From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

FACE is used freely of animals, as well as of men; also of the surface of the wilderness (  Exodus 16:4 ), of the earth, of the waters or deep, of the sky. It is used of the front of a house (  Ezekiel 41:14 ), of a porch (  Ezekiel 40:15 ,   Ezekiel 41:25 ), of a throne (  Job 26:9 ). Covering the face in   2 Samuel 19:4 is a sign of mourning (cf. covering the head); it is also a mark of reverence (  Exodus 3:6 ,   1 Kings 19:13 ,   Isaiah 6:2 ). In   Genesis 24:65 it indicates modesty. Otherwise it is used simply of blindfolding, literal (  Mark 14:65 ), or metaphorical (  Job 9:24 ). To fall on the face is the customary Eastern obeisance, whether to man or to God. Spitting in the face is the climax of contempt (  Numbers 12:14 ,   Deuteronomy 25:9 ,   Matthew 26:67 ). The Oriental will say, ‘I spit in your face,’ while he actually spits on the ground. The face naturally expresses various emotions, fear, sorrow, shame, or joy. The ‘fallen face’ (  Genesis 4:5 ) is used of displeasure; ‘hardening the face’ of obstinate sin (  Proverbs 21:29 ,   Jeremiah 5:3 ). The face was ‘disfigured’ in fasting (  Matthew 6:16 ). It may be the expression of favour, particularly of God to man (  Numbers 6:25 ,   Psalms 31:16 ), or conversely of man turning his face to God (  Jeremiah 2:27;   Jeremiah 32:33 ); or of disfavour, as in the phrase ‘to set the face against’ (  Psalms 34:16 ,   Jeremiah 21:10 , and often in Ezk.), or ‘to hide the face.’ [ N.B. In   Psalms 51:9 the phrase is used differently, meaning to forget or ignore, cf.   Psalms 90:8 ]. Closely related are the usages connected with ‘beholding the face.’ This meant to be admitted to the presence of a potentate, king, or god (  Genesis 33:10;   Genesis 43:3;   Genesis 43:5 ,   2 Kings 25:19 ,   Esther 1:14;   Esther 4:11;   Esther 4:16; cf. ‘angel (s) of the face or presence,’   Isaiah 63:9 , Tob 12:15 ,   Revelation 8:2 , and often in apocalyptic literature). So ‘to look upon the face’ is to accept (  Psalms 84:9 ), ‘to turn away the face’ is to reject (  Psalms 132:10 ,   1 Kings 2:16 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). To ‘behold the face’ of God may be used either literally of appearing before His presence in the sanctuary or elsewhere (  Genesis 32:30 [ Peniel is ‘the face of God’],   Exodus 33:11 ,   Psalms 42:2; the ‘shew-bread’ is ‘the bread of the face or presence’), or with a more spiritual reference to the inward reality of communion which lies behind (  Psalms 17:15 ); so ‘seeking the face’ of God (  Psalms 24:6;   Psalms 27:8 ). On the other hand, in   2 Kings 14:8 ‘see face to face’ is used in a sinister sense of meeting in battle.

The Heb. word for ‘face’ is used very freely, both alone and in many prepositional phrases, as an idiomatic periphrasis, e.g. ‘honour the face of the old man’ (  Leviticus 19:32 ), ‘grind the face of the poor’ (  Isaiah 3:15 ), or the common phrase ‘before my face’ (  Deuteronomy 8:20 ,   Mark 1:2 ), or ‘before the face of Israel’ (  Exodus 14:25 ). Many of these usages are disguised in our versions, not being in accordance with English idioms; the pronoun is substituted, or ‘presence,’ ‘countenance’ are used, ‘face’ being often indicated in AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] or RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] (  Genesis 1:20 ,   1 Kings 2:16 ); so in the phrase ‘respect persons’ (  Deuteronomy 1:17 ). On the other hand, ‘face’ is wrongly given for ‘eye’ in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] of   1 Kings 20:38;   1 Kings 20:41 , where ‘ashes on face’ should be ‘headband over eye’; in   2 Kings 9:30 ,   Jeremiah 4:30 , the reference is to painting the eye; in   Genesis 24:47 RV [Note: Revised Version.] substitutes ‘nose,’ in   Ezekiel 38:18 ‘nostrils.’

