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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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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. The Arabs obtain it in large cakes, two or three inches thick, and sell it in considerable quantities throughout Syria. It well-known preservative qualities, and its importance as a seasoning for food, Job 6:6 , are implied in most of the passages where it is mentioned in Scripture: as in the miraculous healing of a fountain, 2 Kings 2:21; in the sprinkling of salt over the sacrifices consumed on God's altar, Leviticus 2:13 Ezekiel 43:24 Mark 9:49; and its use in the sacred incense, Exodus 30:35 . So also good men are "the salt of the earth," Matthew 5:13; and grace, or true wisdom, is the salt of language, Mark 9:50 Colossians 4:6 . See also Ezekiel 16:4 . To sow a land with salt, signifies its utter barrenness and desolation; a condition often illustrated in the Bible by allusions to the region of Sodom and Gomorrah, with its soil impregnated with salt, or covered with acrid and slimy pools, Deuteronomy 29.33; Job 39.9; Ezekiel 47.11; Zephaniah 2.9 .

Salt is also the symbol of perpetuity and incorruption. Thus they said of a covenant, "It is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord," Numbers 18:19 2 Chronicles 13:5 . It is also the symbol of hospitality; and of the fidelity due from servants, friends, guests, and officers, to those who maintain them or who receive them at their tables. The governors of the provinces beyond the Euphrates, writing to the king Artaxerxes, tell him, "Because we have maintenance from the king's palace," Ezra 4:14 .

VALLEY OF SALT. This place is memorable for the victories of David, 2 Samuel 8:13 1 Chronicles 18:12 Psalm 60:1-12 , and of Amaziah, 2 Kings 14:7 , over the Edomites. There can be little doubt that the name designates the broad deep valley El-Ghor, prolonged some eight miles south of the Dead Sea to the chalky cliffs called Akrabbim. Like all this region, it bears the marks of volcanic action, and has an air of extreme desolation. It is occasionally overflowed by the bitter waters of that sea, which rise to the height of fifteen feet. The driftwood on the margin of the valley, which indicates this rise of the water, is so impregnated with salt that it will not burn; and on the northwest side of the valley lies a mountain of salt. Parts of this plain are white with salt; others are swampy, or marked by sluggish streams or standing pools of brackish water. The southern part is covered in part with tamarisks and coarse shrubbery. Some travellers have found here quicksand pits in which camels and horses have been swallowed up and lost, Genesis 14:10 Zephaniah 2:9 . See JORDAN and SEA 3.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Salt'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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