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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Salt?

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Judges 9:45
And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

What is the more symbolic meaning of sowing 'with salt', please?

Other refs are (Young's)

Leviticus 2:13 And every offering--thy present--with salt thou dost season, and thou dost not let the salt of the covenant of thy God cease from thy present; with all thine offerings thou dost bring near salt.

Mark 9:49 for every one with fire shall be salted, and every sacrifice with salt shall be salted.

Coloss 4:6 your word always in grace--with salt being seasoned--to know how it behoveth you to answer each one.

In Judges, it was the baddie who did the killing and sowing. Does this in any way alter the deeper meaning of the reference to salt?

Many thanks.

 2011/3/25 6:29

Joined: 2010/8/15
Posts: 272

 Re: Salt?

Alive to God

To me, Abimelech represents a man whose salt had lost it's saltness, and is "thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Matt 5:13 (KJV). God had, through Jotham, had already declared His judgement concerning Abimelech, the bramble king, and the men of Shechem, that they would destroy each other with fire. He was also slain by a millstone, a type of one who causes offence. Personally, I see the book of Judges is about judgement and concerns Israel and their leaders in the last days; so those raised up prefigure some aspect of Christ or Antichrist. Of course, as well, there is a literal and historical aspect to the book. Just my thoughts.

If you are looking at salt, and it's meaning, it would be good if you could share your understanding of the new testament meaning, especially

"For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." Mark 9:49 (KJV) and Colossians 4.6.

Much Love



 2011/3/25 19:59Profile

Joined: 2008/1/3
Posts: 189

 Re: Salt?

Major Ian Thomas does a whole study on salt in his book The Saving Life of Christ (which I would highly recommend), but I think this verse may indicate the act of salting the ground to prevent crops from growing. When salt is mixed into the soil it will kill vegetation, crops etc. On first glance I would say this verse does not involve a symbolic meaning of salt.


 2011/3/25 20:20Profile


What is the more symbolic meaning of sowing 'with salt', please?

The symbolic meaning of "sowing a city with salt", is that the city's destruction is final and the city would now be barren and would not be rebuilt. They don't actually throw tons of salt down on a city so that life will literally not grow.

We see this brought home in Deut 29:23 and Jer 17:6.

Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

Jer 17:6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Deu 29:23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

In Jeremiah 17:6, we see several words that are very descriptive of what the Holy Spirit is trying to convey and these words are quite complimentary to the use of salt, here.

We have the following word associations from the Lord to emphasize what He is trying to tell us.

Heath - Same Hebrew word in Psalms 102:17, Isaiah 32:11, Habakkuk 3:9, the Hebrew is translated, "bare," "naked," "destitute"; but as the parallel in Jeremiah 17:8 is "tree," some plant must be meant of which this is the characteristic epithet (Jeremiah 48:6, Margin), "a naked tree."A blasted or withered tree. The "heath" was one of the plants, according to PLINY (13.21; 16.26), excluded from religious uses, because it has neither fruit nor seed, and is neither sown nor planted. On page 216 of the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, Heath Tree a tree that is destitute, naked.

Salt - (Deuteronomy 29:23), barren ground.

Following words are pretty much self-explanatory, but coupled with salt in this context, reveal salt as not being something that is savoring but rather, where no life can and will grow.

Uninhabited -
Desert -
Parched -
Wilderness -

AtG, I found Mark 9:49 very interesting and also found this which you may find helpful. I did.


 2011/3/25 21:35

 Re: Salt?

Thanks a777. The link was useful.

Leviticus 2 is very instructive, if one remembers that 'meat' in the KJV actually means just FOOD.

This reminds me of John 4:

34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

The idea of reaping someone else's planting is interesting, because that first sytheful, is reminiscent of the firstfruits mentioned in Lev 2, and many other refs in the New Testament.

Also, that all the frankincense had to be burned to make sweet savour unto God. Here we see the picture of a life which is symbolically offered always with oil (Spirit), never raw, or contaminated, or unperfumed.

In fact, the 'burnt' offering is associated with the peace offering. He is our peace. He was baptised with fire - death.

A thought about salt is that it may be a shadow of the salt sea, or tears, and their connection with sorrow or repentance.

Another thing about the peace offering seems to be that there is no compulsion about it. Perhaps this is why people like Abel, Job and Noah 'found grace' in the eyes of the Lord. The mention of 'freewill offering' comes later and by then I think it usually was a different sort of gift, like money for something, or something needed for a work of God.

 2011/3/26 18:08

 Re: Salt?

Hi David,

I forgot about your question - 'If you are looking at salt, and it's meaning, it would be good if you could share your understanding of the new testament meaning, especially'.

I feel as if what I have so far is largely undigested, and needs to be processed through a lot more Bible reading.

 2011/3/26 20:45

 Re: Salt?

mama27 posted from Spurgeon's Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, today's portion.

I extracted from it to add to this thread.

Sin alone is evil; the punishment which follows thereupon is as a preserving salt to keep society from putrefying.

 2011/3/31 7:39

Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860

 Re: Salt?

To my understanding and what my study bible says was they did this to ruin any future harvest but adding salt to the soil. In a sense it could have been the sign of Abimelech's lack of tolerance of mercy to rebels. Ruining the land for farming ruined the land period in the times of the Judges. It also showed the great wickedness of the times the lack of mercy in the hearts of men.

Matthew Guldner

 2011/3/31 7:51Profile

 Re: Salt?

But so, when salt is part of the sacrifice, is it an antedote to sin?

 2011/3/31 18:34

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2779
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: Salt?

Salt speaks of preserving things in life. TA Sparks shares that salt was included in the sacrifices of the Old Testament to show that "even the presentation of the moral excellencies of the Lord Jesus is always to be free from merely cold formality, which means death, and must remain a living and vital thing. It is so possible for a contemplation of the Lord Jesus to become a mechanical and formal thing, something which we accept in our minds as necessary and true, so that we come mechanically upon the merits of the Lord Jesus, when the Lord wants the thing to be continuously alive. With every fresh coming to the Lord there should be a fresh appreciation in life of the Lord Jesus. The salt is to keep things from death, to keep them in life..."

The Judges reference to salt is a bit confusing and some have interpreted this action to mean that Abimilech meant for the salt to make the place barren but, if you wanted to do that you would sow the field with salt, not the city. I think there are historical references to sowing a conquered city with salt as a symbolic way of saying that this destruction is to be preserved forever.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2011/3/31 20:39Profile

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