Abraham and Jacob knew that their substance, their success, and their defense all came from God. They were reliant upon God. This is the lesson that we, too, are learning and practicing as a way of life. The International Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 4, page 862, says, "Jacob's tithe that went to support God's house, as symbolized by the pillar, anticipated a major purpose of the tithe in later Israel, namely, the care of God's house."
The question continues to arise: Were God's laws in effect prior to the Exodus? The world considers the giving of the Ten Commandments'and the laws that followed'the first time God gave His laws to mankind.
Does this mean that God gave no instruction to Adam and Eve? What was God's purpose for mankind, for creating man? It was to reproduce Himself! Can we honestly believe that God would not take the time to instruct the first man and woman He created and placed on the earth for this grand purpose?
How did Abel know to sacrifice? How did he know what animals to sacrifice'unless he received instruction from God? Cain could not have been corrected for giving a wrong offering had he not been instructed as to what a right offering was. God is perfectly fair. How did Abraham or Jacob know to give ten percent? Why did they not give 2 ½ percent or five percent? Why did they not say, "Take whatever you want"? We see that God's laws had already been given to man. God had instructed those with whom He was working.
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Genesis 28:20: