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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Covenant of Salt

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sôlt ( בּרית מלח , berı̄th melaḥ ; ἅλας , hálas , classical Greek ἅλς , háls ): As salt was regarded as a necessary ingredient of the daily food, and so of all sacrifices offered to Yahweh (Leviticus 2:13 ), it became an easy step to the very close connection between salt and covenant-making. When men ate together they became friends. Compare the Arabic expression, "There is salt between us"; "He has eaten of my salt," which means partaking of hospitality which cemented friendship; compare "eat the salt of the palace" (Ezra 4:14 ). Covenants were generally confirmed by sacrificial meals and salt was always present. Since, too, salt is a preservative, it would easily become symbolic of an enduring covenant. So offerings to Yahweh were to be by a statute forever, "a covenant of salt for ever before Yahweh" (Numbers 18:19 ). David received his kingdom forever from Yahweh by a "covenant of salt" (2 Chronicles 13:5 ). In the light of these conceptions the remark of our Lord becomes the more significant: "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another" (Mark 9:50 ).


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Covenant of Salt'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/c/covenant-of-salt.html. 1915.

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