The Covenant of Salt is an ancient covenant mentioned in the Old Testament. It was a means of sealing a covenant or agreement between parties. It was a required part of grain offerings, and in fact every offering (Lev. 2:13). According to 2 Chronicles 13:5, the kingdom was given to David by a Covenant of Salt. Colossians 4:6 says our speech is to be seasoned with salt. Salt is essential to life; it heals; preserves; adds flavor or ‘zest’ to food. People in Bible times appreciated the value of salt and it was a required part of sacrifices.
There was a close connection between salt and promises. When men ate together they became friends. For example, the Arabic expression, “There is salt between us” and “He has eaten of my salt,” both represent the cementing of a friendship. Covenants were generally confirmed by sacrificial meals and salt was always present as a symbol of the enduring covenant. The custom of pledging friendship and confirming a compact by eating food-containing salt is still in practice among Arabic-speaking people. The Arabic word for “salt” and for a “compact” or “treaty” is the same. Once even his worst enemy has eaten salt (food) with him, an Arab is bound to protect his guest as long as he remains.
Marriage ceremonies used to last for up to 10 days. They came together every day for a half-hour to listen and repeat the instructions of the priest. After 10 days the groom promised to love and cherish his wife forever, the bride promises to accept the husband in her life, to love and serve him as her Lord. Then salt is brought in and they partake of the Covenant of Salt. An example of what the minister might say while administering the salt covenant is:
“Because Groom and Bride desire to seal this commitment between each other and God, they are giving each other permission to hold each other accountable to the promises made here today. Because they want to preserve these promises, they will now partake of the Covenant of Salt.”
The Bride and Groom take the forefingers of their right hands, dip it into water from a dish or bowl and then put their finger in the salt that is provided in a separate container. They then put the salt in their spouse’s mouth (usually on their tongue as they open their mouths). Just before the salt is put in the mouth, the one receiving the salt says:
“In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I agree to do all that I promise for my (husband/wife), so help me God.”
The covenant of salt is very special. It is nice if the couple has a very special container for the salt that can be kept as a memento during their life. It can be set on the mantle, coffee table, etc. as a wedding photo might be.