Hi Douglas,Thanks again. The idea that the literal meaning of nephesh is "throat" is certainly very attractive and simple, and anatomically appealing as well, because that part of the body has so much to do with life and appetite (food, breath, words). Iain says that the connection is a bit more complex than it is with leb (heart: literal and figurative) and perhaps he could enlarge on this because at the moment the claim seems to go beyond the evidence. I see the following difficulties:
1. Whereas there are several undoubted instances in the OT where leb means the physical heart, the Hebrew examples of nephesh meaning neck/throat are not quite conclusive. In each case other acknowledged meanings of the word nephesh are possible in the context.
2. While leb/lebab seems to be the only Hebrew word for the literal heart, there are other Hebrew words words for throat/neck, e.g. Is. 8:8 and Ps 69:3. Indeed in Ps 69, one runs into the problem that if nephesh really suggests the idea of throat to the Hebrew mind then verses 1 and 3 almost contradict each other -- the throat inundated with water and dry at the same time.
3. The idea that the literal meaning of nephesh is "throat" seems to come predominantly out of related roots in Ugaritic and Akkadian. The direct transfer of the semantic range of a word from one language to another is not a strong argument (witness savage/sauvage in English/Franch, and I am sure there are much better examples).
At the moment, the claim seems to be more at the level of a conjecture than something that has actually been established.