The Word salt in the Bible is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value and purification. There are 40 Bible verses that talk about salt most of which are in the Old Testament.
Meaning of Salt in The Bible
The role of salt is relevant to the Hebrew society in both testaments of the Bible.
To ‘be salt’ means to deliberately seek to influence the people in one’s life by showing them the unconditional love of Christ through good deeds.
Jesus Christ also used salt in his teachings; Matthew 5:13
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”Matthew 5:13
According to Exodus 34:28, 2 Chronicles 13:5, 2 Kings 2:21
- It makes that which is of no taste or bad taste, palatable
- The people of God were commanded to season all their sacrifices with salt
- By reason of the salt covenant, every unpleasant thing shall be made sweet
- The covenant of people binds people together and also binds the people to God who is their creator
- The covenant of salt speaks of dominion and kingship. It is a sign or symbol of goodwill and favors
- Salt is symbolic in the removal of corruption
- Salt is meant to symbolize a mighty spiritual weapon and a cleansing agent
- Salt also talks about loyalty
- Salt is an agent of addressing all the toxic things in society
- Salt also means a healing agent in the Bible
To get a clear understanding of the salt power the bible, this article will seek to explain the following subtopics using clear examples as written in the Holy Bible.
Salt and Water in The Bible
The mystery of salt and water Biblically can be elaborated in the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel 47:11,
“But the water in the marshes and ponds along the shores will not be made fresh. They will remain there as a source of salt.”
This verse highlights the importance of the Dead Sea’s salt to the Hebrews.
The Hebrew people harvested the salt by pouring seawater into the pits and letting the water evaporate until only salt was left.
They used the mineral for seasoning, as a preservative and also for religious practices. According to this Bible verse, we can see the mysterious relationship between water and salt.
God uses the salty waters in the sea beds and salty water lakes to produce salt which is an essential mineral in human life.
Therefore, we can say that there is a mystery between salt and water with evidence from the Bible.
How to Pray with Salt and Water in The Bible
Salt in the Bible was used to symbolize cleansing, the removal of what was corrupt and also to signify everything that was toxic in the society.
This can be found in the book of 2 Kings 2:19-22 in which water was healed and made pure once the salt was released into it.
“Some men from Jericho went to Elisha and said, “as you know, sir, this is a fine city, but the water is bad and causes miscarriages.” He ordered the men to put water in a new bowl and take it to him.
They brought it to him and he went to the spring, threw the salt in the water, and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I make this water pure and it will not cause any more deaths or miscarriages.’
And that water has been pure ever since, just as Elisha said it would be.” This shows the use of salt to cleanse water in the Bible that had brought suffering and misery to the people of the town.
This is one of the miracles that prophet Elisha performed during his time using salt.
Water was a symbol of satisfying thirst and was also used in cleansing.
Jesus also used it as a metaphor Himself when he referred to the living water in his conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4:9-14.
According to Mark 9:41 we see Jesus referring to water as a medium of quenching thirst;
“I assure you that anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to me will certainly receive his reward.” It satisfies refreshes and can symbolize the beginning of a new life in Christ.According to Mark 9:41
Covenant of Salt in The Bible
The phrase covenant of salt appears twice in the Hebrew Bible: In the Book of Numbers, God’s covenant with the Aaronic priesthood is said to be a covenant of salt.
In the Second book of Chronicles, God’s covenant with the Davidic kings of Israel is also described as a covenant of salt.
According to the New Oxford Annotated Bible “of salt” most likely means that the covenant is “a perpetual covenant, because of the use of salt as a preservative.”
The commandments regarding grain offerings in the Book of Leviticus states that;
“every offering of your grain, you shall season with salt; “You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offering you shall offer salt.”
Therefore, we can relate to the Covenant of salt as it was used in the Bible to represent the preservation of agreements between God and his people.
This meant that the covenant was a bond that would be long-lasting for even the generations that would come after the brokering of the initial one which means that it would uphold for a very long time.
Salt and Light in The Bible
This concept was taught by Jesus Christ early in His ministry when he told them he would make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).
Then in the sermon on the mountain, He used the illustrations of salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).
“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if the salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.”
Both salt and water have properties that affect things around them. Salt is used as a preservative and enhances the flavor.
To ‘be salt’ means to deliberately seek to influence one’s life by showing them the unconditional love of Christ through good deeds. This is like enhancing flavor in one’s life through the teachings of Christ.
On the other hand, light is used as a symbol that signifies awareness, knowledge, and understanding.
To ‘be light’ means to be a witness to others concerning the truth of God’s word, especially about who Christ is and how he died and rose again for our salvation.
This is like being the light and shining it upon other people’s life. This helps them to seek God’s word and be true followers of his kingdom.
Who Turned to Salt in the Bible and What Was the Significance
According to the book of Genesis 19:26, we see that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt. “But Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.”
This was after she disobeyed a command that was given to them by angels who were sent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that had been sinful and did not follow the word of God.
