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Heal

HEAL

hel (rapha'; therapeuo, iaomai, diasozo):

The English word is connected with the Anglo-Saxon hoelan, and is used in several senses:

(1) Lit., in its meaning of making whole or well, as in Ecclesiastes 3:3. In this way it occurs in prayers for restoration to health (Numbers 12:13; Psalms 6:2; Jeremiah 17:14); and also in declarations as to God's power to restore to health (Deuteronomy 32:39; 2 Kings 20:5-8).

(2) Metaphorically it is applied to the restoration of the soul to spiritual health and to the repair of the injuries caused by sin (Psalms 41:4; Jeremiah 30:17).

(3) The restoration and deliverance of the afflicted land is expressed by it in 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 19:22.

(4) It is applied to the forgiveness of sin (Jeremiah 3:22).

In the New Testament, therapeuo is used 10 times in describing our Lord's miracles, and is translated "heal." Iaomai is used to express spiritual healing (Matthew 13:15; Luke 5:17; John 12:40), and also of curing bodily disease (John 4:47). Diasozo, meaning "to heal thoroughly," is used in Luke 7:3 the King James Version where the Revised Version (British and American) renders it "save." The act of healing is called iasis twice, in Acts 4:22,30; sozo, to save or deliver, is translated "made whole" by the Revised Version (British and American) in Mark 5:23; Luke 8:36; Acts 14:9, but is "healed" in the King James Version. Conversely "made whole" the King James Version in Matthew 15:28 is replaced by "healed" in the Revised Version (British and American).

Healed is used 33 times in the Old Testament as the rendering of the same Hebrew word, and in the same variety of senses. It is also used of purification for an offense or breach of the ceremonial law (2 Chronicles 30:20); and to express the purification of water which had caused disease (2 Kings 2:21,22). Figuratively, the expression "healed slightly" (the English Revised Version "lightly") is used to describe the futile efforts of the false prophets and priests to remedy the backsliding of Israel (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11); here the word for "slightly" is the contemptuous term, qalal, which means despicably or insignificantly. In Ezekiel 30:21, the word "healed" is the rendering of the feminine passive participle, rephu'ah and is better translated in the Revised Version (British and American) "apply healing medicines." In the New Testament "healed" usually occurs in connection with the miracles of our Lord and the apostles. Here it is worthy of note that Luke more frequently uses the verb iaomai than therapeuo, in the proportion of 17 to 4, while in Matthew and Mark the proportion is 4 to 8.

Healer (chabhash) occurs once in Isaiah 3:7; the word literally means a "wrapper up" or "bandager."

Alexander Macalister


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'HEAL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.