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Proverbs 17:22

Context

17:22 A cheerful heart 1  brings good healing, 2 

but a crushed spirit 3  dries up the bones. 4 

1 sn Heb “a heart of rejoicing”; KJV “a merry heart”; NAB, NASB “a joyful heart.” This attributive genitive refers to the mind or psyche. A happy and healthy outlook on life brings healing.

2 tc The word “healing” is a hapax legomenon; some have suggested changes, such as to Arabic jihatu (“face”) or to גְּוִיָּה (gÿviah, “body”) as in the Syriac and Tg. Prov 17:22, but the MT makes sense as it is and should be retained.

tn Heb “it causes good a healing.” This means it promotes healing.

3 sn The “crushed spirit” refers to one who is depressed (cf. NAB “a depressed spirit”). “Crushed” is figurative (an implied comparison) for the idea that one’s psyche or will to go on is beaten down by circumstances.

4 sn The “bones” figuratively represent the whole body encased in a boney framework (metonymy of subject). “Fat bones” in scripture means a healthy body (3:8; 15:30; 16:24), but “dried up” bones signify unhealthiness and lifelessness (cf. Ezek 37:1-4).



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