Sunday, April 26, 2020

Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of ALL?

"And he gave him a tithe of all."

This is what is said in Genesis 14:20, after Melchizedek blessed Abraham after Abraham's return from defeating the kings and rescuing his nephew lot, and bringing back the spoils of war.

Now, some people suggest that the tithe that Abraham gave was not only a tithe of the spoils of war, because it says, "and he gave him a tithe of ALL." The suggestion is made that Abraham also gave a tenth (tithe) of all his possessions to Melchizedek. This suggestion is then used to further the whole idea of tithing in today's church.

My friends, it's so easy to "suggest" such a thing. But it's also lazy to suggest such a thing! Why do I say that? Well, the entire account in Genesis 14 is only 24 verses long, and takes only a minute or two to read. The "rescue" and "tithe" part takes up about half of this. However, did you realize that the actual events that took place involved traveling hundreds of miles, and probably took many weeks, or possibly months?

The Genesis 14 account says that the original battle, where Lot and his family and goods were taken, was in the Valley of Siddim. Someone escaped and came and told Abraham about this. Abraham lived Mamre. He then gathered up his army of 318 men and went in pursuit to Dan, where he attacked and won the battle and brought back all the goods and people who had been taken, as well as the spoils of war. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Well did you know that it was approximately 200 miles from the Valley of Siddim to Dan? And from where Abraham lived (Mamre - 37 miles southwest of Salem), it was over 160 miles to Dan. So Abraham and his men go on this 160+ mile journey, successfully plan and execute an attack, and head back home.

The Genesis 14 account says that the king of Sodom met him in the Valley of Shaveh (near Salem, which is 126 miles south of Dan), and Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed Abraham. This is where and when Abraham "gave him a tithe of all."

So are we really going to suggest that after traveling almost 300 miles, over a period of several weeks, with a bunch of men and goods, and now the added spoils and people that were recovered, that Abraham first decided to go back home to Mamre (another 37 miles from Salem), gather up a tenth of everything he possessed, and then bring it all back 37 miles to Salem, along with all the spoils of war (remember, he gave almost all the other 90% of the spoils back to the king of Sodom), and then he gave Melchizedek "a tenth of all" of this????

Like I said, it's very easy to come up with things like this to try to justify our reasoning (of what we want the scriptures to say). But it just makes no sense whatsoever. We've been taught things, or we come up with ideas, and we want the scriptures to make our case... but the scriptures simply don't make those cases. So why would we, with any sense of integrity, keep on trying to make things fit that just don't fit?

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