To get what Proverbs 17:22 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Very high popularity: 3,600 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Proverbs chapter 17 using average monthly Google searches.

Proverbs 17:22 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
A merry שָׂ֭מֵחַ Blithe or gleeful merry
heart לֵ֣ב The heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the center of anything heart
doeth good יֵיטִ֣יב To be (causative) make well, literally (sound, beautiful) or figuratively (happy, successful, right) doeth good
like (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
a medicine: גֵּהָ֑ה A cure medicine
but a broken נְ֝כֵאָ֗ה Smitten, i.e., (figuratively) afflicted broken
spirit וְר֥וּחַ Wind; by resemblance breath, i.e., a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions) spirit
drieth תְּיַבֶּשׁ To be ashamed, confused or disappointed; also (as failing) to dry up (as water) or wither (as herbage) drieth
the bones. גָּֽרֶם׃ A bone (as the skeleton of the body); hence, self, i.e., (figuratively) very bones

Verse Context

See Proverbs 17:22 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 20  He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

  • 21  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.

  • 22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

  • 23  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

  • 24  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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