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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5137 bones
5137 bones

5137 bones

Associated in Hebrew thought with both death and life. A symbol of the whole person, and also the state of one’s well-being.

Bones represent dead bodies

Human remains to be treated with respect 1Sa 31:13 pp 1Ch 10:12 See also 2Sa 21:12-14; 1Ki 13:31; 2Ki 23:18; Eze 39:15

Non-burial as a sign of disrespect Am 2:1-2

Non-burial as a sign of God’s judgment Ps 53:5 See also 2Ki 9:34-37; Ps 141:7; Jer 8:1-2; Eze 24:4-5,10

Bones were considered to be unclean

Bones made anyone who touched them unclean Nu 19:16 See also Nu 19:18; Mt 23:27

Bones used to desecrate objects of pagan worship 2Ki 23:14 See also 1Ki 13:2; 2Ki 23:16,20; 2Ch 34:5; Eze 6:5

Bones as a sign of hope

The hope of God’s promise Ge 50:25 See also Ex 13:19; Jos 24:32; Heb 11:22 The presence of Joseph’s bones among the Israelites was a constant reminder of God’s promise to Joseph concerning the promised land.

The hope of life after death Eze 37:1-14 See also 2Ki 13:21

The hope of the Passover lamb Jn 19:36 See also Ex 12:46; Nu 9:12; Ps 34:20 Jesus Christ fulfilled the symbolism of the unbroken bones of the Passover lamb.

Bones represent living individuals

Bones indicate a living body Lk 24:39

Bones represent a whole person Ps 35:10 “My whole being” is literally “my bones”. See also Job 2:4-5; Job 10:11; Ps 6:2; Ps 51:7-8; Isa 66:14

Bones represent kinship Ge 2:23 “flesh and blood” in these passages is literally “bone and flesh”: Ge 29:14; Jdg 9:2; 2Sa 5:1 pp 1Ch 11:1; 2Sa 19:12-13

Bones represent physical health

Bones associated with good health Pr 15:30 See also Pr 3:7-8; Pr 16:24

Bones symbolise strength and vigour Job 21:23-24 See also Job 20:11; Job 40:18; Pr 25:15

Bones associated with God’s protection Ps 34:19-20 See also Jn 19:36

Mere skin and bone represents bad health Job 19:20 See also Job 33:21; Ps 102:5; La 4:8

Broken bones symbolise defeat or oppression Nu 24:8 See also Isa 38:13; Jer 50:17; La 3:4; Da 6:24; Mic 3:2-3

Health can be damaged by negative attitudes Pr 14:30 See also Job 4:14; Pr 12:4; Pr 17:22; Hab 3:16

Health can be damaged by sin Ps 38:3 See also Ps 32:3; Ps 109:18; La 1:13

Repentance brings restoration Ps 6:2 See also Ps 51:18

Health can be damaged through obedience to God’s will Jer 23:9 See also Job 30:17; Job 33:19; Ps 22:14,17; Ps 31:10; Ps 42:10; Jer 20:9

See also

1670symbols
5241burial
5297disease
5334health
5560suffering
6020sin
6732repentance
8230discipline
9030dead bodies
9210judgment, God’s
9610hope

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