For they are life to the ones who discover them,
and health to a person’s whole body. Bible see other translations

“body.” The Hebrew text is literally “flesh,” but in this case, it refers to the whole body. This is an example of the figure of speech synecdoche, which generally occurs when a whole is put for a part of, or as here, where a part is put for the whole for emphasis (the emphasis occurs because the statement catches our attention). Literally, “flesh” excludes the blood, bones, etc., but in this case, those things are included. One way we can be sure that this verse is a synecdoche is that we would not normally think in terms of “all their flesh” (or, “their whole flesh”), so the inclusion of the word “all” alerts us to the synecdoche. E. W. Bullinger has an entire subsection on the word “flesh” being put for the body in his entry on synecdoche.a

[See word study on “synecdoche.”]

Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, s.v. “synecdoche.”

Additional resource:

Video expand/contractFigures of Speech used in the Bible (Synecdoche) (10:35) (Pub: 2012-02-01)

Synecdoche is used when a part is put for the whole of something, or a whole is put for the part of something. By understanding the language of the Biblical world, we can more properly understand the Word of God.

Verses: Gen. 3:19; 2 Kings 8:9; Pss. 1:1; 44:6; Isa. 20:2; Jer. 26:9; Matt. 3:5; John 21:7; James 2:15

Teacher: John Schoenheit

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Commentary for: Proverbs 4:22