tithe

No Second or Third Tithe!

tithing and God's word




2ND & 3RD TITHE VERSES


Failure to properly discern how this system functioned has caused some
scholars to incorrectly envisage the existence of second and third tithe
requirements. Such perspectives have arisen due to the following;


 2nd Tithe  -  Deut 14:22-26, 12:5-7,17-18; which discuss the
               eating of the tithe at the feast(s) every year.

 3rd Tithe  -  Deut 14:27-29, 26:12-14; which call for the
               feeding of the Levite, stranger, fatherless
               and widow; apparently every three years.
               Also Amos 4:4 is usually translated to
               confirm a tithe after 3 years. 


It should be noted that in Scripture there is no example of either
the so called 'second tithe' or the 'third tithe'!

Many have also pointed out that there exists a lack of lengthy
supportive texts detailing and justifying such tithes!

Obviously if these tithes truly existed they would have represented
a significant feature of the Law.


For these reasons some have correctly concluded there was only ever
the one first tithe system.

What has been missing is clear explanations of how the relevant
verses should be translated and understood.   


NO 2ND TITHE !


The view that a second tithe exists results from indications that a
tithe was eaten by the children of Israel during the 7th month feast.
This view has largely resulted from an incorrect translation of
Deut 14:22.

Most bibles read,
                   Deut  14:22  You shall surely tithe all the increase
                                of your grain that the field produces
                                year by year.
 
but should read,
                   Deut  14:22  Tithes you tithe all the increase
                                of your grain that the field produces
                                year by year. 


In the Hebrew the word 'tithe' is encountered twice at the very start
of this verse. In addition the Hebrew word for 'surely' is not found
in this verse.

The 'Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament' by JR Kohlenberger 
for example shows the initial portion of this verse to read,

NB: Read backwards, ie right to left!

tithe you tithe

Since in verseHebrew tithe means 'tithe' and Hebrew you means 'you', a literal
rendering provides;

    Deut  14:22  Tithe you tithe ....


What translators have failed to realize is that this verse has not
been trying to convey an emphatic statement. Hence the common rendering
'You shall truly tithe' has been very misleading.

This difference is very important! It means that this verse is not
being directed toward the lay people of Israel!

The text of Deut 14:22 is being directed toward one of the two groups
within Israel, which both received and paid tithes. Either the tribe
of Levi (excluding the Priesthood) or the Priesthood division, as
both received and paid tithes!


What has also led to much of the confusion is the subsequent text
of this verse 'your grain that the field produces year by year'.
At first one may feel that this text could only be referring to
the common people of Israel who grew the nation's crops.

However, this line of reasoning ignores the fact that Scripture
advises that once tithe is received and it is itself tithed upon,
the remaining 9/10th's is to be considered by that group as if it
was 'the produce of the field' and 'the produce of the winepress'.

    Num   18:30  Therefore you shall say to them: 'When you have
                 lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be
                 accounted to the Levites as the produce of the
                 threshing floor and as the produce of the
                 winepress.

The field for the 12 tribes of Israel was the literal field, but the
field for the tribe of Levi was 9/10th's of the provided tithe of the
12 tribes and the field for the Priesthood was 9/10th's of the provided
tithe of the tribe of Levi. 


So to whom is the following text of Deut 14:23-27 directed? Toward
the Levites or the Priests?

The answer can be found in verse 27.

    Deut  14:27  You shall not forsake the Levite who is
                 within your gates, for he has no part
                 nor inheritance with you.

Many have misunderstood this verse. While it is true all the tribes
of Israel received a significant inheritance of land except for the
Levites, this verse is not talking about this situation. What the
verse is discussing is that the Priesthood were not to forsake the
Levites who dwelt within the cities allocated to the Priesthood.

NB: The leaders of the Levites would have been primarily responsible
    for gradually sharing out the tithe of the children of Israel
    amongst their tribe (After Levi had themselves tithed upon the
    tithes they received). No doubt storing most of their received
    tithe in the Levite cities.
    However, for Levites living in cities of the Priesthood
    (who would have been actively assisting the Priesthood)
    the Priesthood had to extend support. As these Levites had
    'no inheritance', because they were present in the cities
    of the Priesthood and not living in the cities of Levi.

