Wolff appears to have thought more analytically
than synthetically when he equated N with the throat. These two passages
use body functions as imagery to convey life experiences typical to N.
There is no justification for saying a man stamps with his feet but that
a throat is hungry. Besides, the Hebrews would have been well aware that
they felt hunger in the belly and not the throat. Wolff was correct
when he said that N was the organ that felt hunger and thirst, but this
should not have directed him first to the throat or tongue. In light of
the imagery of a synthetic way of viewing the 'body', N was the organ(ism)
that felt hunger and thirst if sustenance was not available, or 'hunger'
and 'thirst' if the situation of the moment had awakened one to the fact
that deliverance was needed. Therefore, it is more accurate to say that
the Hebrews believed that N, having received breath and food through
the throat, was the organism which tasted those bitter or sweet life experiences
of seemingly life and death proportions right in the gut!
Is is not so much that N denoted the throat or neck
as the organ through which one breathed, but that the throat is the organ
through which N breathed. It is the vehicle through which N received breath
as well as food. In order for the creature of Gen. 2:7 to become N, it
received the 'breath of life' (nishmath hayyim) from God
through the nostrils and it stands to reason the throat as well. E. Jacob
in his article on N in Kittel's Theological Dictionary commented,
"The deciding mark of a living creature is breathing, and its cessation
means the end of life." He added that the phrase "'breathing
out of N' of which there are no examples in the OT, alludes to the demise
of N through the final exhalation of breath (p. 618) The Hebrews observed
that the cessation of breathing and the end of N occurred together. They
witnessed that one sustained the other, but that is no reason to conclude
that the Hebrews believed that N denoted breath.
Similarly, Johnson made a slight error by equating
expansion that occurs during breathing with expansion that was viewed
to be occurring during the devouring of N by parasitic elements. It is
more accurate to say that the expansion of breathing, or better yet eating,
served as imagery for the behaviour of evil elements. This imagery was
appropriate to N because of that theme that N would perish without sustenance.
The phrase "her N was departing" in Gen.
35:18 makes reference to the exhaling of neshamah. This phrase, lends
itself to the image of an immaterial entity leaving the body at death;
yet as Wolff explained, "we must not fail to observe that the N is
never given the meaning of an indestructible core of being, in contradistinction
to the physical life, and even capable of living when cut off from
that life. When there is a meaning of the 'departing' of the N from a
man, or of its 'return' (Lam. 1:11). the basic idea is the concrete notion
of the ceasing and restoration of the breathing." (p. 20) Jacob wrote,
"The departure of N is a metaphor for death; a dead man is one who
has ceased to breath." (P. 618) D. Lys in coals" (Job 41:21a) N is commonly translated 'breath'. Yet the relation
between N and blood was more likely to suggest imagery in which Leviathan
was 'hot-blooded'. "His N [hot blood] kindles coals, and a
flame comes forth from his mouth." Here too breath participates in
Hebrew imagery -this time as a flame from the mouth of Leviathan
-- but this is no reason for scholars to conclude today that N denoted
the breath in this instance.
For sacrificial purposes blood could stand for N.
"It is blood that makes atonement by reason of the N." (Lev.
17:llc) Blood atoned because of its association with N. Only N could atone
for the sins of N. "...eye for eye, tooth for tooth, N for N."
(Deut. 19:21) Blood was removed from the flesh and then used to make atonement
for the sins of N. Blood was sprinkled before God or put on the horns
of the altar in the tent of meeting or poured out at the base of the altar
of burnt offering at the door at the tent of meeting. (see Lev. 4:16-18)
Sacrificially killing an animal meant N was destroyed and ritually given
back to God. (see Pedersen p. 484)
The Hebrew relation between N and blood reveals that
N conveyed a isacred' aspect to human living. N was a work of God (Gen.
2:7), was in God's care (Prov. 24:12), was in His hands (Job 12:10), and
belonged to Him (Ez. 18:4,20). The Hebrews believed that they were forbidden
to meddle or interfere with existence as N since it was a received existence
'beyond man'. For this reason the Hebrews did not eat flesh which still
contained blood. Because of its association with N, the Hebrews bothered
to pound out the blood during the preparation of any meat. "For the
N of every creature is the blood; therefore, I have said to the people
of Israel, 'You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the N of
every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off."'
