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8

    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." (p. 79)

    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


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