Salted and Swaddled
"Whenever a son of a king, a prince, was born, that child was "salted" and "swaddled." To salt a child meant that soon after birth the newborn babe was gently washed with water having a portion of salt in it. Salt symbolized the qualities of truth and honesty. Bathing a newborn in salt water indicated that the child would have these characteristics. His words would be "salted."
Luke 2:7 - And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
After salting the newborn child, strips of fine linen cloth, about two inches wide, were wrapped from head to foot, with only a part of his face being left uncovered so he could breathe. The baby's body and limbs were held very straight when wrapped in this fashion. These linen strips were not rags and did not mean that Jospeh and Mary were poverty-stricken when they wrapped Jesus, but rather, this was a sign to God that these parents would raise the child to be upright before the Lord, and that he would be free from crookedness and waywardness. The babe would normally be left in the swaddling clothes for only a brief period of time, while the parents took time to meditate and make their commitment to God concerning the sacred trust which was given to them in having the child.
Salting and swaddling were recognizably significant to an Eastern person. In Biblical times, any child born to nobility or royalty would be salted and swaddled. If this were not done, there would be doubt regarding the person's integrity both in his youth and his adulthood. Note the following insult in the Old Testament.
Ezekiel 16:4 . . . thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
To say to a noble-born person that he had not been salted or swaddled was to indicate he was unreliable, dishonest, without integrity - - as though his parents had not gone through the proper ritual at his birth.
According to the customs of the time, Mary and Joseph washed Jesus in salt water before they swaddled him, indicating that he was of royal lineage, as God's Son and as heir to the throne of David."
Quoted from Jesus Christ Our Promised Seed by Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille
© Copyright November 1997 Michael Cortright