“bones.” Although Proverbs 17:22 is somewhat literal in that a broken spirit, that is “broken” emotions and attitudes, can affect a person’s bones, it is also likely true that “bones” is a metonymy for other parts of the body as well. It is well known that broken emotions and attitudes such as depression, anxiety, or a negative attitude can cause all kinds of physical problems, while in contrast, a cheerful heart can cure many bodily ailments.
In the biblical world, “wet bones” or “fat bones” were considered healthy, while dry bones were sick or even dead (Ezek. 37:1-4). Trusting in God and not in one’s own understanding will be a “refreshing drink to your bones” (Prov. 3:8). The Bible has a lot to say about what we hear and how we think affects our “bones” and our health (Prov. 3:8; 15:30; 16:24; 17:22).