In my own opinion, the turning of Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt was basically a sign from God to Lot’s family that he was powerful and he disliked disobedience from the human race.
God Chose salt in this case because salt is bitter to taste. This was a symbol that he was not happy.
It was also a lesson that we should always believe in God because from the case of Lot’s wife, it is like she did not believe in what God had said and the consequence of her unbelief was her being turned to salt.
As we can see in the Old Testament, the way God dealt with people is very different from how he deals with us in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, there was a dire consequence to not heeding the instructions of God and unlike in the New Covenant where God now corrects us in a loving way.
Jewish Idea of Lot’s Wife Being Turned to Salt
However, according to the Jewish teachings, they suggest that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt because Lot requested salt from his wife to be offered to the traveling two angels.
His wife told him it was a bad custom to offer the salt from their household, so they went house to house in the neighborhood informing the men of the houses of the two travelers while she looked for salt.
This idea isn’t expressed in the Bible but in Jewish teachings. There is no specific reason that explains why she looked back to the city as it was being destroyed.
Some Jews believe that she was looking behind to see if her daughters were following behind or if her father’s house was surviving the wrath.
The story warns us on looking back to our previous life’s of sin before getting saved. Such will usually return us to past sins.
If one gets saved, there is no time of looking back on their past sinful life so that one can grow spiritually and place their trust in God’s hands on the new path they are undertaking.
Spiritual Benefits of Salt
Salt has been powerful in the historic and metaphoric terms, although its spiritual powers and benefits have gone unnoticed to many people. Spiritually, salt has been considered as a great neutralizer and purifier.
It helps in cleansing and should always be treated as seriously valuable. In the cleansing or protective way, it aims at something as mystical as guarding homes against negativity (or ghosts).
As a spiritual tool, it keeps many of its signature culinary perks: it’s all-purpose enhancing the overall effect of a ritual and is easy to use. Salt is also used in the spiritual cleansing of negative energies.
Salt also helps in spiritual warfare. This is during the casting out of demons. It is highly believed that a solution of salt in water can be used to keep away malicious spirits that harm human beings.
It is considered a spiritual weapon as it is used as a cleansing agent hence we can say that salt can be efficient in spiritual warfare. It is also important to use salt when cleansing and purifying your home.
Salt helps in healing. The spiritual salt of God heals souls, families, communities and the whole universe.
The work of Christ within believers makes us that spiritual “salt of the earth,” and also the water of life where others come to find everlasting life.
Salt is also used in modern medical science hence we can say that it is used in healing. Salt can be added to a wound and it will disinfect the wound. It will also stop bleeding from a fresh body cut so that it heals faster.
Power of salt in Prayer
Salt is a purifier of many things. Holy water in the Roman Catholic church where the holy water is prepared by exorcising and blessing salt and water separately and then dissolving the salt in the water and a benediction is pronounced upon the water.
The holy water is used in many prayer sessions in the church for example during baptisms and in the celebration of the holy communion where the priests sprinkle the holy water before commencing of the holy mass.
Salt is powerful as it can suck away dark energy. The Bible refers to salt a lot, for example, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham’s nephew Lot chose to live in the cities because of the good grazing lands and water as he was a shepherd (Genesis 13:8-13).
Due to the sins of the people of the cities, God destroyed them with fire.
Lot and his family escaped but his wife became a pillar of salt as she disobeyed God’s command not to look back at the cities after they had left.
Her punishment is ironic as the place this happened now lies underneath a sea of salt water.
In my own conclusion, I can, therefore, agree that salt is a very powerful instrument in the Bible as we can see its spiritual use, power and spiritual benefit as discussed in the subtopics above.
Its symbolism, especially in the Old Testament, is proof that salt is of great spiritual significance and its power is very vital to the lives of Christians back then in the Bible and even up to now as it is even used in churches that we attend.
Many people just consider it an ingredient but it can be very helpful in the spiritual lives of the Christians.
Salt is a natural blessing from God and we should always thank God for it since it is one of the most abundant natural resources.
Use of Salt and water in Catholic Church
In the early church, there was a practice of using salt and water as a visual practice of rooting out corruption that had spread in the society and also a symbol of new life in Christ.
The use of salt and water was very symbolic as it was used to represent the toxics in the life of the early Christians which motivated them to rebuke the evils in the society and uphold their righteous life’s in Christ who was their savior.
Even today we can see churches like the Roman Catholic Church use water and salt in some of their religious practices.
The holy water is prepared by exorcising and blessing salt and water separately and then dissolving the salt in the water and a benediction is pronounced upon the water.
The holy water is used in masses, baptisms and other religious events. Catholics are always advised to carry the holy water as a spiritual weapon in their homes and in their daily routines.
Spiritual Uses of Salt
The spiritual use of salt is relevant and varies from one situation to another both in the bible’s new and old Testament.
The bible contains numerous references to salt either being used to refer to a bitter situation or being used to describe a character.
