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The Blue Letter Bible

Dictionaries :: Face

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


means simply presence, as when it is recorded that Adam and Eve hid themselves from the "face [R.V., 'presence'] of the Lord God" (Gen 3:8; Exd 33:14,15, where the same Hebrew word is rendered "presence"). The "light of God's countenance" is his favour (Psa 44:3; Dan 9:17). "Face" signifies also anger, justice, severity (Gen 16:6,8; Exd 2:15; Psa 68:1; Rev 6:16). To "provoke God to his face" (Isa 65:3) is to sin against him openly.

The Jews prayed with their faces toward the temple and Jerusalem (1Ki 8:38,44,48; Dan 6:10). To "see God's face" is to have access to him and to enjoy his favour (Psa 17:15; 27:8). This is the privilege of holy angels (Mat 18:10; Luk 1:19). The "face of Jesus Christ" (2Cr 4:6) is the office and person of Christ, the revealer of the glory of God (Jhn 1:14,18).

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


fas: In Hebrew the translation of three expressions:

(1) panim

(2) ‘ayin, literally, "eye" and

(3) ‘aph, literally, "nose," "nostril," already noted under the word COUNTENANCE, which see.

The first and second of these words are used synonymously, even in metaphorical expressions, as, for example in the phrase "the face of the earth," where panim is used (De 6:15 et passim) and ‘ayin (Nu 22:5 et passim). The third expression preserves more clearly its original meaning. It is generally used in the phrases "to bow one's self to the earth," "to fall on one's face," where the nose actually touched the ground. Often "my face," "thy face" is mere oriental circumlocution for the personal pronoun "I," "me," "thou," "thee." "In thy face" means "in thy presence;" and is often so translated. A very large number of idiomatic Hebrew expressions have been introduced into our language through the medium of the Bible translation. We notice the most important of these phrases.

"To seek the face" is to seek an audience with a prince or with God, to seek favor (Ps 24:6; 27:8; 105:4; Pr 7:15; Ho 5:15; compare Pr 29:26, where the Revised Version (British and American) translates "Many seek the ruler's favor," literally, many seek the face (Hebrew pene) of a ruler).

If God "hides his face" He withdraws His presence, His favor (De 32:20; Job 34:29; Ps 13:1; 30:7; 143:7; Isa 54:8; Jer 33:5; Eze 39:23,14; Mic 3:4). Such withdrawal of the presence of God is to be understood as a consequence of man's personal disobedience, not as a wrathful denial of God's favor (Isa 59:2). God is asked to "hide his face," i.e. to disregard or overlook (Ps 51:9; compare Ps 10:11). This is also the idea of the prayer: "Cast me not away from thy presence" (literally, "face," Ps 51:11), and of the promise: "The upright shall dwell in thy presence" (literally, "face," Ps 140:13). If used of men, "to hide the face" expresses humility and reverence before an exalted presence (Ex 3:6; Isa 6:2); similarly Elijah "wrapped his face in his mantle" when God passed by (1Ki 19:13). The "covering of the face" is a sign of mourning (2Sa 19:4 = Eze 12:6,12); a "face covered with fatness" is synonymous with prosperity and arrogance (Job 15:27); to have one's face covered by another person is a sign of hopeless doom, as if one were already dead. This was done to Human, when judgment had been pronounced over him (Es 7:8).

"To turn away one's face" is a sign of insulting indifference or contempt (2Ch 29:6; Eze 14:6; Sirach 4:4; compare Jer 2:27; 18:17; 32:33); on the part of God an averted face is synonymous with rejection (Ps 13:1; 27:9; 88:14).

"To harden the face" means to harden one's self against any sort of appeal (Pr 21:29; Isa 50:7; Jer 5:3; compare Eze 3:9).

See also SPIT.

In this connection we also mention the phrase "to respect persons," literally, to "recognize the face" (Le 19:15, or, slightly different in expression, De 1:17; 16:19; Pr 24; 23; 28:21), in the sense of unjustly favoring a person, or requiting him with undue evil. Compare also the Hebrew hadhar (Ex 23:3 the King James Version), "to countenance" (see under the word).

The "showbread" meant literally, "bread of the face," "of the presence," Hebrew lechem panim; Greek artoi enopioi, artoi tes protheseos.

Written by H. L. E. Luering

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g4383 Greek: prosopon


denotes "the countenance," lit., "the part towards the eyes" (from pros, "towards," ops, "the eye"), and is used

(a) of the "face," Mat 6:16, 17; 2Cr 3:7, 2nd part (AV, "countenance"); in 2Cr 10:7, in the RV, "things that are before your face" (AV, "outward appearance"), the phrase is figurative of superficial judgment;

(b) of the look, i.e., the "face," which by its various movements affords an index of inward thoughts and feelings, e.g., Luk 9:51, 53; 1Pe 3:12;

(c) the presence of a person, the "face" being the noblest part, e.g., Act 3:13, RV, "before the face of," AV, "in the presence of;" Act 5:41, "presence;" 2Cr 2:10, "person;" 1Th 2:17 (first part), "presence;" 2Th 1:9, RV, "face," AV, "presence;" Rev 12:14, "face;"

(d) the person himself, e.g., Gal 1:22; 1Th 2:17 (second part);

(e) the appearance one presents by his wealth or poverty, his position or state, Mat 22:16; Mar 12:14; Gal 2:6; Jud 1:16;

(f) the outward appearance of inanimate things, Mat 16:3; Luk 12:56; 21:35; Act 17:26.

To spit in a person's face was an expression of the utmost scorn and aversion, e.g., Mat 26:67 (cp. Mat 27:30; Mar 10:34; Luk 18:32).

2 Strong's Number: g3799 Greek: opsis


is primarily "the act of seeing;" then,

(a) "the face;" of the body of Lazarus, Jhn 11:44; of the "countenance" of Christ in a vision, Rev 1:16;

(b) the "outward appearance" of a person or thing, Jhn 7:24.

Note: The phrase "face to face" translates two phrases in Greek:

(1) kata prosopon (kata, "over against," and No. 1), Act 25:16;

(2) stoma pros stoma, lit., "mouth to mouth" (stoma, "a mouth"), 2Jo 1:12; 3Jo 1:14.

(3) For antophthalmeo, Act 27:15, RV, has "to face."

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