Jacob’s Vow

by Ronald W Robey

Many pastors who teach that God requires a monetary tithe claim that Genesis 28:22 proves that Jacob tithed: Of course, when one cherry-picks verses for proof-text, one can prove just about anything to the minds and hearts of those who do not study to show themselves approved unto God as workmen who know how to rightly divide the Word of truth. Why, even the devil used Scripture to try to deceive our Lord when He was in the wilderness.

The fact is, Genesis 28:22 does not say Jacob tithed. It simply says he vowed to tithe.

But did Jacob really tithe everything; i.e., money, clothing, etc., as many pastors claim? There is not one Scripture in the entire Word of God that indicate such. As a matter of fact, when the above verse is read in its proper context, it is easy to see that Jacob was not promising to tithe money, clothing, etc..

Begin reading at verse 13. God tells Jacob in his dream that he is going to give something to Jacob. What did He promise?

Genesis 28:13-15 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this lI and; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

God promised land… not money… land.

And Jacob, upon waking from the dream told God he would give tithes of all that the Lord would give him… the context shows Jacob was referring to land. Sorry pastor, but you fail miserably at Bible interpretation in regards to Jacob’s vow to God in Genesis 28.

Genesis 28:20-22 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

What do we see once the Law is established? God commanding a tithe of what? the seed of the land, the fruit of the tree, every tenth animal that passed under the rod…. not money, but rather agricultural products.
And who was required to tithe of the agricultural products?

Leviticus 27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

One may say, wait, that is not Jacob, but Jacob’s descendants in Leviticus.

True, but the Bible calls the nation of Israel, Jacob.

Psalms 147:19-20 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

He gave his statutes to Jacob, to Israel. God’s establishing the tithe under the Mosaic Law was simply Him holding Israel to the vow their father Jacob had made more than 400 years prior at Beth-El.

God did not want that vow being fulfilled by just anyone. He wanted it to be fulfilled by Israel, Jacob’s descendants, according to the Scripture above.

He also did not want that tithe to be given in any other geographical location than in the land He had promised to Jacob and from that land since Jacob had promised to give a tenth of that land that God promised Jacob back to God. Deuteronomy 12 reveals that the Israelites were not to begin tithing until they crossed over Jordan and entered the land promised to their father Jacob.

Deuteronomy 12:1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.

Deuteronomy 12:10-11 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:

The tithe could not be money. God told them it was to be crops and livestock. They could not choose to tithe money, they had to tithe according to the Law… the seed of the land, the fruit of the tree, and every tenth animal to pass under the rod.

They had to give God the portion of land that their father Jacob had vowed to give back to God… the children of Israel would honor their father’s vow by tithing the agricultural produce that the land produced.

Leviticus 27:30-33 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.

Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

The monetary tithe is an offense to God. It is man attempting to keep the law his way, a way that seems right to him. Yet God says you shall not do what seems right in your own eyes.