#214. Who were the beneficiaries of the tithes: the Aaronid priests alone OR the Levites OR the people? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Num 18:21-24 vs Deut 14:22-27)
#215. What was tithed: all the produce of the land and the animals OR only the produce of the land? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Deut 14:23)
#216. Is one-fifth of the value to be added to tithes redeemed by money OR not? (Lev 27:31 vs Deut 14:24-25)

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There are 3 Pentateuchal laws concerning the annual mandatory tithe—Leviticus 27:30-33 (H), Numbers 18:21-30 (P), and Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (D)—all of which were written by different authors or priestly guilds, and evidence contradictory views on what is tithed and to whom the tithe belongs.

The earliest of these tithe laws is probably the Deuteronomic law. It is also the most radical of the three. In general, the authors of Deuteronomy de-emphasized the sacrificial cult and its priesthood and emphasized its more secular concerns. Thus, and in accord with Josiah’s centralization of the cult at Jerusalem (see #117), the book of Deuteronomy stipulates that the Israelites were to bring their tithes to Yahweh in Jerusalem but that they themselves were to consume them, or a part of them, in front of Yahweh.

“And you shall eat the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil and the firstborn of your herd and your flock in front of Yahweh, your god, in the place that he will choose to tent his name.” (Deut 14:23)

In other words the tithes were the property of the people. But that’s not all. The Israelites were also ordered to share their tithes with the Levities of the land since they had no portion nor legacy in the land (Deut 14:27). In sum, then, the Deuteronomic tithes only entailed the produce of the land and belonged to the Israelites themselves, land owning farmers, and were shared with the Levites, whom the Israelites took care of.

Although not explicit in Leviticus 27:30-33, the tithes, which now include all the produce of the land and of the flock and herd, like the donation offerings of Leviticus 27, all belong to Yahweh—that is the Aaronid priesthood alone. This is further supported by looking at the tithe law in Numbers 18:21-30, which declares, in contradiction to the Leviticus passage, that all tithes belong to the Levites—“And to the children of Levi, here, I’ve given every tithe in Israel as a legacy” (Num 18:21)—and that a tenth of this tithe belongs to Yahweh, i.e., the Aaronid priests (vv. 27-28). That is to say, while in Leviticus 27 the tithes belong to the priests alone, Numbers 18 mandates that they are the Levites, but the Levites  must then supply the Aaronid priests with a tenth, the best tenth, of their tithe!

A further minor contradiction exists between the requirement of an additional one-fifth for all redeemed tithes in the Priestly literature, and the lack of that requirement for redeemed tithes in the Deuteronomic corpus.

I believe that ends our contradictions for the book of Leviticus. Sorry for my sparse postings as of late.

2 thoughts on “#214. Who were the beneficiaries of the tithes: the Aaronid priests alone OR the Levites OR the people? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Num 18:21-24 vs Deut 14:22-27)
#215. What was tithed: all the produce of the land and the animals OR only the produce of the land? (Lev 27:30-33 vs Deut 14:23)
#216. Is one-fifth of the value to be added to tithes redeemed by money OR not? (Lev 27:31 vs Deut 14:24-25)

  1. Thanks Steven,
    I guess the the book of Leviticus was for the mostly written for the Levites and some others.
    Thanks again,
    Rudy T

    1. Rudy, I’m shocked. Have you been reading any of these posts?!! lol. The very fact that this Hebrew scroll was labeled in its 3rd c. BCE Greek translation as “Leviticus” was a reckless error, stemming from ignorance, on the part of these translators. It is one of the great misnomers, as well as Deuteronomy—“literally, the second law”—by these same bunch of hucksters. In fact, in all of the book of Leviticus, the Levites are mentioned only 1 time! It is properly a manual for the Aaronid priests. A better name would have been: Aaron and his sons, or Aaronids tout court.

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