Beginning of the End


God’s Care for the Poor

In order to encourage the people to come together for religious service, as well as to provide for the poor, God required a second tithe of all the increase. Concerning the first tithe, the Lord declared, “I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel.” (Numbers 18:21). For two years they were to bring the second tithe to the place where the sanctuary was established. After presenting a thank offering to God and a part to the priest, the givers were to use the rest of the amount for a religious feast in which the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow should participate. BOE 266.1

Every third year this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor. This tithe would provide a fund for charity and hospitality. BOE 266.2

And more provisions were made for the poor. After recognizing God’s claims, the most noticeable part of the laws given by Moses is the generous, tender, and hospitable spirit that they show toward the poor. Although God had promised to bless His people, He declared that there would always be poor people in the land. Then, as now, people could experience difficult problems, sickness, and loss of property, yet as long as the Israelites followed God’s instruction, there were no beggars among them nor any who did not have enough food. BOE 266.3

The law of God gave the poor a right to a certain part of the earth’s produce. A hungry person was free to go to a neighbor’s field, orchard, or vineyard, to obtain food. BOE 266.4

Whatever was left after the harvest in fields, orchards, and vineyards belonged to the poor. “When you reap your harvest in your field,” said Moses, “and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. ... When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again. ... When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 24:19-22. Also see Leviticus 19:9, 10). BOE 266.5