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30 A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.Clearly this is not what it meant in the Old Testament, and I don't see anything in the New Testament to indicate that the term was redefined by Jesus or the Apostles.To clarify, I am not asking this is a good interpretation (or application, for that matter).Together, these amounted to certainly more than the fourth of the return which an agricultural population would have.And it is remarkable, that the Law seems to regard Israel as intended to be only an agricultural people—no contribution being provided for from trade or merchandise.
Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Thank you for your interest in this question.
wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. Thus if only the trees, but not the land in which they grew, belonged to a man, he would not give firstfruits.
If the distance of the offerer from Jerusalem was too great, the figs and grapes might be brought in a dried state. (The Temple - Its Ministry and Services as they were at the time of Christ, by Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), chap. 379) In the end, when all requirements were considered, the actual amount to be given was more than just the tithe, and would have been around 25% of the overall revenue of the community from the harvests that God caused to be enjoyed: per cent.; the firstlings of all animals, either in kind or money-value; five shekels for every first-born son, provided he were the first child of his mother, and free of blemish; and the half-shekel of the Temple-tribute.
If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed. The idea is that 10% must be set apart and given to the Lord, via the priest.
As this would have represented the sum total of wealth in those days, it is a fair transition to extend other forms of wealth. (My understanding is that in Jewish Law, ten men can form a synagogue.
32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord.