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Wisdom for Heart and Health
Proverbs 14:30 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
30 A calm heart gives life to the flesh,
but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.
A calm heart gives life to the flesh: The Hebrew expression (לֵב מַרְפֵּא marpe leb) rendered a calm heart can mean a healthy heart. It is a heart that is absent of agitation or excitement. It is a heart that is at peace, content, emotionally stable. The calm heart gives life (חַי chay) to the flesh (בָּשָׂר basar), that is, our body, in that it can literally extend our life now through healthiness, happiness, energy, vitality, and cheerfulness.
but jealousy is rottenness to the bones: This jealousy (קִנְאָה qinah) is the same Hebrew word used here that was used back in 6:34 where it was used of the jealousy of the bitter, vindictive, vengeful husband. Here it is likely that the word is referring to “anger,” “jealousy,” “zeal,” or “ardor.” The turmoil and distress cause by jealousy is rottenness to the bones, meaning that it is like a disease that weakens the body and can lead to a premature death.
We have flesh from line 1 and bones from line 2 that is an expression referring to the whole body or the whole person in the thinking of the Hebrew Old Testament person, which is still common today in the English-speaking world. Thus, all physicians will tell you that a calm heart will lead to better health for the entire body. As we have learned thus far in Proverbs, anger, rage, and wrath, as intense, powerful emotions, are harmful to every facet of our lives. And these emotions unchecked are on the list of physicians that contribute to, exasperate, or even cause such illnesses as asthma, eye diseases, skin conditions, hives, ulcers, dental and digestive troubles, and heart disease. Uncontrolled anger leads to rage, wrath, and fury, which can upset the reasoning process, so we cannot reach logical conclusions or give prudent, reasonable, rational judgments. A calm heart is a sound heart, meaning a heart of health in which all emotions and desires are in healthy stability, under control. On the other hand, jealousy eats, like a flesh-eating disease, into the bones of our moral life.