John D. Telgren

I have been spending some time reading about salt in the Bible. Every house most likely has salt in it. It is a very common item in our lives. Why do we have salt in our houses? Most of us would say it is for cooking. We either use it in recipes, or we sprinkle some on our food to give it a better flavor. Are there any other uses for salt? In this part of the country, we sometimes keep it in buckets in the garage so we can sprinkle some on our steps and driveway. Salt has this ability to melt ice that builds up where we drive and walk. Then there are Epsom salts we use for our skin. So there are a variety of uses for salt around the house.

Probably no one today would say we use salt to help keep our food fresh. We have refrigerators for that. With the exception of beef jerky, we hardly ever use salt as a preservative. But in the Bible, salt was often used to preserve and purify many things.

2 Kin 2:20-21 says, “He (Elisha) went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, ‘Thus says the Lord, I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.' "

Maybe this is part of the idea behind salt used in grain offerings. “No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven ... Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt (Lev 2:11-13).”

So all grain offerings to God were not to have leaven, which symbolized impurity. At the same time, they were to be salted. What is the significance of salt in this case? Salt is a purifier. Only what is pure and holy could be offered up to God. No “left-overs” could be offered up to God. Nothing broken, blemished, or unclean could be offered to God. Only the best could be offered up to the father. Proper offerings to God communicated to God as well as everyone else that God was number one in the lives of his people.

Jesus taught us, "You are the salt of the earth...(Matt 5:13).” Now, I wonder what he possibly could have meant by that?