TITHING THE TENTH
TITHING THE TENTH
By Gene Benjamin II
All Scriptures used in this study are from the Hebraic Roots Bible (HRB, with some sacred Name changes by Gene), unless otherwise noted. Deuteronomy 14:22, “Tithing you shall tithe all the increase of your seed that the field yields year by year.” Deuteronomy 14:22, with definitions inserted into the text, “Tithing [asar: accumulating, Strong’s #6237] you shall tithe [take a tenth, #6237] [namely, Strong’s #853] all [the whole, Strong’s #3605] the increase [tebû’âh: gain, income, profit, produce, Strong’s #8393] of your seed [fruit, plant, Strong’s #2233] that the field [spread out, flat, Strong’s #7704] yields [brings out, Strong’s #3318] year [Strong’s #8141] by year [#8141].”
The phrase “without fail” in The Scriptures version must be interpreted to mean accumulate continuously, year by year, or perpetually, from generation to generation. The main root meaning of the word tithe (Strong’s #6237) in Deut. 14:22 means to accumulate. Accumulate what? a tenth of the believing producer’s gain, increase, profit. The word is used twice in verse 22, meaning tithe a tithe, or accumulate a tithe, or accumulate a tenth. Dr. Strong says that #6237 is identical to #6238, which means chiefly, or specifically, to grow (causatively make) rich. In other words, it’s the accumulation of tax-free capital gain that makes one financially rich in this world. It’s the financial principle that Israel, Britain, and America were built on. The long lost concept of FREE ENTERPRISE was a beautiful thing.
And here’s the kicker. The criminals at the Internal Revenue Service, and such like agencies in other nations, have deceived the people into believing that the lowly wage-earner receives a profit, or gain, that is then taxable. But a wage earner is not a producer, he is but a reimbursed slave, servant, or laborer. The company he works for is the taxable producer. A wage earner merely exchanges his time and energy for remuneration, usually in the form of worthless paper money. So in an even exchange of time and energy for money, there is zero profit, zero gain, zero increase. In fact, it costs the wage earner to transport himself to the job and costs to eat lunch and buy uniforms, etc. Wage earning is a losing proposition even before the worker punches the time clock. Then the civil government lies to you that your remuneration is taxable. It’s the ultimate deception and insult to the intelligence.
Back to the Scriptures at hand, why do we accumulate our tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23, “And you shall eat before YAHWEH your Mighty One in the place which He shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, the tithe [ma‘asar: Strong’s #4643, tenth part, payment of a tenth part] of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and of your flock; that you may learn to fear YAHWEH your Mighty One all your days.”
Yahweh wants us to accumulate a tenth part of our wealth in a tithing storage account/facility, that can then be used during the Feasts of Yahweh to celebrate those Feasts with Him and our fellow believers. Doing this helps us stay humble in recognizing Who is our Great Provider, acknowledging His sovereign providence in our lives. Also, we learn to fear, or reverence, Him Who needs no material goods from us. What Yahweh needs from us is worship, glorification, respect, honor, fellowship, relationship. His needs are spiritual, not material. Now, I must ask you, dear reader, does this teaching sound anything like what you hear in most churches of the world today? Accumulate your tithe, then consume 90% of your own tithe at a barbeque party with Yahweh? This is nothing like the prosperity teaching you hear preached today. We are to accumulate our tithe, so we will have the means to travel to wherever Yahweh chooses to dwell and where He wants to celebrate a Feast with us. We should have plenty of accumulated tithe for ourselves and more than enough to share with our fellow believers at the Feast! In this process, we learn that Yahweh does not need any material provision from us, but we are always in desperate need of Him and His provision.
Deuteronomy 14:24-27, “And if the way is too long for you, so that you cannot carry it [your accumulated tithe], because the place is too far from you which YAHWEH your Mighty One shall choose to set His name there, when YAHWEH your Mighty One shall bless you; 25Then you shall give [nathan: Strong’s #5414, to exchange] it [accumulated tithe]for silver, and bind up the silver in your hand. And you shall go to the place which YAHWEH your Mighty One shall choose. 26And you shall pay the silver [your converted tithe]for whatever your soul rightly desires [avah: Strong’s #183, lust, covet, wish for], for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for fermented drink, or for whatever your soul desires [sha‘al: Strong’s #7592, inquire, request, demand]. And you shall eat there before YAHWEH your Mighty One, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27And you shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no portion nor inheritance with you.”
