Health of the Bones According to a Medical Perspective:
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone, “bones are rigid organs that form part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They function to move, support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals.
Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue. Because bones come in a variety of shapes and have a complex internal and external structure they are lightweight, yet strong and hard, in addition to fulfilling their many other functions.
The types of bone tissue that makes up bone include:
- The mineralized osseous tissue, that gives it rigidity and a honeycomb-like three-dimensional internal structure.
- Blood Vessels
Bones have eleven main functions:
- Protection — Bones can serve to protect internal organs.
- Shape — Bones provide a frame to keep the body supported.
- Movement — Bones, skeletal muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints function together to generate mobility.
- Sound transduction — Bones are important in the mechanical aspect of overshadowed hearing.
- Blood production — The marrow, located within the medullary cavity of long bones and interstices of cancellous bone, produces blood cells in a process called haematopoiesis.
- Mineral storage — Bones act as reserves of minerals important for the body, most notably calcium and phosphorus.
- Growth factor storage — Mineralized bone matrix stores important growth factors such as insulin-like growth factors, transforming growth factor, bone morphogenetic proteins and others.
- Fat Storage — The yellow bone marrow acts as a storage reserve of fatty acids.
- Acid-base balance — Bone buffers the blood against excessive pH changes by absorbing or releasing alkaline salts.
- Detoxification — Bone tissues can also store heavy metals and other foreign elements, removing them from the blood and reducing their effects on other tissues.
- Endocrine organ — Bone controls phosphate metabolism by releasing fibroblast growth factor – 23 (FGF-23), which acts on kidneys to reduce phosphate reabsorption. Bone cells also release a hormone called osteocalcin, which contributes to the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) and fat storage.”
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_marrow, “bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the hollow interior of bones. In adults, marrow in large bones produces new blood cells. It constitutes 4% of total body weight, i.e. approximately 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs.) in adults.
There are two types of bone marrow:
- red marrow (consisting mainly of hematopoietic) tissue
- yellow marrow (consisting mainly of fat cells). Red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells arise in red marrow. Both types of bone marrow contain numerous blood vessels and capillaries.
Types of Stem Cells:
- Hematopoietic precursor cells: promyelocyte in the center, two metamyelocytes next to it and band cells from a bone marrow aspirate.
- Bone marrow contains three types of stem cells.
- Hematopoietic stem cells give rise to the three classes of blood cells that are found in the circulation: white blood cells (leukocytes), red blood cells (erythrocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes).
- Mesenchymal stem cells are found arrayed around the central sinus in the bone marrow. They have the capability to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myocytes, and many other types of cells. They also function as “gatekeeper” cells of the bone marrow.
- Endothelial stem cells.”
Spiritual Significance of the Health of the Bones:
In the Bible, especially among the Hebrews, bones and marrow had much spiritual significance. According to the Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the bones of Joseph were revered by the Israelites (Exodus 13:19).
In the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14), the dry bones express utter helplessness and hopelessness. The dead bones came to life, showing that the nation of Israel would be restored after their 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
The Fausset’s Bible Dictionary says the following about the bones:
The framework of the body; so the breaking of them expresses overwhelming sorrow, which prostrates body and mind (Isaiah 38:13). As the surgeon must sometimes break a bone to save a patient of lameness for life, so God breaks that He may heal. Self-will and self-righteousness must be broken, that we may run the way of God’s commandments. When one has a “broken and contrite heart,” “the bones which God has broken rejoice” (Psalms 51:8,17). Not a bone of Jesus was broken, as antitype of the paschal lamb (Exodus 12:46; John 19:33,36).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states the following about the bones:
“Bony frame,” “body,” “strength,” Psalms 35:10; “the whole man”; Luke 24:39, “flesh and bones” = the solid and tangible framework of the body; figuratively the substance). Figurative: Very often we find the use of these words in metaphorical phrases, in which a disease or a discomfort of the body denotes certain emotions or mental attitudes. Thus the expression “rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 12:4; 14:30) signifies the feelings of a man whose wife causes him shame and confusion, or is equivalent to “envy” and “jealousy.” The same phrase is used in Habakkuk 3:16 for utter dejectedness through the anticipation of approaching evil.
Similarly the “shaking of the bones” (Job 4:14) is expressive of fear, and denotes dejection and sadness in Jeremiah 23:9. The “burning of the bones” is found as a symptom of Job’s disease (Job 30:30), and stands for grief, depression of spirit in Psalms 102:3 and Lamentations 1:13, and also for the feeling of Jeremiah, when he attempted to hold back the Divine message (Jeremiah 20:9), while “dryness of bones” (Proverbs 17:22) is the opposite of “good health.”
Other similar expressions of mental distress are the “piercing of the bones” (Job 30:17), the bones are “troubled” (Psalms 6:2), “out of joint” (Psalms 22:14), “consumed” (Psalms 31:10 the King James Version), “wasted away” or “waxed old” (Psalms 32:3), “broken” (Psalms 51:8; Lamentations 3:4), “ill at rest” (Psalms 38:3).
“Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23), means having the same nature, and the nearest relation (2 Samuel 5:1) and affection (Ephesians 5:30).
The Bible also refers to the marrow in the bones quite frequently, and is usually used figuratively. The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines marrow as the soft tissue inside the hollow cavities of bones. The Nelson’s goes on to say “The Bible uses the word marrow figuratively. “Moist marrow” means good health and physical comfort (Job 21:24). To eat marrow refers to eating the choicest of foods (Isaiah 25:6). To fear the Lord and depart from evil is marrow (refreshment, medicine, strength) to one’s bones (Proverbs 3:8). The word of God divides the “joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12), symbolizing the power of the Bible to penetrate to the inner depths of a person’s thoughts and motives.
McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says the following about marrow:
mo’ach, fatness, Job 21:24; kindred is the verb machah’, Isaiah 25:6, “fatness unmarrowed,” i.e. drawn out from the marrow-bones, and therefore the most delicate; Hebrews 4:12), the soft, oleaginous substance contained in the hollow of the bones of animals (Job 21:23); used figuratively for the delicate and most satisfying provisions of the Gospel (Isaiah 25:6), and likewise in the New Testament for the most secret thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Other terms so rendered are (che’leb, Psalms 63:5, fat or fatness, as elsewhere rendered) and (shikku’y, Proverbs 3:8, a moistening, i.e. refreshing of the bones; or “drink,” as in Hosea 2:5).
Marrow is the nourisher and strengthener of the bones; it is said to moisten the bones: “The marrow (moach) of his bones is moistened” (Job 21:24). The fear of Yahweh “will be health to thy navel, and marrow (shiqquy, margin “refreshing, Hebrew moistening”) to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:8). Thus, the expression is used figuratively of the things which alone can satisfy the soul: “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow (chelebh, “fat”) and fatness” (Psalms 63:5); “In this mountain will Yahweh of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow (memuchayim, particle, plural, Pual of machah), of wines on the lees well refined” (Isaiah 25:6). In the Epistle to the Hebrews the writer speaks of the word of God, which is “living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12).
Old Testament Words for “Marrow”:
OT:8250 shiqquwy (shik-koo’-ee); from OT:8248; a beverage; moisture, i.e. (figuratively) refreshment.
OT:8248 shaqah (shaw-kaw’); a primitive root; to quaff, i.e. (causatively) to irrigate or furnish a potion to.