The bowels or entrails. The Hebrew word qeʹrev is used to describe the “interior parts,” “inward parts,” or “intestines” of men and of animals. (Ex 12:9; 29:13; Ps 5:9) It denotes that which is “inside” and is often used as a preposition, with the meaning “within; in the midst of.”
Another term that refers to the internal organs is the Hebrew me·ʽehʹ. Always occurring in the plural (me·ʽimʹ), it is used for “intestines” in 2 Samuel 20:10 and 2 Chronicles 21:15, 18, 19. The word may denote the “inward parts” of a creature, as in the account of the large fish that swallowed Jonah. There it occurs twice and is shown in parallel with the “belly” of the large fish. (Jon 1:17; 2:1, 2) The reproductive system of humans may also be referred to by this Hebrew term. (Ge 15:4; Ru 1:11) Because of the evident link between the emotions and internal organs, the intestines, or bowels, were considered the seat of the deepest emotions.
Physical food is assimilated by the intestines. This fact was metaphorically used to represent mental or spiritual digestion when, in vision, Ezekiel was told to eat a scroll, filling his intestines (Heb., me·ʽimʹ) with it. Ezekiel was to gain spiritual strength by meditating upon and storing in his memory the words written in the scroll. He was thereby nourished spiritually and provided with a message to speak.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the word splagʹkhna, which literally means “intestines,” is used once to refer to the literal intestines. (Ac 1:18) Elsewhere it is metaphorically used to denote “tender affections” and “tender compassions.”