Now here is something to get a hold of. Your biblical tithe is NOT money, but if you need to, because it’s too much to transport, you may convert your tithe into silver, which is real money. In today’s economy, most people have moved away from the agricultural lifestyle in rural communities, in which your income is received in food products. Today, most people are paid in paper or electronic money, so the conversion process has already been done for you. So, when you go to Jerusalem, or your local synagogue, or assembly, to celebrate one of Yahweh’s Feasts with your brethren, you then buy what you desire for the Feast, whatever it may be, as long as it is not immoral, unlawful (per Torah), or poisonous to consume, i.e. it should be Kosher. Notice that you don’t buy what the Priest or Levite wants, you buy what you want to consume. Verse 27 shows us that you are to also care for the Priests and Levites, that is what the tithe of your tithe is for, 1% of your net profit, or increase is for the Levites. You are only to consume 90% of your tithe on yourself, 10% of your tithe, or 1% of your increase, is to be consumed by the priesthood.
For example: You sow 10,000 bushels of seed and then harvest 100,000 bushels of grain. Your gross profit is then 90,000 bushels. But you also have harvesting expenses of say 20,000 bushels (labor, animal care and feeding, etc.), so your net profit, or INCREASE (#8393), is 70,000 bushels of grain this season. Your tithe on 70,000 bushels of grain is 7,000 bushels of grain, which you accumulate for the next Feasts, or convert to silver to take to the Feasts. The tithe of your tithe, then, is 700 bushels of grain for the Levites and priests, which is 1% of 70,000 bushels, which was your net profit, or increase, or capital gain (#8393). Let’s say you converted your 70,000 bushels of grain into 70,000 shekels of silver, so then you GIVE 700 shekels of silver to the Levites and priests, or 1% or your net profit, or increase (#8393).
Tithing then is the accumulating of your net profit, your increase, your gain. Notice that nowhere in these passages does Yahweh mention a civil government taxing your production or accumulated wealth! That’s why the greatest nations on earth started out without taxing the private individual’s efforts or accumulated wealth. This is how America became the greatest nation in human history, lots of production, tiny taxation. The founding fathers of America understood these principles of tithing from Torah Law. In other words, Yahweh taught Israelites to SAVE, so they would have the financial means to attend and observe Yahweh’s Feasts, when and where He placed His Name. The Mo‘edim, or Yahweh’s appointed times, are a time to rejoice before Him, and that takes a lot of good food and drink!!
Deuteronomy 14:28 “At the end of three years, even the same year, you shall bring forth all [kol: Strong’s #3605, the whole, the totality] the tithe [ma‘asar: #4643, tenth part] of your increase[#8393, gain, profit], and shall lay it up [nûach: Strong’s #5117, to rest, to settle] within your gates [sha‛ar: Strong’s #8179, the marketplace, or public meeting place inside the city]. 29And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the alien, and the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates shall come and shall eat and be satisfied; so that YAHWEH your Mighty One may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”
From these two verses we see the THIRD YEAR tithe, which is not transported to where Yahweh has placed His Name, but is kept inside the local village so the local poor and needy may have something to eat. The lesson here is that during the other two years, DO NOT CONSUME ALL YOUR TITHE, keep some back for the third year Feasts also!! In other words, accumulate tithes continuously, without fail, year by year, perpetually, so their will always be enough for you at the Feasts, for the Levites and Priests, and for the local needy people in your community!!
