A Covenant of Salt
By Susan E. Todd
April, 2003


(2 Chronicles 13:5) "Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?"

The phrase "covenant of salt" is mentioned three times in the Scriptures. That's a trinity. That means God is in it somehow. Let's see if we can find out what He wants to teach us about salt. The other two references are:

(Numbers 18:19) "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee." and (Leviticus 2:13) "And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."

God made covenants with people using unusual objects.

  • With Noah He used a rainbow.
    (Genesis 9:15-17) "And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
  • With Abraham He used the stars.
    (Genesis 15:5,18) "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:"
  • With Moses He used tablets of stone.
    (Exodus 34:28) "And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."
  • With David it was salt.
    (2 Chronicles 13:5) "Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?"


What is salt? By definition it is: A substance used for seasoning certain kinds of food, and for the preservation of meat.

For what purpose was it made?

To season: To render palatable, or to give a higher relish to, by the addition or mixture of another substance more pungent or pleasant; as, to season meat with salt.

To preserve: To save from decay. Salt is used to preserve meat.

To cure: To dry; to prepare for preservation; as, to prepare by salt, or in any manner, so as to prevent speedy purification.

Why is salt important in a Christian's life?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:13a, "Ye are the salt of the earth:" What did He mean?

The Bible teaches us that we, as Christians, are to be salt in the world. We are to be a seasoning, a preservative and a cure in a world full of sin and hatred toward God and the things of God.


Physical characteristics of salt and their spiritual applications:

  • You can't eat salt by itself.

Try putting a spoonful in your mouth. You couldn't swallow it. You would choke on it. Salt is not meant to be ingested by itself. You have to put it on something in order for it to be useful. You have to use the right amount; just enough to make what you are eating palatable. Too little and it has no effect; too much and it spoils the taste. It must be used carefully and in moderation.

The Bible says in Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." We are told to use some seasoning with our speech.

We are to speak well-seasoned or salted words. (1 Corinthians 13:1) "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." We are to speak with love.

As Christians, or followers of Christ, we have a testimony to maintain. Our speech is one thing that is often criticized by the lost. They say when we speak about the things of God and the Bible we do not have love. They say we are too critical of worldly things. Often times we are because the Bible clearly admonishes us to live in the world but to be separate from it at the same time. The closer we are to God the more we will view the world as He does. However, when dealing with the lost we must never forget that while we hate the sin they do we are to love the sinner in order to win them to Christ.

Don't always be negative or critical even when you have to criticize or admonish someone. Paul tells us to rebuke with longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to try and be patient with each other.

We are given guidelines about how to treat others with respect. (1 Timothy 5:1-2) "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity."

Women especially should be careful how they talk. The Bible tells us our conversation should be chaste or pure (1 Peter 3:1-2). There is nothing worse than hearing a woman talk like a sailor. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear."

We are also admonished to choose our words carefully. We are not to swear, curse or blaspheme. (James 5:12) "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." There is nothing viler to God's ears than to hear a Christian curse.

Let your speech be such that it doesn't bring shame upon you, your testimony or upon the Lord Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:7-8) "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."


  • Salt makes things taste better.

It is easier to eat bland foods when salt has been added. (Job 6:6a) "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt?" It is easier for people to accept our message of God's free gift of salvation when it is given with the right spirit. A person must understand the need for a saviour before they can accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

When we are witnessing and sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost; the words we choose must be enough to get our point across but not so many that we overstate our point and confuse the issue. We must use moderation in our speech. We must choose our words carefully.

It's not enough to tell people they need to "get saved." We must tell them how. It's not a good idea to threaten people with hell when they are penitent. I recently had an eight-year old girl come up to me after service and tell me that she wanted to get saved. I asked her why and she said she didn't want to go to hell. I asked her why she thought she was going to hell and she told me that she was a sinner and that is where God sends people who sin. I didn't need to pursue that thought any further. She had a pretty good grasp of what was going on and what she needed to do. What I wanted her to understand was why God has to punish sin and that there is a Saviour who paid the penalty for her sins because she couldn't do it. When she understood this, she got genuinely saved.


  • Salt is used to melt ice.

I know. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. They get snow there. They get ice there. They get three-four-five-six feet at a time not just a few flakes here and there. Buffalo is known for its blizzards. Salt is used to melt the snow and ice so it is easier for the people to get around. It works in temperatures well below freezing.

The Word of God can melt the icy cold heart of its hearers like nothing else can. (Psalm 147:16-18) "He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow."

The Word of God can give sight to the blind, light to those in darkness, heal the brokenhearted, bind the bruised, revive the faint and rescue the perishing.

