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May 13, 2012 in Chapters

Salt

In the Bible record of Job, when he sorrows over the plain food he consumes during his sickness, he says “Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt” (Job 6:6)?   In the lands and times of the Bible, salt was used for seasoning and was the only available preservative besides the natural process of fermentation.  In Mark 9:50, Jesus says “salt is good” when using it to illustrate a spiritual truth.  It was a God ordained addition to His people’s diet.  Cooked food was often salted which was considered a symbol of honesty and faithfulness among parties that partook of the meal.

Leviticus 2:13:
And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

Because of this symbolic usage of salt, it is used figuratively in the New Testament to convey truthfulness or the idea of being faithful to your word.

Colossians 4:6:
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Salt was sometimes harvested differently in Bible times than we are familiar with today.  If salty earth was found, it was put in a jar, mixed with water and left to settle.  Then, the salty liquid was used to flavor food while the sediment remained at the bottom of the jar.  When the liquid was used up, more water was added and the process repeated until all the salt had been dissolved in the water.  After a few times the liquid would no longer taste salty (the salt lost its saltiness) and so it would be thrown out, usually on the paths leading to or from the house.  Understanding this method of acquiring salt helps shed light on Jesus’ analogy in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 5:13
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

This is just an excerpt from "Food in the Bible."  For the full chapter, you may download the book here.