Bible References to Salt

By Don Matesz

Does the Bible recommend salt for human consumption?  Let's find out!  

It has come to my attention that Christians commonly believe that the Bible endorses use of salt in food as a good thing.  Many will cite these New Testament passages as evidence that our Lord Jesus the Christ Himself declared salt "good":

"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." Matthew 5:13 KJV

"Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another." Mark 9:50

Individual Bible verses must be interpreted in light of and consistent with the rest of the Bible, including the Old Testament books, as well as in the context of the time and place of the event.  Care must also be taken to understand the original Greek or Hebrew text because, as is well known, meaning can be inadvertently lost or added in translation.  

Jesus Himself warned that He spoke in parables to hide His meaning from some people:

"And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."  Luke 8:10 KJV

Therefore no one, least of all a Christian, should assume that anything Jesus said was to be taken strictly literally.  He told us that He does not give the sacred – the truth – to dogs; nor does He cast pearls to swine, because He knew that the dogs or swine will trample the the truth under foot, and turn and attack the one speaking truth (Matt 7:6).  Thus He warned not to treat His words superficially; you have to have the spirit of truth to understand Him; that is, you have to thoroughly think through His words, to grasp the truth (pearls) found in them.  If you don't have the spirit of truth in you, God Himself will send a delusion upon you so you will believe lies! (2 Thess 2:11)

Those who think that in Matt 5:13 and other passages Jesus advocated a salted diet are reading into the passages something not supported by the text itself.  The passages plainly make no reference to eating salt.  

To know God's Word on salt we must look at all Biblical references to salt, not just a few New Testament passages.  To understand the Word of the New Testament, you must understand its foundation, the Old Testament.  We have to start at the beginning to understand the ending.  

Hence, in this post I will discuss all the references to salt in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  I will discuss the meanings of the New Testament passages mentioned above in part 2.   

Strong's Concordance lists 41 instances where the word "salt" appears in the Bible, translated from either the Hebrew melach (in the old Testament) or the Greek halas (in the New Testament).   From beginning to end:


Genesis 14:3: "All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea."  

Genesis 19:26:  "But his [Lot's] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

Here, God turned Lot's wife into a pillar of physical salt as a punishment for looking back (longing for its wickedness).  Would you consider this evidence that the Bible views physical salt as good for you?


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."

This is a rule for making sacrifices.  Please note, putting salt in an offering is not a sacrifice unless salt is something valuable.  The reason salt is required for the sacrifice is to make the sacrifice a act of giving up something of value.  If salt was as easy to acquire as dirt, there would be no sacrifice in offering it. 

It should be noted that the Hebrew word translated "meat offering" in this passage is qareban, which literally only means "offering" so its not clear whether this was "meat" or "grain". [1] The important thing to note is that these offerings were to be burned completely, not consumed by anyone, Leviticus 2:9


Numbers 18:19: ..."it is a covenant of salt for ever..."   meaning a valued covenant.

Numbers 34:3 and 34:12: "...salt sea..."  identifying a body of salt water vs fresh water.


Deuteronomy 3:17:  "...salt sea.."  identifying a body of salt water vs fresh water.

Deuteronomy 29:23: "And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and saltand 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:"

Here "the Bible" clearly recognizes that salt makes land barren and inhospitable.  In fact, the Hebrew word for "barren land" is melechah (Strong's H4420) which is derived from the word for salt, melach (Strong's H4417).   Does that make salt sound like a good thing?  

Yes, salt does make land barren.  Here's confirmation from the USDA.

More on this below.  

Read all of Deuteronomy 29, especially 24-28 and you find that the LORD is laying out the terms of His convenant with Israel.  If the Israelites break the contract requiring them to have no gods beside the true Creator and Law-Giver, Jehovah, if they serve false gods, He promises that He will turn their land to brimstone, salt and burning that bears no fruit: : 

"Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day."

