Matthew 5:13
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Ye are the salt of the earth.—The words are spoken to the disciples in their ideal character, as the germ of a new Israel, called to a prophetic work, preserving the earth from moral putrescence and decay. The general reference to this antiseptic action of salt is (as in Colossians 4:6, and possibly in the symbolic act of Elisha, 2Kings 2:21) enough to give an adequate meaning to the words, but the special reference to the sacrificial use of salt in Mark 9:49 (see Note there) makes it probable enough that there was some allusion to that thought also here.

If the salt have lost his savour.—The salt commonly used by the Jews of old, as now, came from Jebel-Usdum, on the shores of the Dead Sea, and was known as the Salt of Sodom. Maundrell, the Eastern traveller (circ. A.D. 1690), reports that he found lumps of rock-salt there which had become partially flavourless, but I am not aware that this has been confirmed by recent travellers. Common salt, as is well known, will melt if exposed to moisture, but does not lose its saltness. The question is more curious than important, and does not affect the ideal case represented in our Lord’s words.

Wherewith shall it be salted?—The words imply a relative if not an absolute impossibility. If gifts, graces, blessings, a high calling, and a high work fail, what remains? The parable finds its interpretation in Hebrews 6:1-6.

To be trodden under foot of men.—The Talmud shows (Schottgen in loc.) that the salt which had become unfit for sacrificial use in the store-house was sprinkled in wet weather upon the slopes and steps of the temple to prevent the feet of the priests from slipping, and we may accordingly see in our Lord’s words a possible reference to this practice.

Matthew 5:13. Ye — Not the apostles, not ministers only; but all who possess and manifest the graces spoken of in the preceding verses, and are truly holy and righteous; are the salt of the earth — Appointed to be the means of preventing or curing the growth of that corruption which prevails in the world, and of seasoning men’s minds with wisdom and grace. But if the salt have lost its savour — Or, be grown insipid, and therefore want seasoning itself, wherewith shall it be salted — By what means can its lost virtue be restored? The word μωρανθη, rendered have lost its savour, has peculiar strength and beauty, and is literally, be infatuated, or, grown foolish, “alluding,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to the common figure, in which sense and spirit are expressed by salt.” It is thenceforth good for nothing — It is wholly useless, and left to be thrown out of doors, and trampled on by men as the common dirt in the streets: “thus worthless and contemptible will you, my disciples, be, even in the most eminent stations, if you lose your character for real and vital religion.” The following passage of Mr. Maundrell, quoted by Dr. Macknight, illustrates our Lord’s supposition of salt’s losing its savour. In the valley of Salt, near Gebul, and about four hours’ journey from Aleppo, there is a small precipice, occasioned by the continual taking away of the salt. “In this,” says he, “you may see how the veins of it lie; I brake a piece off it, of which the part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour. The innermost part, which had been connected to the rock, retained its savour, as I found by proof.”5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as they should be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a man can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. Our light must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. We must aim at the glory of God.Ye are the salt of the earth - Salt renders food pleasant and palatable, and preserves from putrefaction. So Christians, by their lives and instructions, are to keep the world from entire moral corruption. By bringing down the blessing of God in answer to their prayers, and by their influence and example, they save the world from universal vice and crime.

Salt have lost its savour - That is, if it has become tasteless, or has lost its preserving properties. The salt used in this country is a chemical compound - chloride of sodium - and if the saltness were lost, or it were to lose its savor, there would be nothing remaining. It enters into the very nature of the substance. In eastern countries, however, the salt used was impure, or mingled with vegetable or earthy substances, so that it might lose the whole of its saltness, and a considerable quantity of earthy matter remain. This was good for nothing, except that it was used to place in paths, or walks, as we use gravel. This kind of salt is common still in that country. It is found in the earth in veins or layers, and when exposed to the sun and rain, loses its saltness entirely. Maundrell says, "I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savor. The inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained its savor, as I found by proof. So Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. pp. 43, 44) says, "I have often seen just such salt, and the identical disposition of it that our Lord has mentioned. A merchant of Sidon having farmed of the government the revenue from the importation of salt, brought over an immense quantity from the marshes of Cyprus - enough, in fact, to supply the whole province for at least 20 years. This he had transferred to the mountains, to cheat the government out of some small percentage. Sixty-five houses in June - Lady Stanhope's village were rented and filled with salt. These houses have merely earthen floors, and the salt next the ground, in a few years, entirely spoiled. I saw large quantities of it literally thrown into the street, to be trodden underfoot by people and beasts. It was 'good for nothing.'

"It should be stated in this connection that the salt used in this country is not manufactured by boiling clean salt water, nor quarried from mines, but is obtained from marshes along the seashore, as in Cyprus, or from salt lakes in the interior, which dry up in summer, as the one in the desert north of Palmyra, and the great lake of Jebbul, southeast of Aleppo.

"Maundrell, who visited the lake at Jebbul, tells us that he found salt there which had entirely 'lost its savor,' and the same abounds among the debris at Usdum, and in other localities of rocksalt at the south end of the Dead Sea. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that the salt of this country, when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered, much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all, and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust - not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown; and this is the reason why it is cast into the street. There is a sort of verbal verisimilitude in the manner in which our Lord alludes to the act: 'it is cast out' and 'trodden under foot;' so troublesome is this corrupted salt, that it is carefully swept up, carried forth, and thrown into the street. There is no place about the house, yard, or garden where it can be tolerated. No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street, and there it is cast to be trodden underfoot of men."

13-16. We have here the practical application of the foregoing principles to those disciples who sat listening to them, and to their successors in all time. Our Lord, though He began by pronouncing certain characters to be blessed—without express reference to any of His hearers—does not close the beatitudes without intimating that such characters were in existence, and that already they were before Him. Accordingly, from characters He comes to persons possessing them, saying, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you," &c. (Mt 5:11). And now, continuing this mode of direct personal address, He startles those humble, unknown men by pronouncing them the exalted benefactors of their whole species.

Ye are the salt of the earth—to preserve it from corruption, to season its insipidity, to freshen and sweeten it. The value of salt for these purposes is abundantly referred to by classical writers as well as in Scripture; and hence its symbolical significance in the religious offerings as well of those without as of those within the pale of revealed religion. In Scripture, mankind, under the unrestrained workings of their own evil nature, are represented as entirely corrupt. Thus, before the flood (Ge 6:11, 12); after the flood (Ge 8:21); in the days of David (Ps 14:2, 3); in the days of Isaiah (Isa 1:5, 6); and in the days of Paul (Eph 2:1-3; see also Job 14:4; 15:15, 16; Joh 3:6; compared with Ro 8:8; Tit 3:2, 3). The remedy for this, says our Lord here, is the active presence of His disciples among their fellows. The character and principles of Christians, brought into close contact with it, are designed to arrest the festering corruption of humanity and season its insipidity. But how, it may be asked, are Christians to do this office for their fellow men, if their righteousness only exasperate them, and recoil, in every form of persecution, upon themselves? The answer is: That is but the first and partial effect of their Christianity upon the world: though the great proportion would dislike and reject the truth, a small but noble band would receive and hold it fast; and in the struggle that would ensue, one and another even of the opposing party would come over to His ranks, and at length the Gospel would carry all before it.

but if the salt have lost his savour—"become unsavory" or "insipid"; losing its saline or salting property. The meaning is: If that Christianity on which the health of the world depends, does in any age, region, or individual, exist only in name, or if it contain not those saving elements for want of which the world languishes,

wherewith shall it be salted?—How shall the salting qualities be restored to it? (Compare Mr 9:50). Whether salt ever does lose its saline property—about which there is a difference of opinion—is a question of no moment here. The point of the case lies in the supposition—that if it should lose it, the consequence would be as here described. So with Christians. The question is not: Can, or do, the saints ever totally lose that grace which makes them a blessing to their fellow men? But, What is to be the issue of that Christianity which is found wanting in those elements which can alone stay the corruption and season the tastelessness of an all-pervading carnality? The restoration or non-restoration of grace, or true living Christianity, to those who have lost it, has, in our judgment, nothing at all to do here. The question is not, If a man lose his grace, how shall that grace be restored to him? but, Since living Christianity is the only "salt of the earth," if men lose that, what else can supply its place? What follows is the appalling answer to this question.

