READ: Leviticus 2:1-16
The ‘Grain Offerings”
I just wanted to share some thoughts about Leviticus 2:13. As you read through the stipulations for each of the different offerings there are certain steps that must or must not be taken depending on the offering. One interesting step that was to occur on all of these offerings in chapter 2, and quite possibly in many other offerings also (Numbers 18:19), was the inclusion of salt.
You can’t read that without asking the question why was salt included and what on earth is the ‘covenant of salt’ that it was a reminder of??? No one really seems to know the exact answer to those question but there are a few interesting ideas and parallels.
To the people of Middle Eastern culture, salt has long been used as an agreement ‘handshake’. Two people making a covenant would eat salt together. Certainly, the simple reference to the ‘Covenant of salt’ would seem to imply that this use of salt is a call back to a covenant that has been made between God and the people. The use of salt in the offerings was, in a sense, a continual reminder and refreshment of the Covenant between God and His people.
It is also interesting to note that in the surrounding verses there are a number of things that must, and must not, be included in these grain offerings. Two things that were not to be included was leaven and honey. Again, why that is to be so is not explained to us but it has been suggested that leaven and honey are natural fermenting agents – which would cause the food (part of the offerings was for the priests food) to spoil quickly. These fermenting agents would spoil the food – in a sense they would corrupt it. Salt and oil, on the other hand, are natural preservatives. Not only would they preserve the food longer so the priests could do their priestly duty and eat a set portion but I do wonder if they symbolically pictured a preservation of the covenant. By adding salt to the offering it was reminding the people that this covenant was being preserved between them and God. It was an everlasting covenant.
Also, there is a Middle Eastern food that the Arabs call Dukkah. Dukkah is a mix of spices and salt and sometimes nuts that is all mixed and ground together – it is to be eaten with bread that has been dipped in oil. You don’t eat salt by itself! In the New Testament Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of Life!’ and to us He says we are to be the ‘salt of the earth.’ Ever tried eating salt by itself? Would be pretty disgusting. Yet, the Arabs will dip their bread in the dukkah mix of spices and salt and eat the salt with the bread.
It is an interesting thought that it is useless for us to be ‘salt’ by ourselves without first being dipped with the ‘bread’. In a sense we should be not only the ‘power’ of God on earth but we are also the preservers – we should be (not discounting the fact that God is Sovereign and will preserve His own name) the ones that proclaim the Name of God for all time.