Was Jacob tithing?

Concerning Jacob the passage that is used to support that tithing is a principle that is applicable today is in Genesis 28. Just to give the background: Isaac sent away Jacob to go to Haran, the place where Laban the brother of Rebecca was living. On his way there, he stopped somewhere to sleep and he saw in a dream the Lord promising him to be with him, to give him the land on which he was sleeping, to multiply him abundantly and to bless all the peoples on earth through him and his offspring (Genesis 28:10-15). This was not an ordinary dream! Imagine how you would be after something like this. As a reaction to this Jacob did the following:


Genesis 28:20-22
“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."”


The key phrase here is “made a vow”. What is described here is not something that Jacob did obligatory nor something that he was doing regularly. In contrast, it is a vow, something that was done voluntary with an “if” in front of it. “If you do this Lord, I vow to give you the tenth of what you will give me”. Again it is obvious that this has nothing to do with modern day, regular and obligatory tithing.


Tassos Kioulachoglou






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