    [ NB: 1) Excluding Jerusalem, the priests were allocated
             13 cities in the Promised Land.
             From the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin.
             Refer Josh 21:4,8-19.
          2) The Levites, who were not priests, were allocated
             35 cities in the Promised Land.
             These cities were allocated from the remaining
             nine tribes; Ephraim, Dan, Manasseh, Issachar,
             Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun, Reuben and Gad.
             Refer Josh 21:5-7,20-40. ]
 

To help one understand the text of Deut 14:22-27 it is helpful to
understand the following.

    Neh   10:37  ... and to bring the tithes of our land to the
                 Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes
                 in all our farming communities.
            :38  And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be
                 with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes;
                 and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the
                 tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of
                 the storehouse.


In the outlying areas the Levites received the tithe in the presence
of a priest. And the 'Levites' (the Levites who were priests, with
the help of any assisting Levites) then brought a tenth of this tithe
(from the tribe of Levi) up to Jerusalem.

It was the priests living in the outlying
areas of Israel which took the tenth of
the tithe to Jerusalem. The 'tithe of
the tithe' was the responsibility of the
Priesthood!
Once the Priesthood had themselves tithed
they were to able to utilise the balance
at the feast of the 7th month. They were
permitted to convert some of it to cash if
otherwise unable to transport it to the
place where God had placed His name.

The text of Deuteronomy 14:22-27 is saying the following:

    Deut  14:22  Tithe you tithe, all the increase of your grain that
                 the field produces year by year.
            :23  And you (priests) shall eat before the LORD your God,
                 in the place where He chooses to make His name abide,
                 the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your
                 oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks,
                 that you (priests) may learn to fear the LORD your
                 God always.
            :24  But if the journey is too long for you (priests), so
                 that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the
                 place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name
                 is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed
                 you,
            :25  then you shall exchange it for money, take the money
                 in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD
                 your God chooses.
            :26  And you shall spend that money for whatever your
                 heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or
                 similar drink, for whatever your heart desires;
                 you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and
                 you shall rejoice, you and your household.
            :27  You (priests) shall not forsake the Levite who is
                 within your gates (cities), for he has no part nor
                 inheritance with you.


The text of Deuteronomy 12:17-18 is saying the following:

    Deut  12:17  You (priests) may not eat within your gates the tithe
                 of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the
                 firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your
                 offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings,
                 or of the heave offering of your hand.
            :18  But you must eat them before the LORD your God in the
                 place which the LORD your God chooses, you and your
                 son and your daughter, your male servant and your
                 female servant, and the Levite who is within your
                 gates (cities); and you shall rejoice before the LORD
                 your God in all to which you put your hands.

In reference to Deut 12:17, note what Numbers chapter 18 states was to
be given to the Priesthood.

    Num   18:8   And the LORD spoke to Aaron: "Here, I Myself have
                 also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the
                 holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given
                 them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance
                 forever.
            :12  All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine
                 and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to
                 the LORD, I have given them to you.
            :15  Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh,
                 which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast,
                 shall be yours; ...
            :19  All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the
                 children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to
                 you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance
                 forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the
                 LORD with you and your descendants with you."


A lack of proper discernment has caused many to falsely teach that the
children of Israel were required to set aside a second 10% of their
increase. 

The so called 'second tithe' verses were in reality advising how the
Priesthood were to handle the 'tithe of the tithe', which they received
from the Levites.


NO 3RD TITHE !


The so called 'third tithe' was to be directed toward the Levite,
stranger, fatherless and the widow. 

    Deut  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.
            :29  And the Levite , because he has no portion nor
                 inheritance with you, and the stranger  and
                 the fatherless  and the widow  who are within
                 your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied,
                 that the Lord your God may bless you in all
                 the work of your hand which you do.

    Deut  26:12  When you have finished laying aside all the
                 tithe of your increase in the third year,
                 which is the year of tithing, and have given
                 it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless,
                 and the widow, so that they may eat within
                 your gates and be filled.
            :13  then you shall say before the Lord God: 'I have
                 removed the holy tithe from my house, and also
                 have given them to the Levite, the stranger,
                 the fatherless, and the widow, ...


