The part of a human or an animal that connects the head with the rest of the body. The Hebrew terms for neck evidently emphasize its skeletal structure that can be broken (Ex 13:13; 1Sa 4:18) or the back part of the neck. (Ge 49:8; Jos 10:24) In the Bible the term “neck” is frequently used in a figurative way.
In Hebrew, one fleeing in defeat was literally said to turn his “neck” to the enemy (compare Jos 7:8), that is, the back of his neck. Therefore, to ‘have one’s hand on the back of the neck’ of his enemies was to conquer, or subdue, them. (Ge 49:8; 2Sa 22:41; Ps 18:40) With similar significance, on monuments of Egypt and Assyria, monarchs are represented in battle scenes as treading on the necks of their enemies. Likewise, Joshua ordered his army commanders: “Come forward. Place your feet on the back of the necks of these kings.”—Jos 10:24.
A yoke upon the neck indicated servitude, submission, or bondage. (Ge 27:40; Jer 30:8; Ac 15:10) The frequent expressions “stiff-necked” and ‘hardened neck’ represent a rebellious and obstinate spirit. As a warning to us, the Scriptures say that “a man repeatedly reproved but making his neck hard will suddenly be broken, and that without healing.”—Pr 29:1; De 9:6, 13; 31:27; 2Ki 17:14; Ps 75:5; Isa 48:4.
Throat. The Hebrew word for “throat” evidently refers to the front part of the neck where the organs for speaking and swallowing are found. (Ps 149:6; Jer 2:25) The importance of the discipline and authority of one’s parents (and, by implication, the eminent value of God’s commandments and laws) is emphasized by the admonition to ‘bind them upon the throat,’ where beautiful and precious ornaments were worn. (Pr 1:8, 9; 3:1-3; 6:20, 21) Walking with one’s throat stretched forth can evidence haughtiness. (Isa 3:16) Of wicked men of lies and bloodshed, the Bible says: “In their mouth there is nothing trustworthy; . . . their throat is an opened burial place.”—Ps 5:9; Ro 3:13.