(Lev. 1-1:14) H.W. Robinson wrote, "The taboo on the consumption
of blood is due to the peril attaching to its mysterious life-principle."
(Hebrew Psychology, p. 381)
Once having trespassed this 'sacred core' of human
life, the Hebrew became subject to the judgement of his God because he
was taking N into his own hands and determining its fate. To trespass
N was to assume the position of God. Killing or destroying was the most
offensive form of tampering with N. A person committed this grave sin
when he killed N wrongfully. Destroying human 11 particularly demanded
an account since man was viewed as the likeness of God. God said to Noah
and his sons, "Only you shall not eat flesh with its N, that is,
its blood. For your lifeblood [N-blood] I will surely require a reckoning;
of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man's brother I
will require the N of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall
his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." (Gen. 9:4-6)
The Hebrews were forbidden to eat meat still containing the blood because
the act meddled with N and therefore became offensive to Cod. The equation
between blood and N meant consuming blood was a form of murder. One was
sustaining one's own N with the sacred N of another.
N was the life-blood of man; it was considered the core of
human existence. God allowed Satan to do anything he pleased with Job
with one restriction. "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his
N." (Job 2:6) If Job's N had been 'taken', Job would have died. Today one might translate:
"only spare the very life of Job". Job faced many afflictions
and much suffering, yet he remained N. His blood retained the N vitality
that ruah and food sustained; he continued to face harm and danger typical
of that perishable, uncertain status which marked the human condition
and, consequently, continued to seek deliverance.
N was also associated with another anthropological
term, leb. However, the association was not like those with the throat
or neck, the breath, or even the blood. Leb is usually translated 'heart'
in English; however, "'heart' in the Bible does not, as in our Western
tradition, mean the affections, sensibilities as opposed to reason. It
is rather man's liberty, the centre in which are taken the fundamental
decisions; in particular the choices between knowledge and ignorance,
light and darkness, understanding and what the prophets call stupidity,
foolishness." (Tresmontant, p. 119) Wolff wrote, "But it is
feared that the usual translation 'heart' for leb leads our present day
understanding astray." (p. 40) He cited the death of Nabal as an
interesting example. "His leb died within him and he turned to stone.
And about ten days later Yahweh smote Nabal; and he died." (I Sam.
25:37b-38) "In our text the body's turning to stone is associated
with death of the leb; here, in view of the fact that Nabal lived for
another ten days in this state, we can only think of paralysis. To a doctor
that would suggest a stroke." (p. 41)
The ancient Hebrew perceived that God was especially
concerned with a man's leb. "It is here that man's real character
finds its most ready expression." (Johnson, p. 84) The obedient leb
was, e.g., pure, faithful, stedfast, and contrite and the disobedient
16b was stubborn, crooked, hard, and prone to deceit or swollen
pride. (see Johnson, p. 85) The leb directed one's course of events. "...from
every man whose leb makes him willing, you shall- receive the offering
for me." (Ex. 25:2) When the temple was rebuilt, the Israelites feasted
because "the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the leb of
the king of Assyria to them so that he aided them in the work of the house
of God". (Ezra 6:22) Johnson put it this way: "Hence it is through
the instrumentality of the heart that a man decides upon one particular
course of action as against another and such choice of direction may be
regarded as due either to this spontaneous action within the heart or
to the influencing of the heart by external forces, human or divine."
The leb was considered to be that which
directed the course of events for man as N. Likewise, the course of events
in 'N experience' indicated the direction of the leb toward obedience
or disobedience. Given these connections, it is not surprising to find
several passages in the OT containing both N and leb . The commandment
was to "love the Lord God and to serve him with all your leb
and all your N" (Deut. 11:13, Jos. 22:5; see also I Kings 2:14, Jos.
23:14) and to follow his statutes itwith all your leb and all your N".
(Deut. 26:16) These phrases portray man as a