C. W. Emmet.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

panim Aph opsis prosopon

The word “face” has a variety of meanings. It is used literally to refer to the face of man or animals ( Genesis 30:40 ), seraphim ( Isaiah 6:2 ), and the face of Christ ( Matthew 17:2 ). Figuratively, it is used in reference to the face of the earth ( Genesis 1:29 ), waters ( Genesis 1:2 ), sky ( Matthew 16:3 ), and moon ( Job 26:9 ). Also, the word “face” is used theologically with regard to the “presence of God” ( Genesis 30:17-23 ). Face may be the physical “face” or the surface seen. Being “face to face” (literally, “eye to eye”) is being squared off with each other, front to front, and fully visible ( Numbers 14:14 ). The face (eye) of the earth is the visible surface of the earth ( Exodus 10:5 ,  Exodus 10:15 ), and the face of the waters is that surface which is seen ( Genesis 1:2 ).

The word “face” may stand for the entire countenance. It is in the face that the emotions are expressed. The face of the sky expresses the weather, stormy and red, or fair ( Matthew 16:2-3 ). Bowing one's face (nose or face) expresses reverence or awe ( Numbers 22:31;  Luke 5:12 ). Bowing one's face (nose) toward the ground also includes the involvement of the entire person ( 1 Samuel 20:41;  Matthew 26:39 ), indicating complete submission. When angry or sad, one's countenance (face) will fall ( Genesis 4:5 ). “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance (face)” ( Proverbs 15:13 ). To express displeasure or disgust, the face is averted or “hid” ( Ezekiel 39:23;  Psalm 102:2 ); to “seek his face” is to desire an audience ( Psalm 105:4 ). To “set my face against” is to express hostility ( Jeremiah 21:10 ), while turning away the face shows rejection ( Psalm 132:10 ). To “set their faces to” indicates determination ( Jeremiah 42:17;  Luke 9:51 ). The wicked man “hardeneth his face”( Proverbs 21:29 ), and “covered his face with his fatness” ( Job 15:27 ). When in mourning, the face is covered ( 2 Samuel 19:4 ).

Because the face reflects the personality and character of person, the word is frequently translated as “person” ( Deuteronomy 28:50;  2 Samuel 17:11;  2 Corinthians 2:10 ), or “presence” ( Exodus 10:11 ). Sometimes it is translated merely as the indefinite pronoun “many” ( 2 Corinthians 1:11 ). Frequently, the word “face” is translated with the phrase “respect persons,” (KJV), or “being partial” (RSV), ( Deuteronomy 1:17;  Proverbs 24:23;  Matthew 22:16;  Galatians 2:6 ).

Many idioms and phrases also apply to “the face of God.” His face shines ( Psalm 4:6 ), indicating good will and blessing. He sets His face against sinners ( Leviticus 17:10 ), and hides His face ( Psalm 13:1 ). Frequently, the word “face” is used in a theological sense with regard to the person or presence of God. Sometimes “face” is translated as “presence” ( Genesis 4:16;  Exodus 33:14;  2 Thessalonians 1:9 ). In the tabernacle, the “shewbread” (KJV) or “Bread of the Presence” (RSV), was a local manifestation of the presence of God. The literal Hebrew reads “bread of the faces.” At other times, other words are substituted although the direct meaning is the “face of God.” Moses asked to see God's “glory” (  Exodus 33:18 ), but God answered that “thou canst not see my face ” ( Exodus 33:20 ). The correlation indicates that in seeing God's face, one would experience His actual presence, and thereby be exposed to God's nature and character. Sinful and non-holy beings cannot survive being in God's holy presence without God's grace or merciful intervention ( Exodus 33:17-23 ). Thus Moses ( Exodus 3:6 ), Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:13 ), and the seraphim ( Isaiah 6:2 ) hide their faces in God's presence. See Glory; Shewbread; Presence; Eye .

Darlene R. Gautsch

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]

FACE. —Of the words translation ‘face,’ ‘countenance,’ the Heb. pânîm indicates the front , that which is presented to view, while mar’eh and the NT terms πρόσωπον, ὅψις, and ἐνώπιονcorrespond to view, visage , that which can be seen.

1. Physical appearance .—Beauty of face is frequently alluded to in the Bible in connexion with both men and women as a distinguishing personal charm, and a powerful influence for good or evil. The underlying thought is that a noble and beautiful face should be the index of a noble and beautiful spirit. There is a resemblance among the children of a king ( Judges 8:18). Along with this recognition there are intimations that the Lord seeth not as man seeth ( 1 Samuel 16:7), and that beauty is vain ( Proverbs 31:30). In the mysterious personality outlined in Isaiah 53 one of the arresting features is the absence of such beauty in a face singularly marred, and according to common standards confessedly unattractive. While there is a dark type of comeliness ( Song of Solomon 1:5), yet, as might be expected among a people accustomed to olive and sunburnt tones of complexion, it is the exceptional characteristic of a fair and lustrous face that marks the highest form of beauty. In the poetry of the Arabs, when beauty of face is referred to, the usual and ever-sufficient simile is that of the full moon ( Song of Solomon 6:10), and in the descriptions of Paradise in the Koran the female attendants of the ‘faithful’ are called houris , ‘the white-faced ones.’ The illumination on the face of Moses is still recalled in the Jewish synagogue when the officiating Levite, in pronouncing the benediction ( Numbers 6:24) at the close of the service, veils his face with the tallîth , or prayer-cloth. Similarly in the sacred art of the Church, the Transfiguration light on the face of Christ was perpetuated in the halo around the faces of the saints who suffered as His witnesses. In  2 Corinthians 4:6 the consummation of the gospel is described as the hope of beholding and sharing the manifestation of God’s glory as it had been seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

