Many teachers of the monetary tithe, when confronted with the fact that God’s tithe under the Mosaic Law was agricultural, will cite the account of Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek. This passage, in their minds, is an “Aha!, the Bible proves you wrong!” moment.

While it is true that Abram tithed prior to the Law, and that Abram’s tithe consisted of more than agricultural produce, it is also true that Abram promised God that he would not take any of the spoils to himself. This means they did not, at any time, become his property.

So, yes, Abram did tithe the property of others.

History records the tithing of war spoils both long before, during, and long after Abram’s life was over; and that the tithing of war spoils was a custom of the people of the country Abram came from,… Babylonia. So, not a surprise that he would tithe the war spoils to a king. It was a custom to do so. It is possible that Melchizedek went out to meet Abram for that very reason,… to receive the customary tithe of spoils of war.

Melchizedek must have been aware of Abram’s victory over the rebellious kings, for he brought refreshments with him to meet Abram. Surely, after traveling more than 150 miles from his home, battling, and defeating the wicked kings, Abram and his men were both weary, and famished.

In his conversation with Bera, king of Sodom, Abram did not say he had eaten any of the spoils, only that the men in his command had eaten some. Had Abram partook of any of the spoils, he would have broken his promise to God that he would not take any as his own.

So, again,… Abram tithed the property of others.

Under the Mosaic Law, tithes were to come from one’s own agricultural produce and livestock. However, Abram was not under the Mosaic Law. He was living in a land where kings were to receive war spoil tithes.

“And he gave him tithes of all…”. What did the author mean by all? Did Abram tithe any of his own property that day? Verse 16 holds the answer. Abram brought back the goods that had been stolen. Context shows that the “all” in verse 20 were the stolen “goods” mentioned in verse 16.

Given both the Biblical and Historical facts concerning Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek, it is impossible to use Genesis 14 as concrete proof that God’s people today should be tithing their monetary income to the Church.