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% Exod. xxxvi. 7.
people who were disposed with a willing heart to give. A famous example of this occurred at Sinai, at the making of the tabernacle, when the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering : of every man whose heart maketh him willing, ye shall take my offering,'
"1 the result of this appeal being that 1 Exod. XIV. I. the people had to be restrained from bringing, “ for the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much." %
We have frequent mention also, in the law, of vows and freewill offerings. It was directed that “ whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish a vow, or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it shall be perfect to be accepted.”: An imperfect bullock s Lev. xxii. 21. or lamb might be brought for a freewill offering, but not for a vow. Other directions concerning - ver. 23. vows and devoted things take up nearly the whole of the last chapter of Leviticus.
The general rule, seemingly, for voluntary giving at the festivals was this:
" Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles : and they shall not appear before the Lord empty : every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee.” 5
At the same time, concerning vows generally, the law enjoined :
“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God
5 Deut. xvi. 1617.
1 Deut. xxiii. 21.3.
will surely require it of thee: and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, a freewill offering, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.” 1
Another general rule, that might be practised every day and everywhere, was :
“If there be with thee a poor man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother : but thou shalt surely open thine hand unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. .. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this
thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy work, ? Deut. xv. 7-8, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.”
Such, then, were the tithes and offerings of the Mosaic law. In some cases the amount or proportion due was definitely stated; in others it was not stated with precision--as, for instance, with the second and third tithes it is not stated whether each tithe was to be a tenth of the whole or a tenth of the remainder after the previous tithe or tithes had been deducted. Hence, to reduce to figures what an Israelite was called upon annually to pay, and encouraged to give, is not easy, especially in relation to such matters as the firstlings and tithes of cattle, and his own firstborn son, to say nothing of the fruit of young trees for four years, as well as debts not enforced in the seventh year.
If, however, we may suppose the case of a man
whose entire income for a year consisted of a standing crop of 6,000 ephahs of wheat, this total would be reduced, probably, by his tithes and offerings, somewhat as follows:
STANDING CROP OF 6,000 EPHAHS.
Tithing the 6,000 = 60 Corners, gleanings, forgotten sheaves of 100 100
(Lev. xix. 9; Deut. xxiv. 19) 5,900 = 40 Firstfruits (Deut. xxvi. I-10) to 150 -,150 5,750 • 10 The Lord's Tithe (Lev. xxvii. 30)
o 600 - 575 5,175 = 10 The Festival Tithe (Deut. xiv. 22). } 600
517 4,658 • 30 The Poor's Tithe (Deut. xiv. 28) so 200 - 155 4,503 remainder.
To be deducted 1,650
Other Possible Deductions. A freewill offering at the Feast of Weeks (Deut. xvi. 10).
Animals in payment of vows or things devoted (Lev. xxvii. 9, 28).
Remission of debts in year of release.
From the foregoing it will be seen that if the standing crop amounts to 6,000 ephahs, or bushels, an estimated to must be left in the corners, or as gleanings, or forgotten sheaves, for the poor. Then, of the remaining 5,900 bushels, an estimated
do more is to be offered as firstfruits. From the 5,750 bushels left, the Lord's tithe for the Levites is to be taken, which reduces the ingathering to 5,175 bushels; and when from this the festival tithe is taken, it leaves to the owner 4,658 bushels. From this must be deducted gb (or a third of the triennial tithe), by which the net remainder is reduced to 4,503 bushels, or three-fourths of the original whole.
Out of this remainder, however, there might have to be provided the redemption for a firstborn son, or, once in seven years, the remission of debts; and from the same source, according to the owner's liberality, would come a freewill offering at the Feast of Weeks; and, on other occasions, animals for the payment of vows, or devoted things and thankofferings, generally.
So, then, on the principle of tithing the remainder, a liberal Israelite's outgoings would amount to, at least, a fourth of his income. On the other hand, if each item is charged upon the whole 6,000, then it will be seen that there would remain, after the payment of fixed claims, only 4,350. Added to this, the consumption of time for several weeks, for the observance of festivals, would be considerable ; and if 350 bushels more may be regarded as an equivalent for this loss, as well as for redemption of the firstborn, remitted debts, for vows and freewill offerings, then a man's outgoings would amount, on this principle, to a third of his entire harvest.
Perhaps, therefore, we are justified in supposing
that the Mosaic law required the Israelite to set apart, in some way or other connected with his religion, from one-fourth to a third of his income. Or, to put it in another away: a conscientious man, wishful to act up to his duty, might begin by setting apart a tenth of his income for the Lord's tithe. He would regard his firstborn and the firstlings of his cattle as belonging to the Lord. The fruit of young trees for three years he would not eat, and on the fourth year would set apart the fruit for God, whilst every seventh year he would not claim money from his debtors. At the time of every harvest he would leave for the poor the corners of his field, the gleanings and forgotten sheaves, as well as fallen fruit and overlooked olives and grapes.
He would then set aside a second tenth for expenses connected with going up to the sanctuary, taking with him a freewill offering at the Feast of Weeks, and possibly animals for payment of
vows, or thankofferings, or things devoted, in addition to his firstfruits. These firstfruits he would put in a basket, and, coming to the priest, would say to him : “I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the land which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.” 1
Upon this the priest would take the basket and set it down before the altar, and the offerer then would solemnly say before God ::
“A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous :
1 Deut. xxvi. 3.
% Deut. xxvi. 5.