After studying the above eight short verses, let’s now look at Malachi 3 again and see if it makes more sense to our modern minds. Malachi 3:1-18, “Behold, I am sending My messenger, and He will clear the way before Me. And the Master whom you are seeking shall suddenly come to His sanctuary, even the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom You delight. Behold, He comes, says YAHWEH of Hosts. 2But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be standing when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. 3And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them like gold and like silver, that they may be presenters of a food offering in righteousness to YAHWEH. 4Then the food offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to YAHWEH, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5And I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against those swearing to a lie; and against those who extort from the hired laborer’s pay[remember the harvest season labor costs?]; and turning away the widow, and the fatherless, and the foreigner, and not fearing Me, says YAHWEH of Hosts. 6For I am YAHWEH, I do not change. Because of this, you sons of Jacob are not destroyed. 7From the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return [turn back, turn again] to Me, and I will return [turn back] to you, says YAHWEH of Hosts. But you say, In what shall we return?8Will a man rob the Divine Ones? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, In what have we robbed You? In the tithe [ma‘asar: tenth part]and the offering[terumah: Strong’s #8641, contributions, oblations, sacrificial offerings]! 9You are cursed with a curse, for the nation, all of it, you are robbing Me. 10Bring all the tithe[ma‘asar: tenth part] into the storehouse[bayith: Strong’s #1004, family house and otsar: Strong’s #214, cellar, treasure, armory. In other words, the storehouse is where you accumulate your tithe, specifically the family bank account, the family cellar, the family garage, or barn, NOT THE LOCAL CONGREGATION’S FACILITY/BANK ACCOUNT!!], so that there may be food in My house [bayith: Yahweh’s house, for the Feasts!! Hopefully, your local congregation’s facility will work for this also, where you can transport your tithe to for celebraton!]. And test [#974: prove, investigate] Me now with this, says YAHWEH of Hosts, whether I will not open the windows of the heavens for you and pour out a blessing until there is no sufficiency of room to store it. 11And I will rebuke the devourer [the eater] for you, and he shall not destroy the fruit of your ground against you; nor shall your vine miscarry against you in the field, says YAHWEH of Hosts. 12And all nations shall call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land, says YAHWEH of Hosts. 13Your words have been strong against Me, says YAHWEH. Yet you say, What have we spoken against you? 14You have said, It is vanity [desolating, evil, ruin] to serve the Divine Ones. And, What profit [betsa: Strong’s #1215, plunder, usually unjust gain] is it that we have kept His charge [watch, post, custody; figuratively: observance], and that we have walked as mourners [in sackcloth] before YAHWEH of Hosts?15And now we are calling the arrogant blessed. Not only are the doers of wickedness built up, they also test [#974, prove, investigate, tempt] the Mighty Ones, and escape. 16Then those fearing YAHWEH spoke together, each man to his neighbor. And YAHWEH gave attention and heard. And a Book of Remembrance was written before Him for those who feared YAHWEH, and for those esteeming His name. 17And they shall be Mine, says YAHWEH of Hosts, for the day that I will make up My treasure. And I will pity them as a man has pity on his son who serves him. 18Then you shall return [turn back, turn again] and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves the Mighty Ones and him who does not serve Him.”
Malachi 3 is a call to repentance. Let’s turn back to Yahweh and begin to follow Him and His ways once again, especially in tithing and offering! TREATING PEOPLE PROPERLY FINANCIALLY IS HOW WE LEARN TO FEAR YAHWEH (Mal. 3:5 above)! The word return, shub, or shuv, Strong’s #7725,is closely tied to tithing in Hebrew thought. How do we know this? Because one of the first times the word tithe is used in Scripture is in Genesis 28:22. Jacob was an early patriarchal tither. Why do you think Yahweh used the name Jacob in Malachi 3:6 above? Tithing is for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim and Judah. While Jacob slept he saw a vision from Yahweh and Yahweh made covenant with him. Then, Genesis 28:16-22, “And Jacob awakened from his sleep, and said, Surely YAHWEH is in this place, and I did not know. 17And he was afraid, and said, How fearful is this place! This is nothing except the house of Elohim, and this is the door to Heaven.
18And Jacob started up early in the morning and took the stone which he had placed at his head, and he placed it as a pillar; and he poured oil on the top of it. 19And he called the name of that place, Beit-El (The House of El). And yet the name of the city was at first Luz. 20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If Elohim is with me and keeps me in this way which I am going, and gives to me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
21and I return [#7725, turn back, turn again] in peace to the house of my father, then YAHWEH shall be my Mighty One, 22and this sandstone which I have placed as a memorial pillar shall become the house of Elohim; and all which You shall give to me, I will tithe the tenth [accumulate the tithe, just like it’s used in Deut. 14:22!!] to You.
Yahweh covenanted with Jacob and Jacob made a vow in response to Yahweh’s covenant. Yahweh holds Israelites to this vow to this day. Accumulating the tithe became part of the covenant in Genesis 28, and was reconfirmed in Deut. 14 by Moses. Repentance, tithing, blessing, and peace are all tightly interrelated concepts in the Hebrew lifestyle. Yahweh’s covenant kingdom is an all in one proposition. Get in on His goodness today. Accumulate your tithe and come celebrate the Fall Feasts with us this year!!
Tithing the tithe tests the condition of our heart and then can be used to test the condition of Yahweh’s heart. Will we repent of our arrogance and pride, humble ourselves before Yahweh our Maker, and take care of His people financially and celebrate His appointed times properly? This is a proper understanding of FEAR Yahweh. Life on earth is a test, one we must pass in order to enjoy the peace and blessing of Yahweh’s Kingdom.
Gene Benjamin II
July 12, 2013 CE