to the temple?

    2.)How do the three(3) kind of tithes commanded over lap with each other? I am confused on how to exactly do them. If for example it were the 6th year, – How could i give 10% of my year’s income to Levites(i.e.Righteous Gospel Workers), if that same year I am also to give 10% of all my income of that year to the widow, orphan, & stranger? OR for example it is the 3rd year, – I am commanded to give 10% to the Levites(ie. righteous gospel workers), yet also commanded to give 10% of that year’s net total to YHVH during/for the Feast(s)? There are three Feasts each year that all men are to appear before YHVH not empty handed… SO how should i divide the tenth for each? Is it annually or tri-quarturely?

    Hope these questions make sense to you. I look forward to grasping all that the father has planned for us.
    Thanks again. Best regards, Andrew Lewis


  • Schalk_and_Elsa


    Shalom Andrew,

    Thank you for your questions and kind words.

    Deut 14:28 speaks of deposit it in your town and mention is made in Neh 10:37 of chambers in YHVH’s house so the storehouses could be in both the towns and Temple. That is how we interpret it.

    About the practical observance of the tithes. We understand it to be three separate tithes. For example, in the first and second year of the sabbatical cycle you would give the first tithe and the second tithe. The first for the levite or “representative” and the second you are to use on yourself and family during the three pilgrimage festivals. The third year tithe is given in the 3rd and 6th year of the sabbatical cycle. This is an additional 10%, which is to be given to the widows, orphans and poor, also to the Levite. All those people without inheritance rights. You can read the article about the 3rd year tithe for more clarification.

    As we said in the article, the first tithe, which was to be for the Levite is difficult to give in our time. We give it as we feel led to teachers or ministries. The second tithe we use for the feasts and it usually works out to more than 10%. The third tithe, we keep separate and use it when we see needs in others.

    Hope this answers your question.


  • Robert


    Nice presentation. However and unfortunately, you did not clarify whether the supposed Christian tithing is a New Testament requirement. Giving its origin, purpose and practice, I rather think it is an Old Testament paradigm. The Old Testament tithe teaches us a lot about giving in the new dispensation but it doesn’t mean our giving is to be packaged and delivered in the form of tithe. You taught of Christ being a priest. Indeed he is the high priest of the New Covenant priesthood, Christians being the priests. As it was in the Levitical analogy, it was uncustomary for the priests to tithe to the high priests. In all of scripture and even in pagan traditions, priests and their temple estates were granted immunity from taxation. It is therefore interesting to note that Abraham and Jacob who presumably tithed were not designated as God’s priests. The Levitical priests would not, except to a higher priesthood. And that greater priesthood is here! If indeed after proclaiming Christianity as a priesthood, they were concomitantly enjoined to tithe to God, it would expose Christianity to the ridicule and scorn of not only the Jews but also, their Gentiles neighbours who equally understood the religious provisions of every priesthood institution. Christianity is also designated as a royal priesthood meaning we double also as sons of God. Jesus indicated in Matthew 17:24-27 that, characteristic of all kingdoms, “sons are exempt” from any injunctions regarding customs, duties or taxes. The practice of tithing by Christians would definitely distort this logical thought and rob the gospel of its doctrinal consistency. By this understanding, I believe that Christians have been granted immunity from tithing in God’s own kingdom and that, it is no longer an issue in Christianity.Hence the silence about tithing in the early church economy. Reconstructed the other way, Paul taught that: “One who has been assigned to plant vineyards, has the right to eat of the fruits of the vineyard as his occupational benefit; while one who tends the flock obtains their milk. In an equal measure, the thresher threshes in hope for a share in the crop”. Then he recalled: “Those who work in the temple also get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered at the altar. He therefore concluded: “In the same way those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”. His expectation therefore was that Christian ministers’ stipend must be borne out of the gospel provisions rather than being literally derived from the ministerial rights of the Old Testament temple officials (I Corinth. 9:7-14). Why should gospel ministers eat from the Levitical altar when we are told that: “We (also) have an altar from which those who minister(ed) at the tabernacle have no right to eat?” (Heb. 13:10).


    • Schalk_and_Elsa


      Shalom Robert,

      First and foremost, Y’shua Himself stated the following:

      Matthew 5:17–19
      17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

      Secondly, we don’t believe in dispensationalism. It is not the truth. We believe that our Elohim is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change. Y’shua was and is sinless. That means he kept the commandments perfectly. Sin is lawlessness

      1 John 3:4
      4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

      Y’shua did not practice lawlessness nor did He change or abolish the law. He also taught that we are to keep the commandments.

      If you look at everything from this point of view, you will understand that what was commanded in the beginning still stands. We can obviously not do all the commandments in our time due to the absence of the Temple, but we can do our best to be obedient out of love for our Heavenly Father. For example, most christians believe that we are at least to keep the ten commandments, yet they don’t keep the Sabbath on the day designated to it by God. They keep it on the day the pope designated for it to be kept. That is just one example. Where in Scripture was it ever commanded for the sabbath to be changed from the seventh to the first day of the week?

      Also, the Levitical priesthood is a physical priesthood and the Mechizedek priesthood, or Y’shua’s priesthood is spiritual. We are not to confuse this. The Levitical priesthood was not abolished. The Temple was destroyed, and without a temple, they can’t perform their priestly duties. They have not been replaced. There are many passages that attest to that. You see Robert, it is very important to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation as one. It is not two different dispensations with different rules. Our Heavenly Father did not make a mistake when He gave His commandments, He gave it to benefit us, it is our instructions for living. If you look at the instructions in Leviticus 11, for example, the dietary laws. Much scientific research has been done which proves that pork, shrimp and the like are actually not beneficial to you. They are designed to be nature’s garbage collectors and can as a result of this make you very sick.

      So, to get back to the tithing. If you see it all from this point of view, you will understand.

      We pray that YHVH will reveal His truth to you. Thank you for your comment.

      Shalom Schalk and Elsa


  • Providing for widows and orphans | Set Apart People


    […] Before we go into more detail about the third tithe, here is a table with a summary of the tithes YHVH commanded. If you would like a more detailed study on tithing, you can read “Tithing, give unto YHVH what is due to Him” […]


  • Shamira


    Shalom Shalk and Elsa,
    Many thanks again for your very hard and blessed work aiming at bringing back many who handle the Scriptures in their hands to the very set apart ways as commanded by Abba YHVH!
    I am a bit confused about the timing of the 2nd 3rd year of ma’aser within the current sabbatical cycle aviv 2016-aviv 2017. If you say that the 1st 3rd year was due in 2012 ending in 2013 (aviv 2013), how is it that the 2nd 3rd year already ended this year? Would not the 2nd 3rd year occur on aviv 2016 to aviv 2017 if the 1st 3rd year ended on aviv 2013? 13-14/14-15/15-16 then the 2nd 3rd will take place on 16-17. Many thanks to clarify please! shamira


    • Schalk_and_Elsa


      Shalom Shamira,

      The previous Sabbatical year was in 2009, ending aviv 2010. If you count from the 1st year of this cycle which is 2010-2011, second year 2011-2012, the third year is 2012-2013. Then the 4th would be 2013-2014, the 5th 2014-2015. The 6th would be 2015 ending aviv 2016. Now in 2016 to the next aviv in 2017 is the sabbatical year.

      The counting can be confusing,
      Elsa and Schalk


  • Ralston


    Thank you…it has been explained very well! May Yehovah continue to shine His face on you and the ministry He has given you.


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