Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 266

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

God’s Mercy to Poor People

Every seventh year special arrangements were made for the poor. At planting time, which followed the harvest, the people were not to sow; they were not to tend the vineyard in the spring; and they must not expect either

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