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A tithe (/tð/; from Old English: teogoþa "tenth") is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government.[1] Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products. Several European countries operate a formal process linked to the tax system allowing some churches to assess tithes.

Traditional Jewish law and practice has included various forms of tithing since ancient times. Orthodox Jews commonly practice ma'aser kesafim (tithing 10% of their income to charity). In modern Israel, Jews continue to follow the laws of agricultural tithing, e.g., ma'aser rishon, terumat ma'aser, and ma'aser sheni.

With respect to Christianity, Jesus Christ taught the Jews that "tithing must be done in conjunction with a deep concern for justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23)".[2] Tithing was taught at early Christian ecumenical councils, including the Council of Tours in 567, as well as the Synod of Mâcon in 585, and remains an important doctrine in many Christian denominations, such as the Congregationalist Churches, Methodist Churches and Seventh-day Adventist Church.[2]

None of the extant extrabiblical laws of the Ancient Near East deal with tithing, although other secondary documents show that it was a widespread practice in the Ancient Near East.[3] William W. Hallo (1996[4]) recognises comparisons for Israel with its ancient Near Eastern environment, however, as regards tithes, comparisons with other ancient Near Eastern evidence is ambiguous,[5] and Ancient Near Eastern literature provides scant evidence for the practice of tithing and the collection of tithes.[6]

Listed below are some specific instances of the Mesopotamian tithe, taken from The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Vol. 4 "E" p. 369:[7]

Hebrew is a Semitic language, related to Akkadian, the lingua franca of that time.[8]

In Genesis 14:18–20, Abraham, after rescuing Lot, met with Melchizedek. After Melchizedek's blessing, Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he has obtained from battle:

"Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

This page was last edited on 5 July 2018, at 04:42 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithes under CC BY-SA license.

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