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Malachi 3:10 NKJV

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

I'm interested in the word 'all' which tacitly seems to suggest that they did bring their tithes but not all of it.

Seeing that tithing was a complex process which was not a one off payment could there have some defaulting along the way

Was Malachi chiding them in not bringing the tithe all together or they brought part of it

Am I reading correctly the above text?

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The Law was that 1/10th of all land production in a year—grain, fruit, herds, and flocks—were to be devoted to God, as Leviticus 27:30-33 (cf. Deut 14:22) indicates (NKJV):

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD. 33 He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.’”

This was for the purpose of feeding the Levites, Numbers 18:21,

Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

Normally the tithe was to go to the Tabernacle/Temple (Deut 12:5-6), but every third year the tithe was to be stored within the gates of one's own area to service travelling Levites and others in need, per Deut 14:28-29 (cf. 26:12):

28 At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

In the Second Temple period, Nehemiah worked to restore this (Neh 10:35-38):

35 And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the LORD; 36 to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; 37 to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. 38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.

But when he was away for a time (Neh 13:6), the tithes were neglected (Neh 13:10-13):

10 I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field. 11 So I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their place. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouse Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren.

So there were serious issues during the early years of the Second Temple period in all the people bringing in all the tithes. Whether some people were fully tithing and some were not tithing at all, or some doing only part of a tithe, it is not clear. But what is clear is that all the tithes (the totality of the 1/10ths that were to have been given by all people of Israel) were not coming in again during Malachi's time. The use of "all" in the passage does indicate that some tithing was being done, but partial obedience (whether individually or corporately with only part of Israel obeying) was not obedience at all. So to get God's blessing in Mal 3:10, full—individual and corporate—obedience was needed.

  • +1. For a comprehensive coverage of the issue. If I understand you correctly then you are saying that two out of three years the tithes went to non-traveling levites. And the third year the traveling levites got to share the tithes with the foreigners, orphans, and widows in ones own city. – Constantthin Mar 8 at 11:27
  • @Constantthin No, the way I understand it, 2 of 3 years the tithes where set aside in the home location (City storage? Community [or personal?] storehouse?) rather than the Tabernacle/Temple, and those stores were used to feed travelling Levites passing through the area, as well as any of the other groups that are in the area that need such food assistance. – ScottS Mar 8 at 16:26
  • And the third year? – Constantthin Mar 8 at 22:25
  • @Constantthin Sorry, I misstated my comment. 1 of 3 years (every third) was set aside at the home location, the other 2 of 3 years was sent to the location of the sanctuary. – ScottS Mar 8 at 22:46
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The operative word in the Hebrew here is (from https://biblehub.com/malachi/3-10.htm )

enter image description here

Ellicott says,

(10) The emphasis is on the word "all."

The Pulpit commentary also notes this:

Verse 10. - All the tithes; the whole tithe - not merely a portion of it. God is not served with partial service.

The book of Malachi was written by the prophet of the same name to bring the straying and lax Jews back to consecrated service to God. His message can be summarised as follows:

  1. Mal 1:1-6 God's love unappreciated and unrequited
  2. Mal 1:7-2:17 The degenerate state of religious life
  3. Mal 3:1-15 Summons to judgement
  4. Mal 3:16-4:6 Preparation for the day of judgement

Section (3) above can be further classified as follows:

  • Mal 3:1-6 A warning of the day of judgement
  • Mal 3:7-12 An indictment for robbing God
  • Mal 3:13-15 An indictment for contempt of God

Thus, the message Malachi is that God requires complete devotion in all things, including money and resources. God is not satisfied with partial service and partial tithe. Matthew Henry comments:

3:7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform.

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Deu 14:22-29 Indicates that "All the tithe" refers to 100% of the third year's tithe.

Deu 14:22-29 also indicates that that third years tithe should be given to the Levites, the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows.

So it seems that it was that third of the total tithe that had been skimped on.

Deu 14:22-29 (NIV) Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

  • The Israelites would have to have practiced moderation during that "twice every three years'" vacation. It would have been detrimental to their health and spiritual life if they didn't. – Constantthin Feb 10 at 3:08

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