Covenant of Salt
ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Wed Jul 4 18:08:47 EDT 2001
On Tue 3 Jul 2001 (11:56:37), myronkauk at iolky.com wrote:
> Anybody have any insight on the "Covenant of Salt" in Num 18:19,
> usually cross referenced to Ezra 4:14. What does this mean? Do we
> have any other biblical or ANE references to this type of covenant?
> Or are we taking a shot in the dark?
The answer to your question may be found in Leviticus 2:13.
Gordon Wenham writes "/Salt/... was necessary in every sacrifice. This point
is made very emphatically in verse 13, so presumably its symbolic value was
important. Generally the use of salt is seen as the counterpart to the
prohibition of yeast. 'Salt prevents putrefaction while leaven and honey
produce it.' [JH Hertz, /Leviticus/, London, 1932, p 16]. True as this
observation is, there is little evidence that it was the symbolism intended
here. It could indicate that the sacrifice was dedicated to God (Judges 9:45;
2 Kings 2:20-22). Most probably /the salt of your God's covenant/ (verse 13)
gives the clue to the symbolism. It suggests that the salt symbolized the
Covenant. Greeks and Arabs are known to have eaten salt together when they
concluded covenants. In the OT salt is connected with covenants on two
occasions, and in both a covenant of salt means an eternal covenant (Humbers
18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5). Salt was something that could not be destroyed by
fire or time or any other means in antiquity. To add salt to the offering was
a reminder that the worshipper was in an eternal covenant relationship with
his God. This meant that God would never forsake him, and also that the
worshipper had a perpetual duty to uphold and keep the covenant law."
[Gordon J Wenham, /The Book of Leviticus/, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 1979,
Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
More information about the b-hebrew