So far, the LORD punished Lot's wife by turning her into a pillar of salt, and promises to punish an idolatrous nation by turning its land to salt.  Do you still think the Bible presents physical salt as a good thing for life forms?


The Hebrew word for salt – melach – appears 6 times in the book of Joshua.  Five times it is used to identify the "salt sea":  3:16, 12:3, 15:2, 15:5, and 18:19.

The sixth passage in Joshua refers to the city of Salt:  15:62.


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."

Abimelech destroyed Shechem then covers it with salt.  Do you think he was doing them a favor by sprinkling their land with healthy salt?  Of course not.  He was "throwing salt on their wounds."  Abimelech was making the land of Shechem uninhabitable by poisoning it with physical salt.  

2 Samuel

8:13: "And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men."

2 Kings

2 Kings 2:19-22:  "And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren landSo the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake."

Here, the prophet Elisha used a bowl of salt to heal some bad (Heb: raim) water.  Salt is an antimicrobial because it contains chloride.  Casting salt into the water killed the microbes.  Today, we use chlorine for the same purpose.  We also use saltwater to generate chlorine to kill bacteria, viruses, and algae in water.  The authors of explain:

"The chloride portion of the sodium chloride is transformed into an effective sanitizer that oxidizes bacteria, viruses, algae, and other radicals that thrive in plain water."  

Salt was used to purify impure water.  Elisha knew that salt will kill anything living on land or in fresh water; Therefore he knew he could purify bad water by adding salt.  You might let yourself wonder how the prophet and man of God Elisha had this knowledge and a water-purification technology about 896 B.C. 

2 Kings 14:7:  A geographical reference to the valley of salt.


1 Chronicles 18:12: Mentions another battle that occurred in the geographical valley of salt.  

2 Chronicles 13:5:  Another mention of the "covenant of salt" between Jehovah and Israel.

2 Chronicles 25:11: About another battle between Israel and Edom in the valley of salt. 


Ezra 6:9:  Lists salt among the items needed for burnt offerings.  

Ezra 7:22:  Lists salt as one of the items that king Artaxerxes decrees that Ezra the priest may require from  "all the treasurers which are beyond the river" for the house of God. 


Job 6:6: "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?"

Before you say that these are rhetorical questions and recommendations for eating salt, think.  Can you eat flavorless food without adding salt?

Don't respond with your preference, which is conditioned by your habit.

The answers to the first of these questions is:  Yes.   It is certainly possible to eat unsavory food without adding salt.  Job is actually complaining about his lot, because he must eat what he does not prefer.  That is evident from verse 7:

"The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat." 

The Hebrew word translated as "meat" here is lahmi, which means: bread, food, grain.   

Translation:  I'm in circumstances in which I have to "eat" – literally or metaphorically – things that "my soul refused to touch."  In other words, he is complaining about his circumstances.  

Verse 8:  "Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for."

Job wants God to be a Cosmic Genie who gives to Job all that Job's wicked heart desires.  God has other plans for him.  Job is complaining about it...he wants to have it his way, not God's way.  

This passage is not an endorsement of salted food.  It is an indictment of man's desire to control God, to have a god subservient to human fleshly desires, that grants man every thing he desires, even his petty tastes. 

Read on to Job 8 and you find that Bildad rebukes Job and tells him to repent of his arrogance. 

Egg whites actually have a slightly salty flavor due to their containing about 54 mg potassium and  55 mg sodium each.  Job's question just reveals the way the mind and senses work.  If you are used to highly seasoned foods, you won't even notice their natural flavors when eaten without salt. 


Psalms 60:1:  Another reference to a battle between Joab and Edom in the valley of salt. 

Psalms 107:34:  "33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the waterspirngs into dry ground; 34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein."  KJV

Here the word translated as "barrenness" in the KJV is limlehah (Strong's 4420), saltness, barrenness, saltiness.  Once again the Bible says that Jehovah punishes the wicked by turning their lands to salt.


"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.

"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.

