History Holds the Answer
by Ronald W Robey
(written March 24, 2018)

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

In modern religion, Pastors use Malachi 3:8-10 as a tool to guilt people into parting with ten percent of their household income. Many accuse their members of “robbing God” if they fail to comply with their demand for monetary tithes. Many others threaten their members with curses if they will not give tithes of their money.

If only people would think for themselves when they read the above verse. Malachi said, “Bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse”. But, what did he mean by “all the tithe”?

What tithe? was Malachi saying needed to be brought into the storehouse? Since Malachi 3:8 is the first place that Malachi mentions tithes, and he doesn’t tell the reader what the elements of the tithes are, it is necessary that we go backwards in the Old Testament Books and see if we can glean an answer to what Malachi meant by “all the tithes”.

The Book of Malachi was written in the year 430 BC. Since it does not tell us the elements of the tithes that the storehouse held, it is necessary we look back in Biblical History to see if we can learn what tithes had been stolen from the storehouse, and what tithes were to be returned.

The next passage we come to as we journey backwards in time is found in Nehemiah 13. The events of Nehemiah 13 took place just two years prior (432 BC) to the events found in Malachi 3. In Nehemiah 13, we read:

Nehemiah 13:5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.

When we read Nehemiah 13:5 in context, (beginning at verse 1, and reading through verse 12) we discover that the Priest Eliashib had removed the tithes and the holy things of the Temple Storehouse. He did this so that he could move an Ammonite named Tobiah into the Temple Storehouse.

Now, Ammonites were the enemies of God and God had decreed in His word that the Ammonites were forbidden to enter the Temple. But here was the Priest Eliashib, not just inviting God’s enemy into the Temple Storehouse…but moving him in, and moving the things that God had ordained to be there, out.

When Nehemiah found out about this, he went to the Temple, and as we would put it…he cleaned house! The Ammonite was put out of the Temple, and it was ordered that all the things that had been removed from the Temple Storehouse be brought back in…including the tithes that were normally stored in the Temple for the provision of the Levites and the  needy who came to the Temple.

Nehemiah 13:5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.

Nehemiah 13:12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.

At last! We have a biblical text that tells us the ingredients of the tithes that were stolen from the Temple Storehouse. The tithe consisted of agricultural products, specifically…corn, (the word “corn” was a generic word and referred to the seed of all types of grain; see “corn of wheat” in John 12:24) new wine, and oil.

Biblical History reveals that the “tithes” Malachi said had been stolen and needed to be returned were tithes of corn, (grain) new wine, and oil. It was not a monetary tithe stolen. Nor was it a monetary tithe that was to be returned. And the context of Malachi’s rebuke and admonition reveals that it was the Priests of the Temple that had stolen the tithes.

Malachi 3:7-12 cannot be used to teach a monetary tithe requirement.