What is a Covenant of SALT?

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Question: What is a Covenant of SALT?

Answer:  In the entire Bible, the phrase 'covenant of salt' or direct reference thereof appears only three times. The first time it shows up in scripture is in the book of Leviticus chapter 2, where it refers to salt being a necessary ingredient in grain offerings made to God "because salt represents the covenant ('salt of the covenant' in the NKJV and other translations) between you and God . . . (verse 13, TEV).

The second place this term is found in the Bible is in Numbers 18, where it is made in reference to what God was going to give the priests who served him.

19 I am giving to you . . . all the special contributions which the Israelites present to me. This is an unbreakable covenant ('a covenant of salt' in the NKJV, TMSG, NRSV, NIV and other Bibles) that I have made . . . (Numbers 18)

The last mention of the phrase in question is in 2Chronicles 13. King Abijah of Judah used the term to refer to the royal Davidic dynasty's right to rule over Israel in place of the (rebel) King Jeroboam of Israel.

Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant ('a covenant of salt') with (king) David . . . (2Chronicles 13:5)

There is a definite Biblical linkage between salt and covenant-making. The commentary in one Bible translation stated that the partaking of common salt by those seated together at a table was an ancient symbol of friendship and alliance.

Refrigeration as a means of preserving large quantities of food did not begin to grow until the latter part of the 19th century. One of the most common ways of preserving food before this time (including the period of the Old Testament) was to use salt. This property of physical preservation (cf. Matthew 5:13) led to this mineral being used in terms to symbolically represent preservation in general.

 
 
 
 
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Taken together, a 'covenant of salt' is an agreement or contract between parties that is preserved regardless of the circumstances. Such covenants are enduring, solid and unbreakable.
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