The MessageTithing

Old Testament Tithing

The Books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy explicitly mentioned tithing during the Old Testament.

Flavius Josephus, the Jewish-Roman historian, refers to the three types of tithes, where the third tithes were to be given to the Levites every third and sixth year of the seventh year of the Sabbath cycle. Levites were the poorest among the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob). The tribe of Levi (Levites) did not get any inheritance when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. There were 48 cities set aside for the tribe of Levi in ancient Israel, but not a territorial land. Levites were not allowed to be landowners because “the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance” (Book of Joshua 13:33). The 11 tribes supported the tribe of Levi. Levites were said to be the tribe of the priesthood.

Most likely, at that time, the tenth part of agricultural produce would be tithes and sent to the storehouses for safekeeping and future consumption in case of famine or emergency needs. The Scripture listed below will help give you understanding.

Old Testament scriptures on tithing

Malachi 3:10 ESV—Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing until there is no more need.

Malachi 3:8-12 ESV—Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, your whole nation. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse so there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV—Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Leviticus 27:30 ESV—Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed or the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.

Genesis 28:22 ESV—This stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all you give me, I will give a full tenth to you.”

Malachi 3:8-10 ESV—Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, your whole nation. Therefore, bring the full tithe into the storehouse so there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing until there is no more need.

Numbers 18:21 ESV—”To the Levites, I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting,

Genesis 28:20-22 ESV—Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all you give me, I will give a full tenth to you.”

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 ESV—”You shall tithe all the yield of your seed from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. …

Numbers 18:26 ESV—”Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.

Deuteronomy 14:22 ESV states, “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed from the field year by year.

Genesis 14:20 ESV—And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Genesis 14:18-20 ESV—Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought bread and wine. (He was a priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV—”At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Leviticus 27:30-33 ESV—”Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithes, he shall add a fifth. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal that passes under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, nor shall he make a substitute for it; if he does, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”

Deuteronomy 12:5-6 ESV—But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. So there you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock.

Proverbs 11:25 ESV—Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Malachi 3:8 ESV—Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.

Malachi 3:1-18 ESV—”Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then, the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the old days and former years. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. …

Nehemiah 12:44 ESV—On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered.

2 Chronicles 31:4-5 ESV—He commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. Therefore, as soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all the field produce. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.

Amos 4:4-5 ESV—”Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim free offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.

Leviticus 27:30-34 ESV—”Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithes, he shall add a fifth. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal that passes under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, nor shall he make a substitute for it; if he does, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.” These are the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.

Numbers 18:21-24 ESV—”To the Levites, I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, so that the people of Israel do not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall serve the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity. Therefore, it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; among the people of Israel, they shall have no inheritance. Therefore, for the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore, I have said that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”

Genesis 14:19-20 ESV—He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Job 41:11 ESV—Who has first told me I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Nehemiah 10:38 ESV—And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive the tithes. And the Levites shall bring the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.

Genesis 14:1-24 ESV—In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea). They had served Chedorlaomer for twelve years but rebelled in the thirteenth year. In the fourteenth year, Chedorlaomer and the kings defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-Kiryat Haim, …

James 1:27 ESV—Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Deuteronomy 14:23 ESV—And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.

Deuteronomy 12:17 ESV—You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or your wine or your oil, or the firstborn of your herd or your flock, or any of the vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings or the contribution that you present,

Deuteronomy 12:1-32 ESV—”These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains, hills, and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars, dash their pillars in pieces, and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. But you shall seek the place the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go…

2 Chronicles 31:5 ESV—As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all the field produce. They also brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.

2 Corinthians 8:2 ESV—For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

Malachi 3:10-12 ESV—Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

Deuteronomy 26:12-15 ESV—”When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments or forgotten them. I have not eaten of the tithe while I was mourning, removed any of it while I was unclean, or offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me. Therefore, look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

Deuteronomy 12:11 ESV—Then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord.

Numbers 18:24 ESV—For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore, I have said that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”

Nehemiah 10:35-37 ESV—We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks; and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.

Numbers 18:28 ESV—So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it, you shall give the Lord’s contribution to Aaron, the priest.

Leviticus 27:32 ESV—And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal that passes under the herdsman’s staff shall be holy to the Lord.

Revelation 1:1-20 ESV—The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the things that must soon occur. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood …

Nehemiah 13:10 ESV—I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so the Levites and the singers who did the work had fled each to his field.

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

Deuteronomy 14:1-29 ESV—You are the sons of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. “You shall not eat any abomination. You may eat these animals: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. …

Nehemiah 10:37 ESV—And to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.

Deuteronomy 14:24 ESV—And if the way is too long for you so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there,

Nehemiah 13:5 ESV—Prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.

Deuteronomy 14:28 ESV—”At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns.

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