And all the tithe of the land
Of which there were various sorts, the first tithe, the tithe out of the tithe, the second tithe, and the poor's tithe, which are generally reduced to three,
``The first tenth part of all increase I gave to the sons of Aaron, who ministered at Jerusalem: another tenth part I sold away, and went, and spent it every year at Jerusalem:'' (Tobit 1:7)so Maimonides F16 says,
``after they had separated the first tithe every year, they separate the second tithe, as it is said ( Deuteronomy 14:22 Deuteronomy 14:23 ) ; and in the third year, and in the sixth, they separate the poor's tithe, instead of the second tithe:''so that, properly speaking, there were but two tithes, though commonly reckoned three; the tithes of all eatables were given to the Levites every year, and a tenth part of that given by the Levites to the priests, and the second tithe was eaten by the owners; instead of which, according to the above writer, in the third and sixth years it was given to the poor, and called theirs; of this second tithe, Jarchi interprets this law, and so does Maimonides F17:
[whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is]
is to be given to him as an acknowledgment of his being the proprietor of the land, and that all the increase of it is owing to his blessing, and therefore is given in way of gratitude to him: the former of these takes in all sorts of corn that is man's food, as wheat and barley; and the latter wine and oil, and all sorts of fruits that are eatable; for it is said to be a general rule, that whatever is for food, and is preserved (having an owner, and not being common), and grows up out of the earth, is bound to tithes F18:
[it is] holy unto the Lord;
the first tithe was eaten by the priests and Levites only, and the other before the Lord in Jerusalem only, and that by clean persons. Something of this kind obtained among the Heathens, it may be in imitation of this, particularly among the Grecians; Pisistratus F19 tells Solon, that everyone of the Athenians gave a tenth part of his inheritance, not to me, says he, who was their governor, but for public sacrifices, and the common good, and when engaged in war, to defray the charge of it; and so, by the oracle of Apollo, the Corcyraenans were directed to send to Olympia and Delphos the tenth part of the produce of their fields F20; and by the same oracle, the island of the Syphnians, in which was a golden mine, were ordered to bring the tenth of it to the same place F21. So the Pelasgi
F23 in a time of scarcity vowed the tithes of all their increase to the gods, and having obtained their wish, devoted the tenth of all their fruits and cattle to them.
F16 Hilchot Maaser Sheni, c. 1. sect. 1.
F17 Hilchot Maaser, c. 1. sect. 2.
F18 Misn. Masserot, c. 1. sect. 1.
F19 In Laert. Vit. Solon. p. 36.
F20 Pausan. Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 624.
F21 Ibid. p. 628.
F23 Dionys. Halicarnass. apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 4. p. 159.