In fact, because Abraham gave the tithe, it stands to reason that there was something that determined that he should do it and know what tithing would be. We can assume three facts:
Some biblical commentators DB5269 cite 1sa 8:17 as a demonstration that tithing could be given to the king, demarcating tithing as an ancient custom, in which it was given to the lord protector. In fact, if tithing were only given to deities, the text at 1sa 8:17 would determine that idolatry was taking place there, the point is that this order was coming from a prophet.
We have that tithes were found in the "Greek, Roman, Carthaginian and Arab" peoples DB5269 , which again we see that tithing was a characteristic that came before Abraham. The main logic is that Abraham copied this system from other peoples or from Ur of the Chaldeans. This also will not deny that God gave this order in very old times and that the peoples assimilated it. What we have is that by the dates and by the peoples this way of acting has not been adopted by the "Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs" DB5269 because of Abraham, but the opposite.
In that sense, tithing was a covenant, once established, the covenant was obliged to keep his covenant. In fact, we can see this covenant also in Gen 28:22 , and here Jacob defines the tithing covenant of everything he owned.
But for whom was tithing? In fact, there were no Levites in Abraham's day, nor in Jacob's time. Since the Levites are descendants of Levi, and Levi the son of Israel, which is the modification of Jacob's name, that is, Jacob was not even married when defined the tithe, and Abraham had not even had the son who would be the father of Jacob, so the two tithes would never be for any concept of Levite.
So what we have is that tithing was for the representative of God. In the case of Abraham it would be Melchizedek, but in the case of Jacob it was not mentioned in the Bible. In the Mosaic period, God's representatives were defined as Levites. In this case, tithing was directed to the Levites.
But tithes predate the separation of the Hebrews as a people. It is defined that the separation as a people is due to circumcision, it occurs in the verse Gen 17:10 , but the tithe appears previously in the verse Gen 14:20 , which refers to before the generation of the Hebrews as a people. Which determines that Abraham gave tithes because he was a servant of God, and not because he participated in the people of Israel.
But what was given? Gen 14:20 , defines the term "everything" in Hebrew over the number H3605, that term defines as "everything" in the direct sense. In divine rules, both the land and the people were not of human possession, but the objects and food grown were of human possession. Thus, "everything" referred to food and wealth. In Gen 28:22 again the term "everything" H3605 appears in relation to Jacob.
The monetary system at the time of Abraham or Jacob, involved metals, stones with sparkles and mainly animals. Even today people in the Middle East use such things as monetary value. Food and wealth were defined separately. In Gen 14:11 we have the H400 supply as food and the H7399 goods as wealth. And so the term "everything" defined in tithes involved such things.
In fact, we can note that Abraham tithed Melchizedek, and that Melchizedek gave bread and wine Gen 14:18 , which is somewhat doubtful that Abraham gave food as a tithe and received food. The pertinent idea is that the H3605 tube was linked to valuable objects, and unprocessed food. But under no circumstances can we create a logic that the "everything" H3605 here would be just maintenance. Even in the verse of Gen 28:22 , "everything" would not be a maintenance, since Jacob has been defining that his wealth was the animals he had obtained.
These accounts demonstrate that tithing is before there are Levites, and before there is circumcision for Israel. Defining that in the absence of the laws of the commandments contained in ordinances for the people of Israel, tithing was a covenant between God and the covenant. And that this was not just food, or just riches, they were made up of everything. And that what we define today as money, for patriarchs would be considered animals, metals or objects of value.
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tithing, Abraham, Jacob, patriarchs, Melchizedek, money, food