2. In the expression of character and feeling .—Although the face was understood to be only a medium or channel for the manifestation of inward thought and emotion, a more vivid impression was often gained by alluding to it as having the essentials of personality. Thus it has its own health ( Psalms 42:11), it produces gladness in others ( Psalms 21:6,  Acts 2:28), and pronounces rebuke ( Psalms 80:16), it falls ( Genesis 4:6), is lifted up ( Psalms 4:6), emits light ( Psalms 44:3). All emotions are marked upon it: it is impudent ( Proverbs 7:13). harder than a rock ( Jeremiah 5:3), and may be a face of fury ( Ezekiel 38:18). In  Luke 12:56 the face of the sky is referred to as conveying to those who could read it a sign of its intentions. The face being thus closely identified with the person, any violence offered to the face was in the highest degree affronting ( 1 Samuel 11:2,  2 Samuel 10:4,  Matthew 26:67). As the expression of the face was regarded as a trustworthy indication of the life within, the Pharisees cultivated an aspect of religious absorption; and Christ showed that the thought behind this device was essentially blind and irreligious, inasmuch as the true service of the Kingdom required the spirit of the Beatitudes ( Matthew 6:17). As the emblem of perfected sainthood and ordered harmony, the Church in its final form is represented as having the beauty of a face without spot or wrinkle or any such thing ( Ephesians 5:27).

The figure of the averted or hidden face ( Deuteronomy 31:17,  Isaiah 53:3) that declines to meet the look of supplication, owes its origin to the fact that Orientals are largely swayed by the strongest feeling of the moment, and can be moved from their previous purpose by well directed emotional appeals. When one man is seeking to appease or persuade another, it is customary, when the right moment has been reached, to put the hand quietly and tentatively under the chin, and thus turn the face so that eye may meet eye, and more kindly feelings prevail. Not to see the face at all is to intercept such emotional persuasion of prostration, pleading, and tears, and means that all hope must be abandoned.

G. M. Mackie.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( n.) That part of a body, having several sides, which may be seen from one point, or which is presented toward a certain direction; one of the bounding planes of a solid; as, a cube has six faces.

(2): ( n.) The exterior form or appearance of anything; that part which presents itself to the view; especially, the front or upper part or surface; that which particularly offers itself to the view of a spectator.

(3): ( n.) The principal dressed surface of a plate, disk, or pulley; the principal flat surface of a part or object.

(4): ( n.) That part of the acting surface of a cog in a cog wheel, which projects beyond the pitch line.

(5): ( n.) The width of a pulley, or the length of a cog from end to end; as, a pulley or cog wheel of ten inches face.

(6): ( n.) The upper surface, or the character upon the surface, of a type, plate, etc.

(7): ( n.) The style or cut of a type or font of type.

(8): ( n.) Outside appearance; surface show; look; external aspect, whether natural, assumed, or acquired.

(9): ( n.) That part of the head, esp. of man, in which the eyes, cheeks, nose, and mouth are situated; visage; countenance.

(10): ( n.) Cast of features; expression of countenance; look; air; appearance.

(11): ( n.) Ten degrees in extent of a sign of the zodiac.

(12): ( n.) Maintenance of the countenance free from abashment or confusion; confidence; boldness; shamelessness; effrontery.

(13): ( n.) Presence; sight; front; as in the phrases, before the face of, in the immediate presence of; in the face of, before, in, or against the front of; as, to fly in the face of danger; to the face of, directly to; from the face of, from the presence of.

(14): ( n.) Mode of regard, whether favorable or unfavorable; favor or anger; mostly in Scriptural phrases.

(15): ( n.) The end or wall of the tunnel, drift, or excavation, at which work is progressing or was last done.

(16): ( n.) The exact amount expressed on a bill, note, bond, or other mercantile paper, without any addition for interest or reduction for discount.

