Tithing, The Truth About Tithing And The Tithe
A Deep Study On Deuteronomy 26:12
Deuteronomy 26:12 reads:
When you finish tithing all your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages
Teachers of mandated tithing will quickly say, "There it is - it says to tithe all your income!" Not so fast. When you have a doctrinal bias it is hard to see the other side. Look at the verse again and you will see it is talking about something that will BE EATEN. "...that they may eat to their satisfaction..." There is also a reference to eating in Deuteronomy 26:14. Let's first do a comparison of different translations:
Wait a minute! 5 times the word is translated 'produce or crops', 2 times it is translated 'increase' and once 'income'. As you will see, 'increase' referred to produce or crops as well, so 7 out of 8 times is is translated as produce or crops. It is clear that translators incorporate their opinions when interpreting words while writing versions of the Bible. Here is the King James Version giving the Hebrew word number that has been translated as produce, crops, increase and income:
Ok, there is that word 'increase' again referring to produce or crops. Now we know the Hebrew number for that word is 08393. As you can see, different versions will use different words to interpret the Bible's original languages. Let's look that word up keeping in mind we are showing how the NET Bible interprets it:
In at least 32 out of 42 references, 75% of the time, the NET uses produce, crops or similar. Why they chose 'income' 4 times for the same word is anyone's guess but you will find similar situations in all Bible translations. Interpreters will superimpose their ideas into the text. We are all human and view the world with various 'lenses'.
Strong's defines the word as: "income, that is, produce (literally or figuratively): - fruit, gain, increase, revenue."
A Hebrew word study says this:
- A feminine noun indicating a crop, a harvest, an increase, a revenue.
- It indicates the produce or yield from the ground (Exo 23:10; Lev 19:25; Jos 5:12); and the fields (2 Ki 8:6; Eze 48:18).
- It indicates any increase or prosperity in general (Job 31:12; Pro 10:16; Pro 14:4).
- It describes the benefits or gains from wisdom (Pro 3:14; Pro 8:19).
- Even Israel's reaping of what she has sown is described as a harvest, an increase; but it is one she does not want to reap (Jer 12:13).
- It means harvest in a general sense (Gen 47:24), at the increase or at the harvest.
- The threshing floor and wine vats generated produce and products (Num 18:30).
- It refers to increase or income (Ecc 5:10 ).
- Every increase or income is from God."
And here are all 42 usages of the word in the King James Hebrew:
Defined as increase, 23 times
Lev 19:24-25 (2), Lev 25:7, Lev 25:12, Lev 25:20, Num 18:30 (2), Deu 14:22, Deu 14:28, Deu 16:15, Deu 26:12, 2 Ch 31:5, 2 Ch 32:28, Neh 9:37, Job 31:12, Psa 107:37, Pro 3:9, Pro 14:4, Pro 18:20, Ecc 5:10, Isa 30:23, Jer 2:3, Eze 48:18
Defined as fruit, 7 times
Lev 23:39, Lev 25:3, Lev 25:21-22 (2), Deu 22:9, Jos 5:12, Pro 10:16
Defined as fruits, 6 times
Exo 23:10, Lev 25:15-16 (2), Lev 25:22, Deu 33:14, 2 Ki 8:6
Defined as revenues, 3 times
Pro 15:6 (2), Pro 16:8, Jer 12:13
Defined as revenue, 2 times
Pro 8:19, Isa 23:3
Defined as gain, 1 times
It is important to note that when the word 'increase' is used it is referring to produce or crops. While the word could be used to refer to other things in a figurative sense (fruits of your labor, fruit of the spirit, reaping what you sow, bearing fruit etc.), at least 36 out of 42 times the King James was directly referring to produce or crops. So, let's summarize our deep study of the Hebrew word 08393 in Deuteronomy 26:12:
- In various Bible versions it was translated as produce or crops 7 out of 8 times.
- In the King James it is translated produce or crops at least 36 out of 42 times
- The NET Bible interprets it as produce or crops 75% of the time.
- Deuteronomy 26:12 refers to people EATING the 'increase' or 'produce'
- Deuteronomy 26:14, referring to the same produce or crops in verse 12, we see again, "I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning".
- Additionally the Concordant Literal, considered by many scholars to be closest to the original language, defines the word as HARVEST.
Note: I consider the NET Bible, used as a study tool with this tithing study, to be one of the best modern translation study bibles available for serious students of scripture. However, on the Hebrew word 08393 in Deuteronomy 26:12 and 3 other verses, they didn't interpret the word properly giving it a modern day term which clouds the original language and meaning.