BONE. In the living body, bones form the strong framework, and the connotation is one of strength. “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen.2.23) was spoken in a literal sense of Eve; but almost the same words (Gen.29.14), spoken by Laban to Jacob, are figurative and show only kinship. Strong chastening is thought of as a bone-breaking experience (Ps.51.8), and the terrible writhing on the cross of Calvary literally threw bones out of joint (Ps.22.14). Dry bones form a picture of hopeless death (Ezek.37.1-Ezek.37.12). The Passover lamb, without a broken bone (Exod.12.46), was a type of the Lamb of God (John.19.36).

In contrast Jeremiah 8:1 shows how the dead may be discredited by exhumation and exposure of the skeleton. Along with flesh, bones were the part of the body referred to in declaring kinship (Gen 2:23; 29:14; Judg 9:2; 2 Sam 19:13).

In several instances the word appears as the figure of speech called the synecdoche in which a part stands for the whole. Job and David describe physical anguish in this way (Job 20:11; 30:17; Ps 6:2; 22:14; 32:3 [KJV]; 38:3). When viewed in this sense the Messianic reference in Psalm 22:14 need not mean that crucifixion led to dislocations.

Ezekiel’s vision (Ezek 37) centers around the valley of dry bones. The bones stand for a lifeless spiritual Israel who came to life only under the influence of God’s Spirit.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

H. L. E. Luering