"7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

"8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

Jeremiah says that a man who trusts in man and the flesh and does not have his heart on the LORD  shall inhabit parched places in a salt land; whereas a man who trusts in the LORD will be like a well-watered and fertile tree.  

Once again, "the Bible" acknowledges that physical salt destroys the fertility and life of land, and suggests that the wicked will be condemned to a salted land.

Is that why America is being heavily salted, both through our food and in our lands and waters?  

God punished Lot's wife by turning her to a pillar of salt.  He promised to turn the land of the Israelites to salt if they worshipped/obeyed false gods (rulers/lawgivers other than Jehovah Himself).  Americans currently worship the  State as lord and savior, and break all the ten commandments with impunity.  We tolerate and even applaud adultery, fornication, sodomy, theft, murder (including abortion), dishonesty, greed, envy, jealousy, covetousness, blasphemy and disrespect of ancestors (mothers and fathers). Is God allowing wicked greedy entities to burn up our bodies and our land with dietary and environmental salt as recompense for our wickedness?  

Oh my, that's not "scientific" is it?  We can't talk about God acting on earth can we?  Yes, we can, in fact in the history of the world, its a normal thing to do.   The idea that there is some material reality independent consciousness/intelligence is in principle impossible to prove, because all proving requires the presence of some consciousness.  Anything outside the realm of consciousness would be impossible to prove because inaccessible to consciousness; and anything that can be proven to be either be present or existing is by that proof shown to be within the realm (domain) of consciousness/intelligence.  

But I digress. 

I will provide further evidence of the evil (anti-life) effects of salt on human health in future posts.  Now let's continue with Biblical passages about salt.


Ezekiel 43:24:  Instructions requiring priests to sprinkle salt on items brought for sacrifice before burning  the offerings completely on the altar to the LORD. 

Ezekiel 47:11:  Describes some swamps and marshes that will not become fresh but will be "left to salt."

Its also worth mentioning here the recipe for bread given in Ezekiel 4:9 (KJV):  

"Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches [spelt], and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof."

Note that this recipe does not include salt.  

Matthew and Mark

 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." 

By plain reading, Jesus did not a make a recommendation for adding salt to food.  He is obviously speaking metaphorically.

Regarding time and place of the New Testament, Jesus was speaking in Palestine which was under Roman control at the time.  At the time, salt was a scarce and very highly valued commodity, such that it was actually used as money.  The word "salary" comes from the Latin salarium, "an allowance, stipend, pension," originally from the word salarius "of or pertaining to salt; yearly revenue from the sale of salt" which in turn came from the root sal, salt. [1] 

The ancient use of salt for money gave rise to such sayings as "worth his salt" which would be "worth his wages" or "worth his salary."  Thus, to say "ye are the salt of the earth" at the time meant "ye are valuable men who do valuable work."

Jesus certainly knew that physical salt will never "lose its saltiness" in the sense of losing its flavor on the tongue.  He was speaking of "saltiness" metaphorically; saltiness simply represents the value of salt.  As He clearly states, without saltiness, salt would be worthless; similarly, gold would be worthless if it lost its "goldiness," i.e. if it was no longer gold.  Further, Jesus understood the laws of economics (they are critical to God's law, and that's why the tax collectors followed Him, Luke 15:1), and knew that if salt lost its "saltiness," or value in the marketplace, due to greatly increased supply, people would dump it under their feet.  (Notice He did not say that they would eat it; they would dump it to be trodden under foot.)

To emphasize the point, consider that today, as a matter of fact, salt still tastes salty, but it no longer has "saltiness" or value as money. No one would accept a salary in salt today, because salt is now so abundant and cheap, and in  many places with iced roads we now cast it on the walkways and roads to be trodden under foot!  