Salt was and is still essential for life. It symbolizes taste, enables food to be preserved and even mummifies bodies.
The power of salt in the Bible is outstanding based on the bible reference mentioned below.
Some of the spiritual uses of the salt according to the Bible especially according to the Old Testament are:
1. Salt was used for purification in the Bible
The Bible mentions that Sodom and Gomorrah were purified with salt. Sinners were changed into pillars of salt and we can send off evil and deter unwanted strangers by spreading salt.
2. Salt was used as medium of punishment
One of the people who was turned to a pillar of salt was Lot’s wife. This was because of her disobedience on the command of God that was given to her by the two angels who had come to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
According to Genesis 19:17 “Then one of the angels said, Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills so that you won’t be killed.”
The fate of Lot’s wife being turned to a pillar of salt is found in Genesis 19:26. This is the naming of the pillar on Mount Sodom, which is often called “Lot’s wife”.
3. Salt was used in religious practices & Sucrifices
Leviticus 2:13 and Ezekiel 43:24 illustrate the requirement of salt in the ancient Hebrew society as part of religious sacrifices.
According to Leviticus 2:13 “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offering you shall offer salt.”
Salt was cast on the burnt offerings as per the book of Ezekiel 43:24 “And bring them to me. The priest will sprinkle salt on them and burn them as an offering to me.”
4. Salt was a part of incense & Purification in the Bible
Incense was a substance mostly spice or gum that was burnt to produce a sweet smell. The spiritual use of incense is accompanied by prayers, invocations, and spells.
As the smoke rises to the sky, it often represents that the requests have arrived at the destination and will get approval from the divine entities. Incense is believed to have properties that can dissipate negative energy.
(Exodus 30:35) “Use them to make incense, mixed with perfume. Add salt to keep it pure and holy.”
5. In The Bible, salt was part of the temple offering
Salt was widely and variably used as a symbol in ancient Israel according to Numbers 18:19 and 2 Chronicles 13:5 which illustrate salt as a covenant of friendship. In cultures throughout the region, the eating of salt is a sign of friendship.
“Day by day, without fail, you will give to the priests in Jerusalem whatever they tell you they need: young bulls, sheep, or lambs to be burnt as offerings to the God of Heaven, or wheat, salt, wine or olive oil.”(Ezra 6:9)
Numbers 18:19 “I am giving to you, to your sons, and to your daughters, for all time to come, all the special contributions which the Israelites present to me.
This is an unbreakable covenant that I have made with you and your descendants.”
6. Salt was used as a metaphor in the Bible
Salt land is a metaphorical name for a desolate no man’s land, as attested in Psalms 107:34, Job 39:6 and Jeremiah 17:6.
Psalms 107:34, “He made rich soil become a salty wilderness because of the wickedness of those who lived there.”
The land of defeated cities was salted to consecrate them to a god and curse their repopulation, as illustrated in Judges 9:45, “The fighting continued all day long.
Abimelech captured the city, killed its people, tore it down, and covered the ground with salt.”
7. Salt was used to rub newborn babies
A reference to this practice is in Ezekiel 16:4, “When you were born, no one cut your umbilical cord or washed you or rubbed you with salt or wrapped you in cloth.”
From the above examples, we can clearly see the spiritual use of the salt in the bible and how powerful salt played a role in different aspects with most examples or practices being in the Old Testament.
Where does salt come from?
During the Biblical times, salt was procured by the Jews from the Dead sea, wither from the immense hill or ridge of pure rock salt at its southwest extremity, or from that deposited on the shore by the natural evaporation.
Salt is a mineral that is a necessity in our daily lives that has been used from ancient times up to date.
In very many cultures salt was used and is still used as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings and as a unit of exchange.
Salt also referred to as table salt or its chemical formula NaCl, is an atomic compound made up of sodium and chloride ions.
Salt is generally produced one of three ways, deep-shaft mining, solution mining or solar evaporation. In deep-shaft mining, it is much like mining any other mineral.
Typically, the salt exists as deposits in deep underground sea beds, which become buried through tectonic changes over thousands of years.
Shafts are sunk down to the floor of the mine, and rooms are constructed by drilling, cutting and blasting between the shafts, creating a checkerboard pattern.
After the salt is removed and crushed, a convey belt hauls it to the surface. In solution mining, wells are erected over salt beds and water is injected to dissolve the salt.
Then the salt solution or brine is pumped out and taken to a plant for evaporation.
At the plant, brine is treated to remove minerals and pumped into vacuum pans, sealed containers in which the brine is boiled and evaporated until salt is left behind.
Salt is harvested through solar evaporation from seawater or salty water lakes e.g. Lake Magadi in Kenya.
Wind and the sun evaporate the water from shallow pools, leaving the salt behind which is then harvested.
After harvesting the salt, it is washed, drained, cleaned and refined. Solar evaporation is considered the purest way of harvesting salt often obtaining 100% sodium chloride.