(17): ( v. t.) To cover in front, for ornament, protection, etc.; to put a facing upon; as, a building faced with marble.

(18): ( v. i.) To turn the face; as, to face to the right or left.

(19): ( v. t.) To meet in front; to oppose with firmness; to resist, or to meet for the purpose of stopping or opposing; to confront; to encounter; as, to face an enemy in the field of battle.

(20): ( v. i.) To present a face or front.

(21): ( v. t.) To Confront impudently; to bully.

(22): ( v. t.) To stand opposite to; to stand with the face or front toward; to front upon; as, the apartments of the general faced the park.

(23): ( v. i.) To carry a false appearance; to play the hypocrite.

(24): ( v. t.) To line near the edge, esp. with a different material; as, to face the front of a coat, or the bottom of a dress.

(25): ( v. t.) To cover with better, or better appearing, material than the mass consists of, for purpose of deception, as the surface of a box of tea, a barrel of sugar, etc.

(26): ( v. t.) To make the surface of (anything) flat or smooth; to dress the face of (a stone, a casting, etc.); esp., in turning, to shape or smooth the flat surface of, as distinguished from the cylindrical surface.

(27): ( v. t.) To cause to turn or present a face or front, as in a particular direction.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Πρόσωπον (Strong'S #4383 — Noun Neuter — prosopon — pros'-o-pon )

denotes "the countenance," lit., "the part towards the eyes" (from pros, "towards," ops, "the eye"), and is used (a) of the "face,"  Matthew 6:16,17;  2—Corinthians 3:7,2 nd part (AV, "countenance"); in  2—Corinthians 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.,  Luke 9:51,53;  1—Peter 3:12; (c) the presence of a person, the "face" being the noblest part, e.g.,  Acts 3:13 , RV, "before the face of," AV, "in the presence of;"  Acts 5:41 , "presence;"  2—Corinthians 2:10 , "person;"  1—Thessalonians 2:17 (first part), "presence;"   2—Thessalonians 1:9 , RV, "face," AV, "presence;"  Revelation 12:14 , "face;" (d) the person himself, e.g.,  Galatians 1:22;  1—Thessalonians 2:17 (second part); (e) the appearance one presents by his wealth or poverty, his position or state,   Matthew 22:16;  Mark 12:14;  Galatians 2:6;  Jude 1:16; (f) the outward appearance of inanimate things,  Matthew 16:3;  Luke 12:56;  21:35;  Acts 17:26 .

 Matthew 26:67  Matthew 27:30 Mark 10:34 Luke 18:32Appearance.

2: Ὄψις (Strong'S #3799 — Noun Feminine — opsis — op'-sis )

is primarily "the act of seeing;" then, (a) "the face;" of the body of Lazarus,  John 11:44; of the "countenance" of Christ in a vision,  Revelation 1:16; (b) the "outward appearance" of a person or thing,  John 7:24 . See Appearance.

 Acts 25:16 2—John 1:12 3—John 1:14Mouth.  Acts 27:15

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [6]

The face is frequently put for the whole body. It is meant for the person. Hence, when the church prayeth, "O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine Anointed;" that is, the person of thine Anointed. ( 2 Chronicles 6:42) So again, when it is said, "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil," it means, that the Lord himself is so. ( Psalms 34:16) So again, the patriarch Jacob, speaking to his son Joseph, said, "I had not thought to see thy face;" that is, thy person; "and lo! God hath shewed me thy seed." ( Genesis 48:11)

Concerning the face of the Lord, it is said by the Lord to Moses, "Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live." And yet in the same chapter we are told, that "the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." ( Exodus 33:20. See also  Numbers 14:14;  Deuteronomy 5:4) But there is no difficulty in reconciling these Scriptures; in fact, they do not differ, when properly considered, from each other. The sight of Jehovah in his own unveiled glory, is inadmissible to mortals. But the manifestation of JEHOVAH, so as to identify his person and reality as the speaker, is as plain in those discoveries as that of seeing him face to face.

Those Scriptures are best explained by each other. One part of the divine word throws a light upon another; and we are commanded thus to form our judgments, by "comparing spiritual things with spiritual." ( 1 Corinthians 2:13)

But every difficulty is at once removed concerning seeing the face of JEHOVAH, by considering the person of the Lord Jesus in his mediatorial character and office, as the visible JEHOVAH. Thus for example;—when JEHOVAH promiseth to send his angel before the people, and commandeth them to obey his voice, he adds, "for my name is in him." ( Exodus 23:20-21) In whom but Christ, as Christ, was ever the name of JEHOVAH? So again, when it is said. ( 1 Samuel 3:21) "And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh; for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh, by the word of the Lord." What word could this be but the uncreated Word, which was, in the after ages of the church, "made flesh, and dwelt among us?" ( John 1:1-4) Surely, in these and numberless other instances, spoken of in the Old Testament Scripture, of JEHOVAH'S appearance, sometimes in the form of a man, and sometimes of an angel, the Lord Jesus is all along intended to be represented. In all those manifestations it is, as the apostle speaks, giving the church "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." ( 2 Corinthians 4:6)

King James Dictionary [7]

FACE, n. L., to make.

