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Chapter 14:22-29 (ESV)

Posted on February 28, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 14:22-29 (ESV) - “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes 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 there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

“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.

Question to consider: Why do you think it was important for God’s people to gather and feast in the place of the tabernacle?

Part of Israel’s worship of God was in recognizing that all things come from Him and therefore a portion was set aside to be used according to God’s will. This portion or tithe (which means tenth) was practiced by the patriarchs before the giving of the Law. Abraham gave a tithe to the priest-king Melchizedek and Jacob vowed a tithe to God after witnessing the angels going up and down the ladder to heaven at the establishment of Bethel. This act of worship became a command of God in the Law and was defined in seven year cycles called the Shemitah (Sabbatical).

The Shemitah consisted of an annual tithe, a triennial tithe (every three years), and a seventh-year rest in which all fields were declared ownerless for the year which will be addressed in tomorrow’s study. The annual tithe was to be brought by each household to the place in which His name dwelt (YHWH) — the place where they would set up the tabernacle. Once the land was inhabited, the city of Jerusalem became that place, and the tabernacle would eventually be replaced by the temple.

For those whose land was a long distance from the place where they were to take their tithe, God allowed for them to trade their portion for money so the food and/or drink could be purchased at the place of the gathering. Since the Levites were not given land, they were to receive their portion from the people of their town, and when they brought this portion to the gathering, they would share a tithe of their portion with the priests who made sacrifices for the people in the tabernacle/temple. Essentially, the annual tithe was meant to gather all of God’s people to the place where He dwelt among them for a giant feast. Think of how wonderful it would have been for all tribes to be united in one gathering to worship the LORD who provided.

The triennial tithe would have been a portion in addition to that which was gathered for the feast. This portion was to remain within their own town in order to provide for the Levites who did not have a land inheritance as well as the sojourners and poor among the people. The sojourners and poor among them also had the ability to glean from the fields which we learned about in our study of Ruth. Gleaning was defined in Leviticus 19:9-10, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.” In addition to this, the triennial tithe allowed them to have their own portion that was set aside for them by the LORD.

Today, Christians try to equate church stewardship with the tithe. However, our giving to the church is meant to be the joyful outpouring of our gratitude for the grace which has been given to us, our love for those within the church who have dedicated their lives to serving us God’s word and good gifts, and a desire to see Christ’s church thrive for the spread of the gospel in the world. It is not an obligation to maintain our covenant with God or earn His favor. Christ Himself maintains our covenant with God and gives us His righteousness freely.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision to us and this beautiful picture of feasting, fellowship, and care for one another in worshiping You. Teach us to be joyful in generosity and give us a desire to see Your kingdom flourish in the world. May the churches that receive our offerings use them to the glory of Christ. Amen.