it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out—a figurative expression of indignant exclusion from the kingdom of God (compare Mt 8:12; 22:13; Joh 6:37; 9:34).

and to be trodden under foot of men—expressive of contempt and scorn. It is not the mere want of a certain character, but the want of it in those whose profession and appearance were fitted to beget expectation of finding it.

In our Christian course we are not to trouble ourselves with what men say of us, and do unto us, but only to attend to our duty of holiness, and an exemplary life, which is what our Saviour presseth plainly, Matthew 5:16, and leads his hearers to it by four comparisons, which he institutes between them and four other things. The first we have in this verse,

Ye are the salt of the earth: the doctrine which you profess is so, a thing as opposite as can be to the putrefaction of the world, both in respect to corrupt doctrine and corrupt manners (therefore, by the way, it will be no wonder if they resist it by reviling and persecuting you).

You are the salt of the earth: through the grace of God bestowed upon you, Mark 9:50 Colossians 4:6. If it were not for the number of sound and painful ministers, and holy and gracious persons, the earth would be but a stinking dunghill of drunkards, unclean persons, thieves, murderers, unrighteous persons, that would be a stench in the nostrils of a pure and holy God. Look as it is in the world,

if the salt hath lost its savour, its acrimony, by which it opposeth putrefaction in fish and flesh, not the fish or flesh only will be good for nothing, but the salt itself, so infatuated, (as it is in the Greek), will be

good for nothing, but to be cast upon a dunghill and trodden under foot. So it is with ministers of the gospel, so with the professors of it; if they have lost their soundness in the faith, and holiness of life, they are of no value, nay, they are worse than other men. Money, if it be clipped in pieces, and hath lost its usefulness as coin, yet is of use for a goldsmith; meat corrupted, if it will not serve for men, yet will feed dogs; salt is good for nothing. No more are pretended ministers or Christians; their excellency lies in their savour; if that be lost, wherewith shall they be salted? Of what use are they, unless to cause the name of God and religion to be blasphemed? Such another similitude the prophet useth, Ezekiel 15:2,3. Ye are the salt of the earth,.... This is to be understood of the disciples and apostles of Christ; who might be compared to "salt", because of the savoury doctrines they preached; as all such are, which are agreeable to the Scriptures, and are of the evangelic kind, which are full of Christ, serve to exalt him, and to magnify the grace of God; and are suitable to the experiences of the saints, and are according to godliness, and tend to promote it: also because of their savoury lives and conversations; whereby they recommended, and gave sanction to the doctrines they preached, were examples to the saints, and checks upon wicked men. These were the salt "of the earth"; that is, of the inhabitants of the earth, not of the land of Judea only, where they first lived and preached, but of the whole world, into which they were afterwards sent to preach the Gospel.

But if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? The "savour" here supposed that it may be lost, cannot mean the savour of grace, or true grace itself, which cannot be lost, being an incorruptible seed; but either gifts qualifying men for the ministry, which may cease; or the savoury doctrines of the Gospel, which may be departed from; or a seeming savoury conversation, which may be neglected; or that seeming savour, zeal, and affection, with which the Gospel is preached, which may be dropped: and particular respect seems to be had to Judas, whom Christ had chosen to the apostleship, and was a devil; and who he knew would lose his usefulness and place, and become an unprofitable wretch, and at last be rejected of God and men; and this case is proposed to them all, in order to engage them to take heed to themselves, their doctrine and ministry. Moreover, this is but a supposition;

