The salt loses its taste (Lk 14:34-14:34)

“Salt is good.

But if salt

Has lost its taste,

How can its saltiness

Be restored?”

 

Καλὸν οὖν τὸ ἅλας· ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἀρτυθήσεται;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (Καλὸν οὖν τὸ ἅλας).  But if the salt has lost its taste (ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ), how can its saltiness be restored or re-seasoned (ἐν τίνι ἀρτυθήσεται)?  This saying of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 9:50, and Matthew, chapter 5:13.  Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative, but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism.  Matthew had Jesus turn to his disciples to remind them that they were the salt of the earth or the land (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς).  The other two gospel writers just had statements about salt, rather than speaking explicitly to the disciples.  Matthew switched to the 3rd person from the 2nd person, when he explained about salt losing its taste (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ).  How can that taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται)?  Mark indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (καλὸν τὸ ἅλας).  However, if the salt has lost its taste or saltiness (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται), if it is insipid, how can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε)?  How can you season the salt?

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Salt is good (Mk 9:50-9:50

“Salt is good.

But if salt

Has lost

Its saltiness,

How can you

Season it?

Have salt

In yourselves.

Be at peace

With one another!”

 

καλὸν τὸ ἅλας· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται, ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε; ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις.

 

This saying of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 5:13, and Luke, chapter 14:34.  Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (καλὸν τὸ ἅλας).  However, if the salt has lost its taste or saltiness (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται), if it is insipid, how can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε)?  How can you season the salt?  Jesus then turned to his followers.  He told them that they should have salt within themselves (ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα), not exactly salt of the earth but close enough.  They should be at peace with one another (καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις).  There was no indication here about throwing salt away because it had become useless as in Matthew and Luke.  Salt would bring about brotherly peace or love.

The washing of cups (Mk 7:4-7:4)

“They do not eat anything

From the market place,

Unless they wash it.

There are many other traditions

That they observe.

They wash

Cups,

Pots,

And bronze plates.”

 

καὶ ἀπ’ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ ῥαντίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν, βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν καὶ χαλκίων,

 

Mark alone continued with his elaboration about the Pharisees and their traditions to his gentile non-Jewish audience.  He said that the Pharisees do not eat anything coming from the market place, unless they wash it first (καὶ ἀπ’ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ ῥαντίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν).  There are many other traditions that they hold or observe (καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν) about washing cups (βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων), pots (καὶ ξεστῶν), and bronze plates (καὶ χαλκίων).  It was obvious that the Pharisees had a keener sense of cleanliness or purity than most gentiles because washing or purification was an important religious practice.

The salt of the earth (Mt 5:13-5:13)

“You are

The salt of the earth!

But if salt

Has lost its taste,

How can saltiness

Be restored?

It is no longer good

For anything,

But is thrown out.

It is trampled

Under foot.”

 

Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

 

This saying of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 9:49-50, and Luke, chapter 14:34-35, but not connected to the Beatitudes at all and with different phraseology. Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism. Matthew has Jesus turn to his disciples to remind them that they are the salt of the earth or the land (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς). Meanwhile, the other two gospel writers just had statements about salt, rather than speaking explicitly to the disciples. Matthew then switched to the 3rd person from the 2nd person, when he explained about salt losing its taste (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ). How can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται)? That salt was now useless, impotent, and not good for anything (εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι). The end result of this tasteless salt was that it should either be thrown away (εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω) or have people trample it down (καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).