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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Countenance

Dictionaries :: Countenance

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Below are articles from the following dictionary:
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia



(1) The noun (see also under the word FACE) is the translation of a variety of Hebrew and Greek expressions, panim; prosopon, being the most frequent. Besides these there are found mar'eh, "appearance," "shape," "comeliness," "visage," ‘ayin, "the eye," to'ar, "appearance," "figure," etc., and Aramaic ziw. To the Oriental the countenance mirrors, even more than to us, the character and feelings of the heart. The countenance (mar'eh) is"fair" (1Sa 17:42; 2Sa 14:27; Da 1:15); in 1Sa 16:12, literally, "fair of eyes"; "comely" (So 2:14); "beautiful" (~to'ar, 1Sa 25:3); "cheerful" (panim, Pr 15:13); "angry" (Pr 15:23); "fierce" (Da 8:23); "troubled" (Eze 27:35); "sad" (1Sa 1:18; Ne 2:2,3; Ec 7:3). The countenance is "sharpened" i.e. made keen (Pr 27:17); it "falls," i.e. looks despondent, disappointed (Ge 4:5,6); is "cast down" (Job 29:24); "changed" (Job 14:20; compare "altered" into glory, Lu 9:29; Da 5:6,9,10; 7:28, Aramaic ziw). To settle one's countenance stedfastly upon a person (2Ki 8:11) is synonymous with staring or gazing at a person. Not infrequently we find compound expressions such as "light of countenance," i.e. favor (Job 29:24; Ps 4:6; 44:3; 89:15; 90:8); "health of countenance" (Ps 41:11; 43:5); "help of countenance" (Ps 42:5); "rebuke of countenance" (Ps 80:16); "pride of countenance" (Hebrew ‘aph, literally, "haughty," "lofty nose," Ps 10:4).

(2) As verb (Hebrew hadhar, "to countenance") we find the word in the King James Version of Ex 23:3, where the Revisers translate "Neither shalt thou favor (the King James Version "countenance") a poor man in his cause." Here the meaning seems to be that no distinction of persons shall be made by the judge. See Le 19:15, where, however, a different word is used. There is therefore no need of the emendation proposed by Knobel and accepted by Kautzsch, who would read gadhol, "great," for wedhal, "and the poor" of the text. The Septuagint has penes, "poor."

Written by H. L. E. Luering


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