“Besides discovering that Tobiah
had improperly used a temple room, Nehemiah learned that the Levites and the singers had gone home because they had not been
given the tithes they were supposed to receive.”
COMMENT: This miserably fails to follow up the previous discussion and emphasize
that the high priest Eliahib had stolen the Levites’ share of the tithes from verse 5. This damming biblical evidence
is that the priests had stolen the tithes from the temole storeroom which belonged to the Levites. If this is the exact problem
of Malachi 3:8-10, then much more should be said.
Moses’ law required the Jews
to give a tithe to these leaders. (See Num. 18:21.”
COMMENT: Rather than point out that the Levites who received the whole tithe were
only servants to the ministers, it calls them “leaders.” The services performed by the Levites who received the
first tithes are not performed by pastors today. The reference should be to Numbers 18:21-24. What is NOT said is suspicious.
“For a while they followed through
on this promise (Neh. ; -47) but no longer.”
COMMENT: This cannot be proven from God’s Word. Nehemiah does not say that
the people themselves had stopped bringing tithes to the Levitical cities ().However, it does clearly say that the high priest had authorized removal of the Levites’
portion of the tithes from the room he gave to Tobiah. Why is this omitted? Notice that only the Levites had returned
to their farms and not the priests! Why? The priests still had food! The lesson shifts the blame from the priests to the people
of the nation.
“Nehemiah confronted the officials,
accusing them of neglecting God’s house.”
COMMENT: He did not confront the people. He chiefly confronted the priests. If
the people had failed to bring the tithe, then the officials had the power to forcibly collect it and that is not what happened.
Nehemiah placed the blame on the correct guilty parties.
“Then he gathered the Levites
and the singers and returned them to their work in the temple.”
COMMENT: Again, he did not need to gather the priests. Ask yourself, why? Again,
what is not said is suspicious.
“He likely assured them that
they would be supported in the future by the tithes.”
COMMENT: He likely assured them that the high priest would not be allowed to steal
their tithes in the future. They stole tithes from God in Malachi 1:14 and God cursed the priests in and 2:2. The "you" of Malachi 3:8-10 also refers to the priests from 3:1-5 who had stolen the tthes out fo the Levites'
“At Nehemiah’s prompting
the nation began to give a tithe, bringing it into the storehouse at the temple.”
COMMENT: The context demands that this was only an emergency re-supply and does
not contradict Nehemiah which commanded the tithes be brought to the Levitical cities where 98%
its recipients lived. When Hezekiah had made the mistake of telling the people to bring all of the tithes to Jerusalem there was no place to store it and he had to re-ship it back to the Levitical cites (2 Chron 31:1-19).
“The prophet Malachi addressed
a similar concern in his ministry in the post-exile era.”
COMMENT: Yes, but not the way you explain it. Since Malachi cannot be definitely dated, then it is possible that Malachi is addressing the
IDENTICAL concern as Nehemiah!Malachi is addressed to dishonest priests in 1:6
and 2:1. God cursed dishonest priest for stealing from Him from 1:6-14.
“He accused the people of robbing
God by not giving their tithes and offerings (Mal. 2:7, 8).”
COMMENT: Wrong all around. This is probably a typo and should be 3:7, 8. If 2:7,
8 is meant, then 2:1-10 is a curse on the priests (not the people) for breaking their unique covenant with Levi. If 3:7, 8
is meant, then the “you” of 3:8 is the same “you” which began in 1:6, which refers to the priests
and not the people. The “whole nation of you” in probably means
“whole nation of you priests,” “every priest in the nation.” That is consistent with the remainder
of the book and 3:1-5. The author of the lesson again has taken the blame off the priests and placed it upon the people.
“God still expects His people
to be good stewards of possessions, time and talents.”
COMMENT: Yes, but the covenant has changed, the Temple has changed, the priesthood has changed, the curses are gone and the Holy Spirit has given better principles of giving.
“Here Nehemiah was concerned
especially with the Jews’ failure to tithe.”
COMMENT: Wrong!Nehemiah was extremely
angry with the leadership and especially the priests for removing the Levites’ portion of the tithe and forcing them
to go back home for food. The blame was on the priests, not the people.The people
did what they were supposed to do.
“They had made a commitment to
tithe but were not following through.
This blame shift is NOT found in either Nehemiah or Malachi.
“Tithing is one way we practice
COMMENT: Where is this principle found in God’s Word? Do we bring it to the
Levitical cities? To the Levites? To the temple? Isn’t the NT temple inside the believer? Do we bring it to the priests?
Isn’t every believer a priest? Is the church the new storehouse? How can that be possible when church buildings did
not exist for several centuries after Christ died?
“Our tithes will support many
different programs and people.”
COMMENT: OT tithes only supported Levites who did almost everything EXCEPT minister
sacrifices. How does that concept work today? OT tithes were never used to support missionaries because God forbade Israel from sharing its covenant with other nations. How does that concept extend to the church today?
