According to the Mosaic Law in the book of Numbers it seems the Levites were the ones who were ordained to collect the Tithes.

Numbers 18:21 NIV

21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.

Numbers 18:24 NIV

24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

But the letter to the Hebrews it seems to allude to the Priesthood as ones ordained to collect tithes from the people

Hebrews 7:5 NIV

Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham.

Who collected Tithes from the people?

2 Answers 2


What you have to remember is that while all priests were Levites, not all Levites were priests. Only those Levites who were of the family of Aaron were priests. All other descendants of Levi were called Levites of which there were three families - the Kohathites, Gershonites, and the Merarites. It is true that the priests collected tithes from the people but they did so only through the Levites. All tithes were bought to the Levites by the people and the Levites in turn presented the tithes to the priests. See Deuteronomy 26.

  • Did the Levite’s give all the tithe collected to the Priests, or only a part of it? Jan 31, 2020 at 3:09
  • They gave all the tithes to the priests except for every third year when all the tithes were set apart at the local levels and divided among the Levites, the poor, the orphans, and the stranger.
    – oldhermit
    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:56
  • Did all Israelites set apart tithes locally on the same third year? Or did they operate according to some kind of roster? I mean, wouldn't a roster system make sense, because otherwise the priests would get nothing every three years? Jan 31, 2020 at 14:38
  • After the presentation of the first fruit harvest to the priests, the Levites were to receive a tithe of the second harvest. This was how the Levites were supported. Unlike the previous tithe which was eaten by the giver and his household in the company of the Levites, this tithe was to be invested into their own communities. This served as the community welfare system to feed the Levites, the widows, the orphans, and the stranger who may have been in need. Bear in mind, this was after the first fruit harvest was given to the priests.
    – oldhermit
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:18

The paradox can be resolved by the terms collect and receive.

In terms of the law, the priests collected tithes from the people. After that, all Levites received the tithes.

In terms of procedure, the Levites handled the physical tithes from the people.

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