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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Salt, Saltness

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A — 1: ἅλς
(Strong's #251 — Noun Masculine — halas — halce )

a late form of hals (found in some mss. in Mark 9:49 ), is used (a) literally in Matthew 5:13 (2nd part); Mark 9:50 (1st part, twice); Luke 14:34 (twice); (b) metaphorically, of "believers," Matthew 5:13 (1st part); of their "character and condition," Mark 9:50 (2nd part); of "wisdom" exhibited in their speech, Colossians 4:6 .

Being possessed of purifying, perpetuating and antiseptic qualities, "salt" became emblematic of fidelity and friendship among eastern nations. To eat of a person's "salt" and so to share his hospitality is still regarded thus among the Arabs. So in Scripture, it is an emblem of the covenant between God and His people, Numbers 18:19 ; 2 Chronicles 13:5 ; so again when the Lord says "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another" (Mark 9:50 ). In the Lord's teaching it is also symbolic of that spiritual health and vigor essential to Christian virtue and counteractive of the corruption that is in the world, e.g., Matthew 5:13 , see (b) above. Food is seasoned with "salt" (see B); every meal offering was to contain it, and it was to be offered with all offerings presented by Israelites, as emblematic of the holiness of Christ, and as betokening the reconiliation provided for man by God on the ground of the death of Christ, Leviticus 2:13 . To refuse God's provision in Christ and the efficacy of His expiatory sacrifice is to expose oneself to the doom of being "salted with fire," Mark 9:49 .

While "salt" is used to fertilize soil, excess of it on the ground produces sterility (e.g., Deuteronomy 29:23 ; Judges 9:45 ; Jeremiah 17:6 ; Zephaniah 2:9 ).

B — 1: ἁλίζω
(Strong's #233 — Verb — halizo — hal-id'-zo )

akin to A, signifies "to sprinkle" or "to season with salt," Matthew 5:13 ; Mark 9:49 (see under A). Cp. SAVOR, B.

C — 1: ἁλυκός
(Strong's #252 — Adjective — halukos — hal-oo-kos' )

occurs in James 3:12 , "salt (water)."

C — 2: ἄναλος
(Strong's #358 — Adjective — analos — an'-al-os )

denotes "saltless" (a, negative, n, euphonic, and A), insipid, Mark 9:50 , "have lost its saltness," lit., "have become (ginomai) saltless (analos);" cp. moraino in Luke 14:34 (see SAVOR , B).

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Salt, Saltness'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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