Rightly Dividing Disputes Pastors Claim
by Ronald W Robey

Oft-times, when preaching on the topic of tithing, Pastors will use Jacob’s vow to give a tenth to God as “proof-text” that anything can be tithed to God… even your monetary wages. However, right division of the word of God will reveal that not all can be tithed to God.

Genesis 28:20 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,
Genesis 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
Genesis 28:22 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.

In Genesis 28:20-22, we find Jacob’s vow. Now, while on the surface it may appear that Jacob was vowing to tithe everything he ever attained in life to God, (and Pastors certainly want you to believe that is the case) we must read the passage in its proper context. To do so, we must begin earlier in the Chapter… we must start at verse 12 and read through to 22.

Genesis 28:12 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.
Genesis 28:13 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;
Genesis 28:14 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.
Genesis 28:15 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 verses 12-15, Jacob is asleep in the land of Luz, and dreams of a ladder stretching from Earth to Heaven. Angels are ascending and descending this ladder. From the very top of the ladder, the LORD God speaks to Jacob.

God promises to give to Jacob and his descendants the land on which Jacob was sleeping. Upon waking from his dream, Jacob make a vow to give to God “of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give thee the tenth.”

God promised land… Jacob’s response was to what God promised to give him… land. Jacob was not vowing to give a tenth of all that he acquired in life to God,… he was vowing to give a tenth of the land that God would give him back to God.

Can I prove this with Scripture? I certainly can… otherwise, I would not have written it.

What was the tithe command God gave under the Mosaic Law? Let me help…

Leviticus 27:30 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.

Notice that God said the tithe is “holy” unto the LORD. The word “holy” means, “set apart”. The tithe of the land is set apart for God. Jacob set the tithe of the land that God would give him apart for God. The tithe of the seed of the land and the fruit of the tree was the tithe of the land. Jacob vowed to give a tenth of the land that God had promised back to God.

Do you need further proof? I can supply it.

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 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;
Deuteronomy 12:11 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:

In Deuteronomy 12, we see the children of Israel preparing to enter the land that was promised to Jacob in the city of Luz three hundred fifty years earlier. God told the children of Israel that once they entered the land to live there, THEN they would be required to begin tithing in the place God would place His name.

God did not want tithes from outside the land of Canaan. The children of Israel were not to begin tithing until they were living in the land of Canaan. Why? Because tithes from outside the land had not been vowed to him. It was the land which God promised to Jacob that God wanted tithes from… the land of Canaan.

In Genesis 28:22, Jacob had vowed to give a tenth of the land back to God… In Leviticus 27:30, God was simply laying claim to that which Jacob had said would be Gods… the tenth of the land of Canaan.