Verse 13. "With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." - SALT was the opposite to leaven, for it preserved from putrefaction and corruption, and signified the purity and persevering fidelity that were necessary in the worship of God. Every thing was seasoned with it, to signify the purity and perfection that should be extended through every part of the Divine service, and through the hearts and lives of God's worshippers. It was called the salt of the covenant of God, because as salt is incorruptible, so was the covenant made with Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and the patriarchs, relative to the redemption of the world by the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ. Among the heathens salt was a common ingredient in all their sacrificial offerings; and as it was considered essential to the comfort and preservation of life, and an emblem of the most perfect corporeal and mental endowments, so it was supposed to be one of the most acceptable presents they could make unto their gods, from whose sacrifices it was never absent. That inimitable and invaluable writer, Pliny, has left a long chapter on this subject, the seventh of the thirty-first book of his Natural History, a few extracts from which will not displease the intelligent reader.
Ergo, hercule, vita humanior sine Sale nequit degere: adeoque necessarium elementum est, ut transierit intellectus ad voluptates animi quoque. Nam ita SALES appellantur omnisque vitae lepos et summa hilaritas, labourumque requies non alio magis vocabulo constat. honouribus etiam militiaeque inter ponitur, SALARIIS inde dictis--Maxime tamen in sacris intelligitur auctoritas, quando nulla conficiuntur sine mola salsa. "So essentially necessary is salt that without it human life cannot be preserved: and even the pleasures and endowments of the mind are expressed by it; the delights of life, repose, and the highest mental serenity, are expressed by no other term than sales among the Latins. It has also been applied to designate the honourable rewards given to soldiers, which are called salarii or salaries. But its importance may be farther understood by its use in sacred things, as no sacrifice was offered to the gods without the salt cake." So Virgil, Eclog.viii., ver. lx22: Sparge molam.
"Crumble the sacred mole of salt and corn." And again, AEneid., lib. iv., ver. 5xvii. - Ipsa mola, manibitsque piis, altaria juxta.
"Now with the sacred cake, and lifted hands, All bent on death, before her altar stands." PITT.
In like manner Homer:- passe dÆ alov qeioio, krateuta wn epaeipav.
Iliad, lib. ix., ver. 214.
"And taking sacred salt from the hearth side, Where it was treasured, pour'd it o'er the feast." COWPER.
Quotations of this kind might be easily multiplied, but the above may be deemed sufficient.
Verse 14. "Green ears of corn dried by the fire" - Green or half-ripe ears of wheat parched with fire is a species of food in use among the poor people of Palestine and Egypt to the present day. As God is represented as keeping a table among his people, (for the tabernacle was his house, where he had the golden table, shewbread, &c.,) so he represents himself as partaking with them of all the aliments that were in use, and even sitting down with the poor to a repast on parched corn! We have already seen that these green ears were presented as a sort of eucharistical offering for the blessings of seed time, and the prospect of a plentiful harvest. See the note on "ver. 1"; several other examples might be added here, but they are not necessary. The command to offer salt with every oblation, and which was punctually observed by the Jews, will afford the pious reader some profitable reflections. It is well known that salt has two grand properties. 1. It seasons and renders palatable the principal ailments used for the support of life. 2. It prevents putrefaction and decay. The covenant of God, that is, his agreement with his people, is called a covenant of salt, to denote as we have seen above, its stable undecaying nature, as well as to point out its importance and utility in the preservation of the life of the soul. The grace of God by Christ Jesus is represented under the emblem of salt, (see Mark ix. 49; Ephesians iv. 29; Col. iv. 6,) because of its relishing, nourishing, and preserving quality.
Without it no offering, no sacrifice, no religious service, no work even of charity and mercy, can be acceptable in the sight of God. In all things we must come unto the Father THROUGH HIM. And from none of our sacrifices or services must this salt of the covenant of our God be lacking.