God said that “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. If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30-32).
Who got the money?
“I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting” (Numbers 18:21).
If the future is any indication (Malachi 3:8-10), God’s people had been negligent in tithing during the days of their straying from the Lord. Hezekiah’s reforms led to changed lives, which was seen most prominently in Israel’s giving to God. The giving was so great that the contributions lay in “heaps” on the ground and the recipients extended not just to the men performing temple service, but also to their wives and to their children.
The emphasis however is not on the amount that the Levites received, but on the amount God’s people gave. True spirituality cannot coexist in a stingy heart, and stinginess is best overcome by generosity. The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).