[ NB: The words in italics, ie 'every', 'which is', 'tithe' and 'my'
      have all been added by the translators. ]

These apparent references to a tithe given to the poor, every 'third
year', created a view that a 'third tithe' also existed. Although,
some have been of the opinion that this was merely a redirection of
either the first or 'second tithe'.


Such confusion has resulted from not understanding;

        1) the Priesthood also tithed.

   and  2) when the Priesthood tithed.

THE PRIESTHOOD ALSO TITHED

The New Testament highlights an Old Covenant requirement which is not
immediately apparent. The Priesthood also had to tithe!

    Matt  23:23  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
                 For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
                 and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:
                 justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to
                 have done, without leaving the others undone.


The New Testament also points out that the Priesthood was responsible
for showing care for widows.

    Matt  23:14  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
                 For you devour widows' houses, ...


An Old Testament example which shows that there was a further tithe
of the 'tithe of the tithe', ie a 1,000th of the plunder:

    Num   31:32  The booty remaining from the plunder,
                 which the men of war had taken, was
                 six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep,
            :33  seventy-two thousand cattle,
            :34  sixty-one thousand donkeys,
            :35  and thirty-two thousand persons in all, ...

            :37  and the Lord's tribute of the sheep was
                 six hundred and seventy-five.
            :38  The cattle ... of which the Lord's tribute was
                 seventy-two.
            :39  The donkeys ... of which the Lord's tribute was
                 sixty-one.
            :40  The persons ... of which the Lord's tribute was
                 thirty-two persons.
            :41  So Moses gave the tribute which was the Lord's
                 heave offering to Eleazar the priest, as the LORD
                 commanded Moses.

Notice the Lord's heave offering of 675 sheep, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys
and 32 people represented exactly a 1,000th of the remaining plunder,
which had been, 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and
32,000 people. 

[ NB: The Numbers chapter 31 text is rather confusing, but it
      illustrates that after the men of war had taken spoil
      for themselves (Num 31:53) there was the recorded quantity
      of animals and woman. From this 100th (a 50th of half)
      was given to the Priesthood (Levites who kept charge
      of the Tabernacle). In addition 1,000th (a 500th of half)
      was given to Eleazar the priest to be a heave offering
      to the Lord. ]
 

WHEN THE PRIESTHOOD TITHED

The translations of the texts Deuteronomy 14:28 and 26:12 indicate that
the so called 'third tithe' occurred every third year.
  
    Deut  14:28  At the end of every third year you
                 shall bring out the tithe of your
                 produce in year that, and store it
                 up within your gates.

          26:12  When you have finished laying aside all
                 the tithe of your increase in the year
                 the third year, which is the year of
                 tithing, and have given it to the Levite,
                 the stranger, the fatherless, and the
                 widow, ... 


Tithing took place every year, so it makes no sense to try and define
a new tithe (which was to be given every third year) and then say,
'only every third year was to be known as a year of tithing'. Quite
clearly every year was a year of tithing!

Unfortunately translators have been unable to properly translate these
texts because they themselves have failed to grasp what was actually
being stated. 

What we have noticed so far is that the 'third tithe' was to be given
to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow.
We also know the priesthood tithed. Also, that their tithe was known
as the 'Lord's heave offering'.  

By what time of the year had all the tithe been laid in heaps.

    2Chr  31:6   ... also the tithe of holy things which were
                 consecrated to the LORD their God they laid in
                 heaps.
            :7   In the third month they began laying them in heaps,
                 and they finished in the seventh month.

The laying in heaps of the tithe finished in the seventh month.

[ NB: The Old Covenant established three annual feasts.
      The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest
      and the Feast of Ingathering. Refer Exodus 23:14-16.
      (NB: These feasts were also known by other names.)
      In a normal 12 month year these were celebrated in
      the 1st, 3rd and 7th months respectively. ]


What this meant was that at the 3rd feast all the priesthood tithe
had been accumulated. The 3rd feast was the time of the year when
tithing for the year was completed. 

