Why an Agricultural Tithe
by Ronald W Robey

Question: Why did God require a tithe of the agricultural increase from the gardens, stalls, and folds of the children of Israel.

Answer: God’s commanded agricultural tithe is hinged upon a vow made by the Patriarch Jacob prior to the children of Israel moving into the Promised Land.

In Leviticus 27:30-33, we are told that God’s tithe is

a) holy
b) to come from agricultural crops
c) to come from agricultural flocks and herds

The word “holy” is not in the passage by mistake. It is there to denote that the agricultural tithe is “set apart” for God.

The tithe is “set apart” for God because of Jacob’s vow to God upon Jacob’s waking from a dream/vision in which he saw God at the top of a stairway and God spoke to him.

Genesis 28:11-15 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 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 land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

In the dream/vision, God promised to Jacob and his descendants:

a) the land on which Jacob slept.
b) children of great number
c) the families of the Earth would be blessed because of Jacob and his descendants
d) to be with Jacob wherever Jacob went
e) to keep Jacob safe wherever Jacob went
f) to bring Jacob back into the land that God had just promised to Jacob
g) to be with Jacob until all he promised Jacob came to pass.

Upon waking from his dream/vision, Jacob made a vow to God.

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 God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob vowed that, if God would

a) be with him
b) keep him in his travels
c) give him bread to eat
d) give him clothes to wear
e) see that Jacob returns to Isaac’s house in safety

Jacob would

a) make God his God
b) return a tenth of what God gave him.

God’s commanded tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33 was “set apart” because of the vow that Jacob made. Jacob vowed to give God a tenth of that which God would give him, e.g.; the land…. so God saw a tenth of the land that He had given to Jacob and his descendants as being set apart for Him.

The agricultural crops produced

a) grain
b) wine
c) oils.

The agricultural flocks and herds provided

a) sacrifices
b) scapegoats

All this had been promised to God by the Patriarch Jacob. God was simply requiring that portion that Jacob had vowed would be given to God.

Jacob’s vow is why the tithe of agricultural crops was required of the children of Israel when they moved into the land of Canaan.