In Matt 5:13 the Greek word translated "lose its savour" is moranthe: "from moros, to become insipid; figuratively, to make as a simpleton." [2]  The English word moron comes from the same Greek root (moros), which means "foolish, dull, sluggish, stupid." [3]  Thus Jesus was playing on words.  He was saying to His disciples, in effect, "You currently have some value, but if you act moronic, you'll lose your value, and what will redeem you? for you will become as worthless as dust beneath the feet."  

Mark 9:49-50 "49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.  50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another."

Mark 9:49 obviously has nothing to do with use of salt in the diet.  The first half of the sentence – "salted with fire" – is metaphorical for purification; the second half is a repeat of the rule that sacrifices must be salted before being sacrificed – not eaten, but wholly burned. 

In Mark 9:50 the Greek word translated "good" is kalon which means "valuable or virtuous." [4] Salt is not "virtuous" therefore the meaning here is valuable; salt was at the time valuable, of course, otherwise people would not have used it as money.  Conversely, if salt did lose its "saltiness," i.e. its value, how would you make it salty – valuable – again?  Clearly Jesus is not advocating a salted diet, He is urging His people to have value, by having virtue, namely love for God and neighbor, in themselves, as this – not salted food or salty blood and body fluids – is what will enable us to have peace among ourselves.  

Here I just have to emphasize that Jesus and His disciples clearly defined what it means to love your neighbor, and it has nothing to do with liking or having affection for your neighbor, nor does it mean tolerating all manner of evil behavior among your neighbors.  To love your neighbor is to do no evil to him, which means to follow – fulfill and execute – God's law, as given in the Old Testament: 

Jesus Himself declared: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Matt 5:17  

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that liveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any there commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."  Romans 13:8-10  

To conclude, when Jesus called His disciples the salt of the earth, He was doing so because they were doers of the word, i.e. fulfillers of the law:

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgetters what manner of man he was. But whoso locket into the perfect law of liberty, and continuity therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."  James 1:22-25

Just realize that "doing the law" doesn't mean doing something to your neighbor, but not-doing harm, by not doing adultery, not killing, not stealing (not taking life, liberty, privacy or property), not bearing false witness, not coveting, and not doing anything else to anyone that you would not have done to yourself.    


Luke 14:34: "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?"

This is the same passage as Matthew 5:13 and Mark 9:49, which I will discuss in part 2.  It is not a recommendation for adding salt to food.  


Collossians 4:6: "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

Obviously this is metaphorical.  You don't season your speech with physical salt. 


James 3:12: "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."

This passage comes at the end of a paragraph discussing the difficulty and need of controlling the tongue, because "out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing."  The point is that your speech reveals your character.  Is your mouth a fountain of sweet fresh water, or bitter salt water?


The Hebrew word for salt – melech – is also the root from which the Hebrews derived their word for king or ruler – melek – and from this the name of the chief deity of the heathen Ammonites, Moloch, also known as Melech, Melek, and Malik.  This means two things: 1) human kings/rulers act like salt, and 2) Moloch worship is in fact worship of human rulers or authorities: making men or mankind, or any of the creations of man, including governments, into idols/gods to be glorified and obeyed.  

The Hebrew word elohiym can mean magistrates, or human administrators of law; gods in the sense of false gods; or the Supreme Being.  This is so because the ancient Hebrews recognized that all of these can rule over – lord over – mankind; and conversely, magistrates or kings often behave as if they are gods, above the law.  They knew that there were many false gods, among them all human kings.

Isaiah 14:9 and Revelation 19:19 state that all kings (rulers, legislators) of earth are from hell and stand against God.  The Bible repeatedly states that Molech is a god that demands human - specifically child – sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 32:35).  God's Word warns against setting up human rulers/governors/kings/legislators, because human rulers are by nature selfish and always  consume human life and create hell on earth through man-made "laws," which laws embody and promote selfishness, money-worship, theft, murder, fakery, slavery and taxation (see 1 Samuel 8).  

Moloch is the Beast that demands that everyone obey his myriad of laws and sacrifice their lives to support him by taxation and by fighting wars for him. If you don't give him what he requires in taxes, or you refuse to be cannon-fodder for him, he will put you in jail or murder you.  

