Canaan’s Three Tithes
by Ronald W Robey

God’s commanded tithes are all mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:22-29. There are three tithes total.

 
1. The first tithe was the Family Tithe. It was observed annually. The family was to travel to Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 6:5-6) with this tithe. If the distance was too far or if the tithe was too heavy, there was a chance of spoilage before reaching Jerusalem.
 
For this reason, God made allowances for the family to sell their tithes and to carry the money gained from the sale to Jerusalem instead. Once they arrive in Jerusalem they were to use the money to purchase food and drink (which represented their original tithe) and they were to eat the food and drink in the presence of God. Eating the tithe taught them to fear God.
 
Families who lived closer to Jerusalem carried their tithes to Jerusalem and ate their tithes in the presence of God.
 
Deuteronomy 14:22-26 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
 
2. The second tithe was the Levitic Tithe. The Levites were to receive their tithes the third year. (not annually, see Deuteronomy 14:27-29; 26:12) The Levitic Tithe originally belonged to God. (see Leviticus 27:30-33) However, God gave His tithe to the Levites as an inheritance since they received no land inheritance in the land of Canaan. (see Numbers 18:20-26)
 
Once the Levites received their tithe, they handed a tithe of the tithe to an Aaronic Priest, who lifted the tithe above his head for God to see. This tithe of the tithe represented the entirety of Israel’s total agricultural crop increase. (see Numbers 18:27-28)
 
A portion of the agricultural crops tithe that was given to the Levites could be redeemed (bought back) if one so chose to do. (see Leviticus 27:30-31) However, one would have to pay the Levite twenty percent above the value of the tithe in order to redeem it. The tithe from the flocks and herds could not be redeemed. (see Leviticus 27:32-33)
 
The Levitic Tithes were kept in the cities where the tithes were grown or bred, and the Levites were to travel to the cities to receive their tithes. As with the Family Tithe, the Levitic Tithe was to be eaten. Unlike the Family Tithe, the tithing family did not partake of the Levitic Tithe.
 
Deuteronomy 14:27-29 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
 
3. The third tithe was known as the Charity Tithe. The Charity Tithe, like the Levitic Tithe, was observed the third year. (not annually, see Deuteronomy 14:27-29; 26:12) The Charity Tithe was given to those who were considered to be the poor of Israel. This would include widows, orphans, and foreigners. Widows and Orphans were considered to be poor due to the husband and father, who was their provider, dying. The foreigners were considered poor due to their not owning land in Canaan. God had given Canaan to the children of Israel.
 
The Charity Tithe was kept in the cities where it was grown and the poor of Israel would travel to the cities to get a share of the tithes.
 
As with the Family Tithe, the Charity Tithe was to be eaten by the widows, orphans, and foreigners of Israel. Unlike the Family Tithe, the family giving the tithe did not partake of the Charity Tithe.
 
Deuteronomy 14:27-29 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
 
God commanded no other tithe in the Bible, and the command to tithe was not given to any other nation.
 
Psalm 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.