OT believers who brought tithes were not allowed to worship God directly under penalty to death. How does that concept carry
over to the church? Exactly where are the tithing principles which still apply?
“The tithe I give to my church,
for example, supports local ministries, helps pay the salaries of our staff, and contributes to the work of Southern Baptist
missionaries around the world.”
COMMENT: Keep on giving, but do not call it a tithe and do not place OT blessings
and curses in the context of much better Holy Spirit principles of giving. While you are at it, please read all of Malachi
and try to interpret God’s Word in its context.May God bless you.
Point #1: There are Four Different
Tithes Described in the Bible.
The first religious tithe, the tenth of food increase, was called the "Levitical tithe" and had two parts (Lev.
a) the whole first tithe was given to the Levites who were only servants
to the priests (Numb. 18:21-24; Neh. 10:37).
b)the servant-Levites gave the best one tenth of the whole tithe to the priest-Levites (Numb. -28; Neh. ).
(2) The second
religious tithe, called the "feast” or “festival” tithe," was eaten by worshipers in the streets of Jerusalem
during the three yearly holy assemblies (Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26).
(3) A third tithe, called the "poor tithe," was kept in the homes every third year to feed the poor (Deut.
, 29; 26:12, 13).
(4) Also, according to First Samuel 8:14-17, the ruler collected the first and best ten per cent for political
use. During Jesus’ time Rome collected the first ten per cent (10%) of most food and twenty per cent
(20%) of fruit crops as its spoils of war (1 Sam. -17).
Point #2: According to Nehemiah
the First Levitical Tithes Were Usually Taken to the Levitical Cities.
Neh 10:37And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough,
and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house
of our God; //and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the
same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.KJV
(1) The 48 Levitical cities are described in detail in three places in God’s Word: Joshua 20, 21; Numbers 35 and
1st Chronicles 6:48-80.
(2) That the Levites and priests did not live in Jerusalem is well documented
in God’s Word.Their cities are also mentioned in 2nd Chronicles 11:13-14;
31:15-19; Nehemiah 10:37; -29; and implied in Malachi 1:14.
(3)Since Levites received tithes in exchange for land inheritance rights, Levites and priests were not allowed to own
or inherit land. Instead they lived on provided pasture-land which surrounded the 48 Levitical cities. (Numb. 18:20-26; Deut.
; , 29; 18:1, 2; Josh. 13:14, 33; 14:3;
18:7; Ezek. 44:28).
#3: Since the Levites and Priests Were Too Numerous to Serve in the Temple at the Same Time, They Were Divided into 24 Courses, or Families
to Take Turns Serving in the Temple.
(1) 1st Chronicles 23 to26; David appointed
the 24 courses
23:338, 000 Levites over the age of 30
23:424, 000 worked in the Temple
23:46, 000 officers
and judges (politicians for the king)
23:54, 000guards at the doors of the Temple
23:54, 000 musicians
23:6-24[24,000] 24 courses, or families, of LeviteTemple workers
24: all24 courses, or families, of priests named
25: all[4,000] 24 courses, or families,
of Levite musicians
26: all[4,000] 24 courses, or families,
of Levite guards and porters
26:20-28treasurers of the Temple (guard, porter)
26:29-32[6,000] secular rulers and judges (outward business)
26:30, 32for God and the King!
(2) Kings David, Solomon, Joash, Hezekiah
and Josiah set up the 24 courses to rotate service in the Temple
1st Chronicles 28:13, 21
2nd Chronicles 8:14 Solomon appointed
the 24 courses
2 Chron 23:8 Jehoiada restored the
courses for king Joash
2 Chron 31:15-19 Hezekiah; tithes to
families inside their cities
2 Chron 35:4, 5, 10 Josiah restored
(3) Ezra 6:18 Ezra restored the courses
of Levites and priests
(4) Luke 1:5 Zechariah’s
course was taking its turn to serve
#4: Only about 2% of the Levites and Priests Served at the TempleMost of the Time.
(1) Because most of the Levites and
priests lived outside of Jerusalem
(2) Because only one course normally
served at the Temple at any one time (about 4%; 1 of 24)
(3) Because only older males served
in the Temple while the wives and younger children did not (2% maximum)
(4) Because most Levites and priests
lived on pasture-land in the Levitical cities either herding the tithed animals (10% of the nation’s herds; Lev 27:32)
or else learning trades to use in the Temple (1 Chron 23:4).
#5: The Levites who received the whole first tithe were only servants to the priests. Numbers 18 makes this very clear.
(1) In Numbers 3 the Levites built
and maintained the sanctuary tent before the Temple was built.They were carpenters, weavers, artisans and janitors.
(2) In 1st Chronicles 23 to 26 the
Levites who received the whole first tithe were the primary supervisors and builders of Solomon’s Temple. In addition to assisting the priests they also functioned as guards, musicians, singers, treasurers, judges and government
officials and rulers for the king.
Why, oh why, doesn't anybody read the
REST of Malachi for context???