if the salt, &c. and proves no matter of fact; and the Jews have a saying (k), that all that season lose their savour "hmej hgypm hnya but salt does not lose its savour". Should it do so,

it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot. Salt is good for nothing, but to make things savoury, and preserve from putrefacation; and when it has lost its savour, it is of no use, neither to men nor beasts, as some things are when corrupted; nor is it of any use to the land, or dunghill, for it makes barren, and not fruitful: so ministers of the word, when they have dropped the savoury doctrines of the Gospel, or have quitted their former seeming savoury and exemplary conversations; as their usefulness is gone, so, generally speaking, it is never retrieved; they are cast out of the churches of Christ, and are treated with contempt by everyone.

(k) T. Bab. Betzah, fol. 14. 1.

Ye {2} are the salt of the {d} earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be {e} salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

(2) The ministers of the word especially (unless they will be the most cowardly of all) must lead others both by word and deed to this greatest joy and happiness.

(d) Your doctrine must be very sound and good, for if it is not so, it will be not regarded and cast away as a thing unsavoury and vain.

(e) What will you have to salt with? And so are fools in the Latin tongue called saltless, as you would say, men that have no salt or savour and taste in them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 5:13. Τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς] A figure of the power which counteracts corruption, and preserves in a sound condition—the effect which salt has upon water (2 Kings 2:20), meat, and such like. Thus the ministry of the disciples was destined by the communication of the divine truth to oppose the spiritual corruption and powerlessness of men, and to be the means of bringing about their moral soundness and power of life. An allusion to the use of salt in sacrifices (Mark 9:49) is not hinted at here (in answer to Tholuck). Comp. rather Colossians 4:6; Theodoret, Heracleon (in Cramer, Cat. p. 33): ἅλας τ. γῆς ἐστιν τὸ ψυχικὸν ἄρτυμα. Without this salt humanity would have fallen a prey to spiritual φθορά. Fritzsche, overlooking the positive efficacy of salt, derives the figure only from its indispensable nature. Observe, moreover, how the expression τῆς γῆς, as a designation of the mass of the inhabitants of the earth, who are to be worked upon by the salt, is as appropriately selected for this figure as τοῦ κόσμου for the following one. And Jesus thus even now throws down the thought of universal destination into the souls of the disciples as a spark to be preserved.

μωρανθῇ] will have become savourless, Mark 9:50 : ἄναλον γένηται; Dioscorides in Wetstein: ῥίζαι γευσαμένῳ μωραί.

ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται;] by what means will it again receive its salting power? Theophylact: διορθωθήσεται. Laying figures aside: If you, through failing to preserve the powers bestowed upon you, and by allowing them to perish, become in despondency and torpidity unfaithful to your destiny and unfitted for your calling, how will you raise yourselves again to the power and efficiency appropriate to your vocation, which you have lost.[397] Your uselessness for your calling will then be an irreparabile damnum! “Non enim datur sal salis,” Jansen. Grotius well says, “ipsi emendare alios debebant, non autern exspectare, ut ab aliis ipsi emendarentur.” Augustine, de serm. in mont. Matthew 1:16. Luther differently: Wherewith shall one salt? Erasmus, Paraphr.: “quid tandem erit reliquum, quo multitudinis insulsa vita condiatur?” Putting figure aside: Who, then, will supply your place? However appropriate in itself this meaning might be, nevertheless εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει stands opposed to it.[398] See also Mark 9:50.

ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρ.] ab hominibus “obviis quibusque,” Bengel.

[397] Whether the salt can really become quite insipid and without power, and thus lose its essential property, is not at all the question. Jesus puts the case. We need not therefore either appeal, with Paulus, to the salt which has been exposed to the weather and become tasteless, which Maundrell (Reise nach Pal. p. 162; Rosenmüller, Morgenland, in loc.) found in the district of Aleppo, or make out of the common cooking salt, saltpetre (Altmann, Vriemoet), or asphalt (v. d. Hardt, Schoettgen), or sea-salt (Ebrard).