The apparent 'third year' references in Deut 14:28 and 26:12 were
actually referring to the third and final festival of the year!

It was at the time of the third feast that the priesthood was
to declare the following;

    Deut  26:13  then you shall say before the Lord God:
                 'I have removed the holy tithe from my house,
                 and also have given them to the Levite, the
                 stranger, the fatherless, and the widow,
                 according to all Your commandments which You
                 have commanded me, I have not transgressed
                 Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.
            :14  I have not eaten any of it when in mourning,
                 nor have I removed any of it for any unclean
                 use, nor given of it for the dead. I have
                 obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and
                 have done according to all that You have
                 commanded me.'

The priesthood were a privileged group and it is clear that God was
seeking through the requirement for this declaration to ensure they
fulfilled their obligation to Him and gave all the Lord's holy heave
offering to those for whom He intended to be the beneficiaries. 


So let us now take another look at Deuteronomy 14:28 and 26:12.

Hebrew reads,
           Deut  14:28  Extremity three years shall bring forth
                        all the tithe of your produce in year that,
                        and lay it up within your gates.


Meaning is,
           Deut  14:28  Extremity three, two shall bring forth
                        all the tithe of your produce in year that,
                        and lay it up within your gates.
 
In this verse the particular combination of Hebrew letters translated
'years' can also be translated 'two'. The choice being determined
by context.

    [ NB: The Hebrew is . As the received Hebrew is
          comprised only of Hebrew consonants (no vowels)
          there is ambiguity over exactly what word is
          intended. The addition of different vowels can
          mean that  can be rendered as 'two', 'years'
          or even 'teeth'. ]  
  
The verse is saying that at the end of three, ie the third festival,
two people would be responsible for distributing the contents of
the storehouse out to the other cities of the priests.
 
[ NB: In Scripture we find confirmation that indeed two people
      were to be responsible for the distribution of this wealth.
 
       Neh   13:13  And I appointed as treasurers over the
                    storehouse Shelemiah the priest and
                    Zadock the scribe, ... ]

At the end of the third festival the priesthood tithe was to be
distributed to the cities of the priests where it would be available
to be gradually shared out to the poor during the months before the
next third feast.      


Hebrew reads,
              Deut  26:12  When you have finished laying aside all
                           the tenth of your increase in the year
                           the third, year of tithing, and have
                           given it to the Levite, the stranger,
                           the fatherless, and the widow ...

Meaning is,
              Deut  26:12  When you have finished laying aside all
                           the tenth of your increase in the year,
                           the third, the time of the year of
                           tithing, and have given it to the Levite,
                           the stranger, the fatherless, and the
                           widow ...

This verse appears immediately before the requirement for the
priesthood to declare the Lord's heave offering had been given
to the Levite, stranger, fatherless and widow. During the course
of the previous year, after the distribution to the cities of the
priests, the tithe must have been fully given to the Levite,
stranger, fatherless and widow.

AMOS 4:4

There is also a third verse which typically is thought to refer to
a third year tithe,
 
    Amos   4:4   ... Bring your sacrifices every morning,
                 your tithes every three years.
                 (quoted from NIV)

The relevant Hebrew actually says,

    Amos   4:4   ... and bring for morning sacrifices of you,
                 for three days tithes of you.


So Amos 4:4 appears to be stating that the priest's tithe was to be
brought into the storehouse upon three particular days. 

CONCLUSION


The verses discussing the so called 'second' and 'third' tithes have
been poorly understood. Translators have not taken the time to fully
consider the message of these verses and have perhaps been too willing
to simply mirror existing questionable Jewish notions.

This study has shown that rather than introducing further tithing
requirements these verses have actually been highlighting further
facets of the well documented 'first' tithe system. Particularly
the guidelines, rules and responsibilities Scripture places on the
Priesthood.




Introduction
Tithing
Tithe
Tithing
in the New
Testament
Prophetic
Teaching on
Tithing
New Testament
Spiritual
Tithe
Why the
Spiritual Tithe
is Necessary
Financing
the
Work
Tithing
in
Genesis
Old Covenant
- Tithing
System



Old Covenant
- A Tithe
of Animals?

SUMMARY



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