Did Ancient Israelites Have a Heart?

By Robert North

Sidebar to: Ancient Medicine

To the ancient Israelites, the leµb, often translated heart, was the seat of the emotions. The heart could be “gladdened” (Proverbs 27:11) or glum—“Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sadness of the heart” (Nehemiah 2:2); “trembling” (1 Samuel 4:13) or courageous—a brave man has “the heart of a lion” (2 Samuel 17:10); full of love—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:5)—or full of hate—“[Michal] saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16).

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