[398] This εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει, etc., clearly sets forth its utter uselessness for the purpose for which it was designed, not the exclusion from the community, or the being rejected by Christ (Luther, Chemnitz, and others), to which the idea, “it is fit for nothing but,” is not appropriate. It would be different if Christ had said βληθήσεται ἕξω, etc. Theophylact understands exclusion from the dignity of teacher; Chrysostom, Erasmus, and others, the most supreme contempt.—Observe, moreover, that the expression ἰσχύει (has power for nothing except, etc.), and so on, contains an acumen in its relation to the following passive βληθῆναι, etc.

Matthew 5:13-16. The course of thought: The more important and influential your destined calling is, all the less ought you to allow yourselves to be dispirited, and to become faithless to your calling through indignities and persecutions; you are the salt and the light! Weizsäcker rightly claims for this section (in answer to Holtzmann, Weiss) originality in this connection, in which it attaches itself with great significance to the last beatitude and its explanation.Matthew 5:13-16. Disciple functions. It is quite credible that these sentences formed part of the Teaching on the Hill. Jesus might say these things at a comparatively early period to the men to whom He had already said: I will make you fishers of men. The functions assigned to disciples here are not more ambitious than that alluded to at the time of their call. The new section rests on what goes before, and postulates possession of the attributes named in the Beatitudes. With these the disciples will be indeed the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Vitally important functions are indicated by the two figures. Nil sole et sale utilius was a Roman proverb (Pliny, H. N., 31, 9). Both harmonise with, the latter points expressly to, a universal destination of the new religion. The sun lightens all lands. Both also show how alien it was from the aims of Christ to be the teacher of an esoteric faith.(2) Their responsibility, Matthew 5:13-16.

13. Ye are the salt of the earth] Here the disciples and primarily the Apostles are addressed. Those who fulfil the condition of discipleship have a responsibility laid upon them.

have lost his savour] i. e. become tasteless. Salt is essential to all organized life, it is also the great preservative from corruption. If these virtues pass from it, it is worse than useless. It cannot even be thrown on the fields, it must be cast into the street to be trodden under foot. (See a very interesting illustration of this in Land and Book, pp. 381, 382.) So to the apostles who hold the highest and most necessary places in the kingdom of God, there is no middle course, either they must be the salt of the earth, be its very life, or fall utterly. If not Peter, then Judas.Matthew 5:13-14. Ὑμεῖς, you) sc. the first disciples and hearers of the Messiah. Salt and light are, in nature, things essential, and of widest use. Frequently in Scripture the same thing is first declared by metaphorical expressions, that our attention may be excited: and then, when we have not understood it as we ought, and in the meanwhile have perceived our blindness, it is disclosed in plain words.—τῆς γῆς, of the earth).—τοῦ κόσμου, of the world) The earth of itself is without salt, the world without light.—ἐαν, κ.τ.λ., if, etc.) It is not affirmed in this passage, that salt does lose its savour; but it is shown what, in such a case, would be the lot of the Salt of the earth.—μωρανθῇ, should lose its savour) Galen,[178] in his observations on Hippocrates, explains ΜΕΜΩΡΩΜΈΝΑ (the perf. pass. part. of this verb) by ΤᾺ ἈΝΑΊΣΘΗΤΑ, i.e., which have no feeling; in Mark 9:50, we find ἄναλον γένηται, become saltless. It is the nature of salt to have and to give savour; and to this savour are opposed saltlessness, want of taste, value lost.—ἁλισθήσεται, shall it be salted) Impersonal. Neither can the salt (see Mark, cited above) nor the earth be seasoned from any other source.—ἔξω, out of doors) far from any household use.—καὶ, and) sc. and therefore.—καταπατεῖσθαι, to be trodden under foot) There is nothing more despised than one who wishes to be esteemed divine, and is not so.[179]—ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, by men) i.e., by all who come in its way. This is the force here of the article τῶν.

