The word denotes a tenth part, given for the service of God. The first recorded instance is the payment made by Abraham to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:20; Heb. 7:4–10). See also Jacob’s vow (Gen. 28:22). The law enforced the payment and provided rules with regard to the use to which the tithe should be put. In Num. 18:21–28 it is directed that tithe be paid to the Levites, who in their turn give one-tenth of what they receive to the priests.
A clear exposition of the tithe is given in Mal. 3:8–18, in which it is shown that blessings from the payment of tithing are both temporal and spiritual, and failure to pay an honest tithe is a form of robbery. The importance of Malachi’s words is demonstrated by the fact that the Lord repeated them to the Nephites (see 3 Ne. 24).
Latter-day revelation emphasizes the law of the tithe as a duty and a test of faithfulness (D&C 64:23–25; 85:3; 97:11; 119). The honest payment of tithing sanctifies both the individual and the land on which he lives. See also Lev. 27:30–34; Deut. 12:5–18; 14:22–27; 2 Chr. 31:5–12; Neh. 10:38; 12:44; 13:12.