The Tithe Connection
by Ronald W Robey

Question: Why did God require a tithe (tenth) from the children of Israel?

Answer: God required a tithe because of Jacob’s vow in Genesis 28:20-22

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.

Jacob’s vow was in response to a dream/vision Jacob had in Luz, where Jacob had stopped for the night while on his way to Laban’s tent. The dream is recorded as follows:

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.

Jacob had promised to give God a tenth in response to the vow that God had promised to give to him and his descendants land. Leviticus 27:30 gives us a hint to the connection, when it says:

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.

The word “holy” means “set apart”. The tithe of the land had been set apart by the vow that Jacob had made to God in Luz more than three hundred years earlier.

The connection of Genesis 28:20-22 is further realized when one reads Deuteronomy 12:10-11, which states:

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:

The tithe that was set apart for God was only to be observed by citizens of the land of Canaan, and then only when they were not at war or in captivity.

The tenth was not chosen by God…it was chosen by Jacob. Had Jacob told God he would give the fifth to Him, God most likely would have not have even told the children of Israel that a tithe was required, since a fifth is not a tithe.