[178] Hippocrates, the greatest physician of antiquity, was born at the island of Cos in the 80th Olympiad, and flourished during the time of the Peloponnesian War. Galen, second only to Hippocrates, was born at Pergamus, in the Lesser Asia, about the year 131.—See ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA.—(I. B.)

[179] The mere man of the world is not so much disgraced by his vanity as is such a one.—Vers. Germ.Verse 13. - Ye are the salt, etc. (cf. a similar saying in Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34, 35). Weiss thinks that St. Luke gives it in its original context; that St. Matthew is right in interpreting it as of special reference to the disciples; and that St. Mark applies it the most freely. It may, indeed, be that its position here is only the result of the inspired guidance of the evangelist; but, on the whole, it seems more probable that so natural a figure was used more than once by our Lord, and that he really spoke these words in his sermon on the mount, as well as on the later occasion indicated by St. Luke. Ye; i.e. the μαθηταί of ver. 1. Are, in fact (ἐστέ); therefore recognize the responsibility. The salt of the earth. It has been disputed whether allusion is here made to the preservative properties of salt or to the flavour it imparts; i.e. whether Christ is thinking of his disciples as preserving the world from decay, or as giving it a good flavour to the Divine taste. Surely a useless question; forgetful of the fact that spiritual realities are being dealt with, and that it is therefore impossible for the one effect to be really separated from the other. Our Lord is thinking of the moral tone which his disciples are to give to humanity. The connexion with vers. 11, 12 is - Persecution must be borne unless you are to lose your moral tone, which is to be to the earth what salt is to its surroundings, preserving from corruption and fitting for (in your case Divine) appreciation. What χάρις is to be to the Christian λόγος (Colossians 4:6), that the Christian himself is to be to the world. If... have lost its savour (μωρανθῇ); so elsewhere in Luke 14:34 only. Salt that has lost its distinctive qualities is here said to lack its proper mind or sense. Salt without sharpness is like an ἄνθρωπος ἄλογος; for man is a ζῶον λογικόν. On the fact of salt losing its virtue, cf. Thomson ('Land and the Book,' p. 382: 1887), "It is a well-known fact that the salt of this country [i.e. Palestine] when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered [vide infra], much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all; and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust - not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown.... No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street; and there it is cast, to be trodden under foot of men." It should be observed that the salt used in Palestine is not manufactured by boiling clean salt water, nor quarried from mines, but is obtained from marshes along the seashore, as in Cyprus, or from salt lakes in the interior, which dry up in summer, as the one in the desert north of Palmyra, and the great Lake of Jebbul, south-east of Aleppo. Further, rock-salt is found in abundance at the south end of the Dead Sea (cf. Thomson, loc. cit). Wherewith shall it be salted? i.e. not if you will not act as salt, wherewith shall the earth be salted? (apparently Luther and Erasmus); but what quality can take the place of moral tone to produce in you the same result? You are as salt. If you lose your distinctive qualities, where, can you find that which answers to them? It is thenceforth good for nothing. Our Lord here lays stress, not on want of fitness (εὔθετον, Luke), but on want of inherent power. "It is only useful for that purpose to which one applies what is absolutely useless" (Weiss-Meyer). Have lost his savour (μωρανθῇ)

The kindred noun (μωρός) means dull, sluggish; applied to the mind, stupid or silly; applied to the taste, insipid, flat. The verb here used of salt, to become insipid, also means to play the fool. Our Lord refers here to the familiar fact of salt losing its pungency and becoming useless. Dr. Thompson ("The Land and the Book") cites the following case: "A merchant of Sidon, having farmed of the government the revenue from the importation of salt, brought over a great quantity from the marshes of Cyprus - enough, in fact, to supply the whole province for many years. This he had transferred to the mountains, to cheat the government out of some small percentage of duty. Sixty-five houses were rented and filled with salt. Such houses have merely earthen floors, and the salt next the ground was in a few years entirely spoiled. I saw large quantities of it literally thrown into the road to be trodden under foot of men and beasts. It was 'good for nothing.'"

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