The Required Amount of the TÂRUMAH

When a person steals, restitution must be in full. The loss must be made good. The criminal must give back what was taken, or its equivalent. In today’s world, people go to jail as a means “paying one’s debt to society.” However, it is the exact opposite or the avoidance of proper biblical restitution. The principle of restitution is essential to the just resolution of the responsibility of criminals for their victims’ injuries. Return of victims by the guilty is the basic biblical principle, which dates back to ancient times.

Restitution is paid in full plus one fifth (Num. 5:7). A fifth is given as târumah to the priest if the party is not alive. Târumah is legally a fifth; this is why the fair man (in the three kinds of givers) pay 2%. This is what is just. Someone who is generous pays more (2.5%), while someone who is stingy pays less.

They must pay in full for what they did wrong. And they must add a fifth of the value to it. (Numbers 5:7b, emphasis added)

The 20% penalty is disciplinary, but it is neither excessive, greedy, nor destructive. Justice must be proportional and keep the emphasis on responsibility for restoration and, ultimately, reconciliation. In this way, the righteousness of God is served.


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Based on your giving, are you a fair, generous, or stingy person?

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