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Although we have learned that God’s established Tithe is edible, there were people that did bring Cash (plus a 5th part penalty) in place of their Tithe to God’s Temple.
Leviticus 27:31, “If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.”
The key word is ‘redeem’; which means to buy back; to pay the price. For example, we are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus. Galatians 3:13a, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…”
The Jewish farmers in the Promise Land could redeem (buy back) the tithes of their crops and cattle, with cash plus the added penalty of one fifth of the value.
In other words, if a farmer wishes to keep his tithe of grain worth $1,000, he can pay the cash amount of $1,200. [To get a fifth of the value you break the whole into five parts; therefore, a fifth of 1000 is 200.]
God and Moses did not want cash, but for those that insisted in keeping the tithe, they would do so at a cost to them of a fifth part added on to the monetary value of the tithe.
This being so, it is highly unlikely that any Israelite would want to bring cash to the Temple, no matter how rich of a man he was. It would truly cost a lot more for them to use cash as a tithe. Nevertheless, because we see it in God’s Word, chances are there were those that preferred to pay the penalty and they did so because cash was available to them.
This was a penalty for keeping the tithe and this also prevented many of the Israelites from substituting Cash for the Tithe!
This Scripture (Leviticus 27:31) would make no sense if the tithe had been cash or a form of currency. This Scripture also proves (yet again) that cash was available enough to have a cash-tithe if God had wanted it that way.
Why this penalty? Why would Moses allow for this cash penalty if God didn’t want the tithe to be cash?
Because the Israelites’ hearts were harden.
The same thing happened in the case of divorce. Moses allowed the divorce that God never wanted. Matthew 19:8, “Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.”
In the same way many modern hearts have become harden due to lack of faith in God’s Word.