Bones

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