Deuteronomic tithe laws and their humanitarian implications for Africa

Ajah, Miracle (2018)

CITATION: Ajah, M. 2018. Deuteronomic tithe laws and their humanitarian implications for Africa. Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 4(2):335-358, doi:10.17570/stj.2018.v4n2.a16.

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There has been no univocal position among scholars on the compatibility of the different codes for tithing, the number of tithe laws in the Old Testament, and the possibility of applying the Old Testament datum to contemporary Christianity. Driver, Wellhausen and Weinfeld see the tithe provisions in Deuteronomy as in “serious and indeed irreconcilable conflict” with other provisions in the Pentateuch, while McConville and Averbeck show that they are compatible. Although, the issue of compatibility of the number of tithe laws in the Old Testament may still be controversial, however, the theological significance of tithing at different times and places remains the same. The different contexts or traditions for the concept of tithing in the Old Testament, whether Priestly, Deuteronomic or Prophetic, present the greatest motivation for tithing as the worship of God. This paper re–examines selected verses from Deuteronomy 12, 14, and 26 that focus on theological themes such as covenant relationship, reverence for God, obedience and blessing, fellowship and welfare. It argues that a theological interpretation of tithe laws in Deuteronomy in the light of humanitarian understanding can facilitate a better administration of law and justice in Africa.

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