- Is there more than one tithe mentioned in the Bible? (Deuteronomy 12:1, 5-17).
Deuteronomy 12:5 “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.”
- What were they to come there for?
Deuteronomy 12:6 “There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the first born of your herds and flocks.”
- This is addressed to the people by Moses on the east side of Jordan. He warned them to bring all these things up to headquarters.
Deuteronomy 12:7-8: V7 “And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
V8 You shall not at all do as we are doing here today – every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes –.”
- Instead of having altars and high places throughout the country, they were to have one central place and there they were to bring their burnt offerings, and other sacrifices, and tithes, and heave offerings, freewill offerings, and the firstlings. And it was there that the people were to eat before the Lord; not some other place. That is what Moses is emphasizing. Some have hastily concluded from this verse that the people were to eat the Levite’s inheritance. But it does not say this. Moses does not expressly tell what is to be eaten. It cannot mean everything mentioned in verse 6 – for burnt offerings were wholly burnt on the altar.
They were to bring “tithes” there. The word is plural – more than one.
Deuteronomy 12:11-12: V11 “Then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.
V12 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
V13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
V14 But in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.”
- Israel was to observe the annual festivals where God chose to put His name.
Deuteronomy 12:17-18: V17 “You 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.
V18 But you must eat them [Jewish translation in Magil’s Linear reads it, not 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; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all to which you put your hands.”
- These verses clearly forbid anyone to eat within his gates the tithe being discussed here.
- The Septuagint [the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, rendered into English] sheds a great deal of light on this. The Septuagint reads as follows:
Verse 17-18 – “Thou shall not eat in thy cities the additional tithe of thy corn, or thy wine, or of thy oil, or the first-born of thy herd or of thy flock…but before the Lord thy God thou shall eat it, in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose…”
- The Greek word rendered “tithe” is epidekaton which may mean “an additional tithe,” or “a tithe besides.” The Greek word dekaton which means “a tenth” is not used here.
- The “second tithe” or “an additional tithe” or “tithe besides” – is to be eaten by everybody [not just the Levite] only at the place where God places His name.
- It is plain that the Greek-speaking Jews who translated the book of Deuteronomy understood tithing clearly.
- Is Deuteronomy 12 the only place mentioning two tithes? (Deuteronomy 14:22-27 – also mentions what we commonly refer to as “second tithe.”)
Deuteronomy 14:22-27: V22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.
V23 And you 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 may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
- Here we see the second tithe is for our use. Why? So we might learn to properly stand in awe of, revere, respect and worship our Creator at His festivals!
V24 But if the journey is too long for you, 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,
V25 Then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.
V26 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.
- These verses show us what we are to spend this tithe – for transportation (getting to and from the feast site), lodging, food, and drink, and for our entertainment and pleasure during these days.
- Verse 26 – also makes it plain that we are to REJOICE before God at these festivals!
V27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.”
- If there were only one tithe mentioned in all the Bible, that would mean that God gives man the right to spend the Levite’s inheritance, which is holy to the Lord, for the purchasing of food, wine and strong drink. Clearly there are two different tithes under consideration. The only stipulation God puts on this additional or “second tithe” is the place and time where you use it.
- The second tithe is a fantastic blessing provided for by a thoughtful and All-Wise Creator.