Thus, human kings (melek) and false gods (Melech) act like salt (melech) because they corrode, eat away and destroy human life, liberty and property, just as salt corrodes, eats away and destroys metals, land, and living things.  

God created man and from the beginning He commanded mankind never to worship/obey anyone other than his Creator. Unfortunately mankind is prone to the sin of worshipping himself as god, which is done every time any one thinks he or she can act as a law unto him- or her-self, doing whatever seems right in his or her own eyes.  We call this putting oneself above the Law (in short, selfishness).  

God's Word teaches that when people worship/idolize man (and his reasoning) rather than the true God, God will punish such idolaters by Law, because in reality no man is above God's Law.  When the people of a nation live unrighteously, breaking the commandments, and forsaking the true God and His Laws in favor of worshipping man and man's creations (including fake "laws"), they will be subjected to the tyranny of human rulers (kings)  –  melek, Moloch – as punishment.  This is another way of "salting" (distressing) a people and a land.

Molech (king, ruler, authority) worship is always accompanied by Baal worship.  Baal is the Biblical name for the pagan god of sexual license, today called "sexual liberation."  Baal worship ritual consist of "having a ball," which is a euphemism for orgiastic sexual rituals. This may be related to the practice of calling a man's testicles his "balls;" worshiping Baal is worshipping the "balls" i.e. the sensual sex impulse. A ball- or Baal-worshipper obeys the commands of – is slave of – the beastly, disorderly, "natural" sexual appetite rather than the super-natural intelligence that gives mankind the ability to understand the Divine laws – logos – that govern (rule) nature from above. 

Engaging in the worship of sexuality through sexual "liberation" always results in unwanted children.  Molech worship "solves" this problematic side-effect of Baal worship by providing a rationale for killing children – specifically, sacrificing the unwanted children that result from Baal worship.  Among the pagans, the unwanted children resulting from Baal worship were then burned in fire as a human sacrifice to Molech.  

Baal and Molech worship have been repackaged into a new religion called humanism which teaches that man is the measure of all things, the maker of all laws, and the only being worthy of human attention.    

Humanists worship man, man's reasonings (including so-called science), and man's law (government) as the supreme authority.   Their religion includes indoctrination into the humanist belief system through "public education" (that excludes competing belief systems), small scale rituals such as court proceedings (notably overseen by bailiffs), and large scale rituals such as voting in elections; all designed to ensure that all subjects of the realm will memorize and spout the doctrine produced by its priest-magicians (scientists) and obey the laws produced by its false gods/rulers (e

Humanists worship Baal by viewing pornography and engaging in lawless (=loveless) sexual promiscuity, also known as fornication and adultery.  Then they sacrifice the unwanted children to Molech through abortion.  Yes, human sacrifice rituals are alive and well in modern America, both approved and funded by Molech (the government).   

But I have digressed from the main point of this section, which is: the Hebrew language and Bible actually link salt (melech) with tyranny by human kings (melek) and their false gods (Molech) that demand human sacrifice and corrode, eat up and destroy nations.

That's It

I've finished discussing all the passages that include the word "salt"  (Hebrew: melech; Greek: halas) in both the Old and New Testaments.  

I've found no evidence that the Bible recommends adding salt to daily food for support of health.  The one passage that mentions adding salt to food (Job 6:6) clearly presents the desire for salt on food as a sensual desire for highly flavored food, not as an indication that one needs salt on so-called "unsavory" food.  

The one recipe for bread (Ezekiel 4:9) does not include salt.

Both the Hebrew language and the Bible clearly recognize that salt is destructive to land and life.   The idea that the Bible regards salt as "good" for humanity beyond its commodity and money value has no evident foundation in the text itself.  On the contrary, the Bible consistently presents salting of people and lands – including subjecting them to salty tyrants – as a punishment for wickedness.