将 before a verb is functioning as a [modal verb]: 'will / will soon'
(将)回家 = (will) go home
(将)死 = (will) die/ will die (soon)
将/把 before a noun is functioning as a [depositive marker] that marks the noun to be deposited by the verb
打死他 (beat him to death)
将他打死 (take him, and beat to death) - 将 marks 他 as the object that's being deposited by the verb 打死
Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *ʔsaŋ, *ʔsaŋs): phonetic 爿 (OC *braːn, *zaŋ, “bed; small table”) + semantic ⺼ (“meat”) + semantic 寸 (“hand”) – >to offer meat as tribute by putting it on the table.
"to offer meat" is to "deposit the meat' that's how 将 acquired the function of [depositive marker] that marks object to be deposited of
Just read the article at WiKi
Stumpy Joe Pete wrote:
how did the "to want, to wish, to approach" meaning come to be attached to that character? Did it come about later, or have both meanings been attached to the same character/pronunciation as far back as we can go?
from Sino-Tibetan root:
⺼ (“meat”) + 寸 (“hand”) is the semantic component of 將 . It describes the action of handling a piece of meat; 爿 (table) is a semantic + phonetic component of 將.
The original meaning of the character 將 meant "to offer meat as a tribute to gods by putting it on the table"
The action of 將 described (put meat on the table) acquired the function of [depositive marker] later
From Austroasiatic root:
"Khmer ចង់ " (to want, to wish, to approach) was imported to Chinese language in ancient time, and the existing character 將 was loaned to express this word for phonetic reason. Since "to want, to wish" is related to future event. meaning of the modal verb "will" was added to 將 later