Salt Sea

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The lake on the south of Palestine, now commonly called the Dead Sea, because it was for long judged that nothing having life could exist in it; but some inferior organisms (as the polygaster) have been found in it at its northern end. It is called “the Salt Sea” (Num. 34:3, 123Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward: (Numbers 34:3)
12And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about. (Numbers 34:12)
; Deut. 3:1717The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward. (Deuteronomy 3:17); Josh. 3:1616That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. (Joshua 3:16)): “the Sea of the plain” or “Sea of the Arabah,” RV (Deut. 4:4949And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah. (Deuteronomy 4:49); 2 Kings 14:2525He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. (2 Kings 14:25)); “the East Sea” (Ezek. 47:1818And the east side ye shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side. (Ezekiel 47:18); Joel 2:2020But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he hath done great things. (Joel 2:20)); and simply “the Sea” in Ezekiel 47:88Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:8). The term “Salt Sea” is very appropriate; for it contains much more salt than is found in ordinary sea water, which makes it extremely nauseous. It is also very heavy, so that a person cannot sink in it; and after bathing it leaves a crust of salt on the flesh.
The river Jordan and some streams run into the Salt Sea, but there is no outlet. The rocks that surround it make the heat there very great, and evaporation must be rapid. Its size is about 48 miles long, and 10 miles across at its widest part. Its surface is at times (for it varies according to the rain) about 1,292 feet below the level of the sea, making it, as far as is known, the lowest lake in existence. Its deepest part is about 1,300 feet below the surface. Altogether it is like no other known lake, and is characteristic of death and dreary desolation.
On the restoration of Israel in a future day a river will issue out of the house, the future temple, which river will go down into the desert and run into this sea, and the waters will be healed. En-gedi (Ain Jidy, about half way along the coast of the Dead Sea, on the west) will be one of the stations of the fishermen (Ezek. 47:1-101Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 2Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. 3And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 4Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 5Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 6And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 7Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 9And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. (Ezekiel 47:1‑10)). A beautiful figure of God’s future bringing to life the dead and dry bones of Israel and Judah, and making them the means of life to others.
What connection there is, if any, between the present state of the Salt Sea and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, is not known. In Genesis 14 the battle of the four kings against the five was in “the vale of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea” (Gen. 14:33All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. (Genesis 14:3)). The four kings had come from a distance, but the five kings, of whom the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were two, were near home; farther than this the connection cannot be traced. This sea is now called Bahr Lut, the “Sea of Lot.”