6 Things In The Old Testament About Tithe You Never Knew

The doctrine of tithing is a very popular Christian doctrine preached and taught in most Christian churches. The book of Malachi is the most popular book used in preaching about tithe. Many Christians justify the doctrine of tithe by saying, “it is a principle of God and it has existed long before the Mosaic Covenant”.

However, the Old Covenant is beyond the Mosaic Covenant, it also includes the Abrahamic Covenant. I talked more about this in my book The New Covenant. The truth remains that many Christians have never seen or heard a teaching on tithe that properly explain how tithe was practiced in the Old Testament. Before you can talk about how Tithing should be in the New Covenant you must understand what it is in the Old Covenant. Here are basic facts about tithe in the Old Testament, facts that are hardly mentioned in most Christian churches.

1) Tithe was meant to be taken out of God’s blessings: God blessed Abraham and out of that blessing he gave tithe. The second time tithe was mentioned in the Bible it was Jacob saying: “I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.” (Gen 28:22). The Israelite didn’t really tithe until they possess the promised land. The land flowing with milk and honey is the main blessing of the Mosaic Covenant. Tithing was meant to be put into practice when they entered the land and start reaping from it. They were to tithe out of blessings of God.

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.” (Lev 27:30).

They didn’t tithe so that God can bless them but they tithe because God had blessed them. They gave back to God what God had given them.

2) Tithe were meant to be eaten: Have you ever heard your pastor say, “do not eat your tithe.” Well, God commanded the people of Israel to eat their tithe;

“You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts. Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to.” (Deu 12:17-18).

Tithe were meant to be eaten in the temple. Tithe was meant to be used for a feast; eating and drinking before the Lord as a form of worship to God.

3) Money was not required for tithe: God never ask that money should be paid as tithe. Tithe were agricultural products. The only time money was mentioned was concerning those who cannot bring their tithe to the temple because of the distance. God ask them to sell their tithe, bring the money to Jerusalem and buy consumable goods that should be eaten in the feast at the temple;

“If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do this: Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship. Spend it on whatever you want—beef, lamb, wine, beer—and there, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families are to eat and enjoy yourselves.” (Deu 14:24-26).

4) The Israelite were to tithe specifically for the fruit of the land: God didn’t ask the Israelite to tithe from just any source of income. God specifically said;

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.” (Lev 27:30).

There were other trade in Israel, for example there was tent making (Paul was a tent maker), there were those who makes fabric, there were iron smiths and so one. These people didn’t tithe out of these occupation. Tithing was specifically from the land because according to God the land belongs to Him and they must reverence Him by tithing from it.

5) Tithe were offered yearly: Under the Mosaic law God commanded that tithe should be paid annually;

“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” (Deu 14:22).

Tithe were paid once each year. The system of tithing was organized yearly; the tithe of the first, second, fourth and fifth year were eaten by the people in the temple. The seventh year is the Sabbath year while the third and sixth year is the year of tithing when the tithe were to be given to the Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows. This brings us to the fifth on the list.

6) The Levites only received the tithe of every three years: The system of tithing was organized in a three-year circle. The Levites were entitled to the tithe of every three years;

“At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in your towns. This food is for the Levites, since they own no property, and for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. They are to come and get all they need. Do this, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.” (Deu 14:28-29).

This means that most of the tithe were eaten by the people, they were only commanded to give away the tithe of the third and sixth year. However, the tithe that were eaten were to be shared with the Levites. The Levites join in the feast since they don’t have agricultural product to tithe (the Levites were not allotted land to cultivate).


“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal 3:10).

This verse did not imply that tithe must be paid every month or from every income including gifts given to you by others. This verse does not also imply that tithe were to be given to the church. The “storehouse” mentioned in this verse was a place where the tithe are stored so that it can be distributed to not only the Levites but the poor, the orphans and the widows. Also it was not necessary to bring it to the storehouse, the system allows you to distribute the tithe to the poor yourself.

Please comment below and share your opinion. Do not forget to share this post if it blesses you.

To Learn Further Follow The Links

Christ Is Tithe

Tithing In The New Covenant

Tithe And Financial Prosperity

The Growing Tithe

First Fruit And Burnt Offering


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