If you have to deal with grumpy people, mean people, hard people, people who put up walls as a defense, the best thing you can do is to melt their ice with the word of God. (Proverbs 15:1) "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."


  • Salt is used for curing.

You use it on cucumbers to take the water out when you make pickles. It dries out the cucumbers and changes them so they can be make into something else.

The Word of God can dry up sin in a person's life. The Holy Spirit can take out what is unnecessary and unprofitable in someone's life and turn that person into something else. It can make him a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Are you having trouble getting victory over certain sins in your life? Are you struggling with smoking, drinking, gambling, gossip, envy, bitterness, or pride? Take heart. Victory is assured if you will let the Word of God melt your resistance to the Holy Spirit's leading. God wants to help you. Let Him. The Bible has the answers for all your problems. Trust God to keep His promises and do your part in repenting of your sins, your failings, your shortcomings and your weaknesses and claiming victory in those areas of your life.


  • Men salt food without tasting it.

It drives me crazy. A woman spends a lot of time cooking and flavoring her meals with herbs and spices. She sets it in front of a man and the first thing he does is grab the saltshaker. He hasn't even tasted it and he is already changing the flavor.

People nowadays accept religious beliefs without "tasting" them first. (1 John 4:1) "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Cults do a good job of changing the "flavor" of the gospel and the doctrine of the Bible. They make things sound good. But people need to stop and "taste their doctrine" before accepting their salt. Their salt is poisonous.

Cults should be checked out thoroughly using the Bible as the final authority. I said the Bible - not the writings of Joseph Smith (Mormon); Charles Rutherford (Jehovah's Witnesses); Ellen White (Seventh Day Adventists) or anybody else. Cults cannot defend the Bible because they don't use it as their primary source of authority. It is secondary to their false religion. They will always go to the writings of their leaders and founders first. If you know your Bible you should be able to use it against them to prove their heretical views.


  • When you sweat your skin tastes salty. When you cry your tears taste salty.

Salt gets in your mouth. It gets on your clothes and on anything that you touch. Everything that you come in contact with will be salty if you sweat or cry enough.

When the Holy Spirit abides in you and you get on fire for God, burn up with zeal for the things of God, and you sweat by laboring for Him you will become salty. It will automatically happen because it will come from within. Everything in your life, everything you do and everyone that you come in contact with will be salted with talk of the things of God.

(Luke 6:45) "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

Your speech will be peppered (pardon the expression) with phrases like: "Amen!" "Praise the Lord!" "It's great to be saved!" "Glory to God!"

Some people you know will be offended by this kind of talk. To them it will be like salt that is put on an open wound. It will hurt. It will sting. It will be painful. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:12 that "... the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Nothing cuts like a sharp knife and that is what the Word of God is compared to.


  • Too much exposure to salt will raise a person's blood pressure.

When Christians are too "salty" it makes the lost world mad. They can't handle the things of God. Street preaching, bumper stickers and handing out tracts drive them crazy. They go nuts when confronted with such salt. They get angry. It makes their "blood boil." (1 Corinthians 1:18) "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Even some "Christians" who are not right with God or who don't actively witness will be offended. They will claim that those who do witness openly are doing more harm than good for the cause of Christ. Could it be that they are just a little guilty because they know they should be participating in the aforementioned activities and they are not?

Let's go back to our text verse. (2 Chronicles 13:5) "Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?"

What is a covenant? By definition it is: A mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; a contract; stipulation.

When we accept Christ as our Saviour we make a covenant with Him. We become salt for Him. (Matthew 5:13) "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

If the Christian loses his zeal for the things of God, becomes backslidden and is full of sin then he is not useful to God or the cause of Christ. He cannot reach the lost because he has lost his salt. A ruined testimony is only good for one thing, to be trodden under the foot of lost man. And a lost man will take advantage of it. Remember Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker? These are just two examples. There may be hundreds and perhaps thousands that are not as well known. They are only known within their own church or community but they too have fallen prey to the world.

Why give the enemy ammunition to shoot you? Remember David? When confronted by Nathan about his sin he was told: ":because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme," (2 Samuel 12:14a)

Remember whom you represent. The name of the Lord Jesus Christ should be honored not humiliated; it should be revered not reviled; it should be exalted and not debased.

How much salt is too much salt? It's availability to us is unlimited. (Ezra 6:9) "And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:"

(Ezra 7:22) "Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much."

We must put before the lost world the things of God and give them the gospel every day without fail. We are to give them as much as they need in order for them to get saved and get right with God before it is too late.