Genesis - Abraham
Genesis - Jacob
The Levitical Tithe - Intro
Levitical Tithe - Background
The Levitical Tithe - Basics
The Levitical Tithe - Advanced
Malachi - Robbing God
The Other Tithes
Church History of Tithing
In the Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Chapter 14, we first find the subject of tithing. Many pastors use this text as an example to show that tithing existed as far back as Genesis and that it sets the standard for all time.
The Holy Bible, King James Version - Genesis 14:8-24:
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Notice in verse 20 "And he gave him tithes of all." First we must remember that the definition of tithes in Genesis is a mathematical term, and simply means a tenth. In fact, below I have verse 20 from two later versions of the bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible - Genesis 14:20:
20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The Holy Bible, New International Version - Genesis 14:20:
20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Notice that neither the RSV nor the NIV versions of the bible used the word tithes in verson 20.
Next, when the scripture says he gave tithes of all, or a tenth of everything, we have to look at what the scriptures are talking about. In this case, war spoils. We see this stated again in Hebrews 7:4.
The Holy Bible, King James Version - Hebrews 7:4:
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Notice that the KJV uses the word tenth instead of tithe in Hebrews 7:4.
Abraham gave to King Melchizedek ten percent of the war spoils. Note that he gave the rest to the King of Sodom. Abraham kept nothing for himself.
Abraham did NOT give ten percent of his income, or ten percent of all he owned. He gave ten percent of the war spoils that he, himself, said didn't belong to him. He gave nothing of his own.
The scripture does not tell us that Abraham was required to tithe, or give a tenth, of the war spoils. Whether a gift or not, Abraham said the goods didn't belong to him, and he kept nothing for himself.
There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this event has anything to do with the New Testament Church. It was a one-time event. There is no evidence in the scriptures to show that Abraham ever tithed before or after this event. Therefore, we believe it is wrong to use this example to show that tithing had been established before the law and therefore, was brought into the New Testament. Since Abraham gave nothing of his own, it is wrong to pull the concept of the tithe out of context and now apply it to one's own income or property.
Now let's continue to Jacob's Vow to Tithe by clicking here.