I (James) have been reading through the Bible from the beginning and have been really enjoying it so far. Recently, I was reading in Deuteronomy 14:22-27 and was surprised by something I had never noticed before.
The verses are talking about how the Israelites are supposed to tithe 10%. I guess I’ve always glossed over those verses: “… tithe 10% … sacrifice it to God … give to the priests…” However, in reading it this time, I noticed a small detail. This is my paraphrased version:
22-23. Tithe 10% of your crops and new herds, taking it to the place of worship.
24. If you have too much to take or the place of worship is too far away, you can sell it, put the money in a pouch, and take the money to the place of worship.
Now, this is the part I noticed. This is a direct quote from the NLT, Deut. 14:26.
When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want – cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the LORD your God and celebrate with your household. (underline and bold added for emphasis)
Huh? Wait a sec. What happened to “sacrifice it to God”? I re-read the passage and realised it says nothing of the kind. They are simply to bring their tithes to the place of worship, and proceed to PARTY in God’s presence, inviting the Levites to join in. Then, every third year, instead of partying, they are to give the tithe entirely to the Levites, as well as to any foreigners, orphans and widows.
Kinda puts a different spin on tithing, doesn’t it.