Each year at Easter I try to read two books. One is Rosen’s “Christ in the Passover” and the other is “The Blood Covenant” by Trumbull. Once again I added a new wrinkle to our Easter Love Feast. By reading Rosen’s book I decided to ask the church to bring in china for the meal verses paper plates and plastic utensils. It added a nice touch to the meal. This year my copy of “The Blood Covenant” was with Teddy in prison, so I re-read Trumbull’s “The Salt Covenant”. Sergai had preached a blood covenant message at conference using a reference to the salt covenant. The point being that the salt covenant stands with the blood covenant as a ritual practiced by all ancient societies to join two lives together in loving covenant.
The “salt covenant” is only mentioned three times in the bible and the book is much smaller than his “blood covenant” book. What I enjoy about his writing of these books in the med 1800’s is his use of literature and our historical interactions with the Arab people. He will mention Morgiana, the slave girl of Ali Baba. It was she who watched the guests at an Ali Baba party to see one who carefully refrained from eating the salt with his meal. She knowing the power of the salt covenant realized that this man was refraining from eating the salt so as he would be free to do damage to Ali Baba. I will just add this: even Howard in his “Conan” novels would mention and understand the power of a salt covenant that went with eating another’s salt. Our author would use the story of a wily Scottish adventurer, who finding himself under the constraints of an unfriendly Sheik, tricked him into tasting some finely grinded salt that he thought was sugar. He mentions Michelangelo’s painting of the last supper, where Judas has knocked over the salt shaker. The Persian word for traitor, includes the thought of a man not worth his salt. It was great reading and just reinforced by love and understanding of my, and ours, blood covenant relationship with God.
I assume since it was such a small book that he added a section on his thinking about the “Ten Commandments”. They are not called the “Ten Commandments” in Hebrew and he points at that the stone tablets are called “the tables of the covenant” and are kept in the “Ark of the Covenant”. I don’t want to rehash his reasoning here, but let me remind you that this covenant was ratified with the sprinkling of blood, half going Godward to the altar and half going to the people. It would be Moses who would be coming to the Israelites asking them to enter into this covenant relationship with God. “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words” (upon all these conditions). God’s half is shortly spoken to them: “I am Jehovah who has delivered you from Egypt”. God’s part is that He will forever be their God.
Their part in coming into this blood covenant relationship is found in the Ten Commandments. They now become not commandments from God but our part in a loving covenant relationship with God. He then does a short, excellent job describing the commandments with this in mind. I am just going to quote his conclusion to end this post:
“God must be recognized as God alone. No heart can love God as God, unless that heart loves God wholly. God must be worshiped spiritually; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and only as a man is lifted above sight and sense can he be in communion with the spiritual and the infinite. Union with God must be sincere and unfeigned; for only by a complete and willing surrender of one’s self can one’s self be merged into a holy and infinite Personality. The loving worship of God must have its stated times, and hence, of course, its stated places, in order to have its fitting hold on the worshiper; and the recognition of this truth in the covenant is the authorization of all legitimate seasons and methods of worship. God’s representatives in the family, in the State, and in the Church, are to be honored as God’s representatives; and herein is the authorization of all right forms of human rule. These are the teachings of the first table of the covenant; and those of the second table are like unto them.”
“He who loves God must love those who are God’s As the Apostle expresses it: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. And this second commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also”. Every child lof man is a child of God. Wayward and prodigal son though he be, he still is one who was made in the image of God; and his Father’s heart goes out toward him unfailingly in love. Hence he who loves the Father must guard with sacredness the life of every child of that Father. He must honor the institution of the family, which is the human hope of the children of that Father. He must hold dear the property possessions and the good name of each and every child of that Father. And in his heart there must be such love for that Father’s children as the children of his Father, that he will have no wish to do aught that shall any one of them in any degree.”