Covenant of Salt

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Wed Jul 4 18:08:47 EDT 2001

On Tue  3 Jul 2001 (11:56:37), myronkauk at 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? 

 Dear Myron

 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,
 page 71]


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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