(usually עֹרֶŠ, o'reph, as Ge 49:8; Le 5:8; often צִוָּאר, tsavvar', as Ge 27:16; and same in Chald., as Da 5:7; once the plur. cognate צִוּרֹנַים , Song 4:9; also, garo n', prop. throat, Isa 3:16; or the plur. cognate, גִּרגּרוֹן, Pr 3:22; once מִפרֶקֶת, maphre'keth, 1 Samuel 4:18; Gr. τράχηλος), a part of the human frame used by the sacred writers with considerable variety and freedom in figurative expressions, though seldom in such a way as to occasion difficulty to a modern reader. With reference to the graceful ornament which a fine neck gives, especially to the female form, it is said of the spouse in the Canticles, "Thy neck is like the tower of David, builded for an armory" (Song 4:4); or, as it is again, "like a tower of ivory" (Song 7:4). The neck, however, being that part of the body through which in man, and still more in the lower animals, the life is frequently destroyed, it is sometimes taken as the representative of the animal life; hence "to lay down the neck" (Ro 16:4) is a strong expression for hazarding one's life; to "give one the necks of one's enemies" (2Sa 22:41) was to surrender their life into his hands; also "to reach even to the neck," or "to the midst of the neck" (Isa 8:8; Isa 30:28), was to approach the point of overwhelming destruction, which, in Hab 3:13, takes the peculiar form of "discovering the foundation to the neck" — the allusion in the last passage being to the foundation of a house, which is like the neck upon which the head rests. But by much the most common reference was to beasts of burden, which bore upon their neck the yoke whereby they did service, and as such were viewed as emblems of men in their relation either to a good or a bad, to a true or a false service. Christ invites all to "take up his yoke" (upon their neck understood), in other words, to yield themselves obediently to his authority (Mt 11:29); and a stiff or hardened neck is a familiar expression for an unpliant, rebellious spirit. In the contrary direction, many passages in the prophets convey threatenings of coming judgment by the hands of enemies under the form of laying bands or yokes upon the people's necks (De 28:48; Isa 10:27; Jer 27:2). Hence putting the feet on the neck is a usual expression in the East for triumphing over a fallen foe. In the numerous battle-scenes depicted on the monuments of ancient Egypt and Assyria, we see the monarchs frequently represented treading on the necks of their enemies; and a similar practice obtained among the Hebrews. When Joshua had conquered the five kings, he said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings.

And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them" (Jos 10:24; comp. 2Sa 22:41). In India, when people are disputing, should one be a little pressed, and the other begin to triumph, the former will say, "I will tread upon thy neck, and after that beat thee." A low caste man insulting one who is high is sure to hear some one say to the offended individual, "Put your feet on his neck." Nor was this custom peculiar to the East: Quintus Curtius, relating the particulars of a single combat between Dioxippus, an Athenian, and Horratus, a Macedonian, says that, in the end, the former, closing with the latter, struck up his heels, and threw him with great violence on the ground; then. after taking his sword from him, he set his foot upon his neck, and was about to dash out his brains, when the king (Alexander) interposed his authority to prevent him. SEE TRIUMPH.

Definition of neck

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.