1. In a general sense, the surface of a thing, or the side which presents itself to the view of a spectator as the face of the earth the face of the waters. 2. A part of the surface of a thing or the plane surface of a solid. Thus, a cube or die has six faces an octahedron has eight faces. 3. The surface of the fore part of an animals head, particularly of the human head the visage.

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.  Genesis 3 .

Joseph bowed himself with his face to the earth.  Genesis 48 .

4. Countenance cast of features look air of the face.

We set the best face on it we could.

5. The front of a thing the forepart the flat surface that presents itself first to view as the face of a house.  Ezekiel 41 . 6. Visible state appearance.

This would produce a new face of things in Europe.

7. Appearance look.

Nor heaven, nor sea, their former face retained.

His dialogue has the face of probability.

8. State of confrontation. The witnesses were presented face to face. 9. Confidence boldness impudence a bold front.

He has the face to charge others with false citations.

10. Presence sight as in the phrases, before the face, in the face, to the face, from the face. 11. The person.

I had not thought to see thy face.  Genesis 48 .

12. In scripture, face is used for anger or favor.

Hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.  Revelation 6 .

Make thy face to shine on thy servant.  Psalms 31 .

How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?  Psalms 8 .

Hence, to seek the face, that is, to pray to, to seek the favor of.

To set the face against, is to oppose.

To accept ones face, is to show him favor or grant his request. So, to entreat the face, is to ask favor but these phrases are nearly obsolete.

13. A distorted form of the face as in the phrase, to make faces, or to make wry faces.

Face to face

1. When both parties are present as, to have accusers face to face.  Acts 25 . 2. Nakedly without the interposition of any other body.

Now we see through a glass, darkly but then face to face.  1 Corinthians 13 .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

 Exodus 10:5 (b) The surface covering of the hills, valleys, and plains, etc., is described in the Scripture as the "face of the earth." This expression occurs in many places.

 Numbers 6:25 (a) Lest we should be so occupied with our blessings that we forget the Blesser, our attention is called in this prayer to the fact that after we are made rich by the blessing of GOD, then we are to gaze upon His lovely face, and thus be occupied with Him. (See also  Psalm 31:16;  Psalm 67:1;  Psalm 69:17;  Psalm 80:3;  Psalm 143:7).

 Psalm 27:8 (b) To seek the face of the Lord means to come into His presence in confession and contrition, to believe His word and to seek His fellowship until there is a consciousness in the heart that there is nothing between the soul and the Saviour. Then one may commune with Him freely.

 Isaiah 3:15 (b) The expression here refers to the suppressing of the poor until their faces show the anxiety and the distress that they are suffering from such oppression.

 Isaiah 25:7 (a) This may refer to the shadow of death which hangs over all people. Or it may refer to the unbelief that shrouds people's hearts in darkness.

 Ezekiel 1:6 (b) These four faces represent four aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ These four figures were embroidered on the four banners which were displayed in the four camps of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle, three on each of the four sides.

These four aspects of Christ characterize the four Gospels.

Matthew explains the lion characteristics of CHRIST;

Mark describes the ox character;

Luke presents the human character;

and John represents the Deity of our Lord. (See also  Ezekiel 10:14;  Revelation 4:7).

 Ezekiel 38:18 (a) This is the picture of a man whose anger is seen in his countenance as the face reddens and the mouth tightens. GOD uses this picture to describe His feelings.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

Moses begs of God to show him his face, or to manifest his glory; he replies, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee," and I will proclaim my name; "but my face thou canst not see; for there shall no man see it and live!" The persuasion was very prevalent in the world, that no man could support the sight of Deity,  Genesis 16:13;  Genesis 32:30;  Exodus 20:19;  Exodus 24:11;  Judges 6:22-23 . We read that God spake mouth to mouth with Moses, even apparently, and not in dark speeches,  Numbers 12:8; "The Canaanites have heard that thou art among thy people, and seen face to face,"  Numbers 14:14 . God talked with the Hebrews "face to face out of the midst of the fire,"  Deuteronomy 5:4 . All these places are to be understood simply, that God so manifested himself to the Israelites, that he made them hear his voice as distinctly as if he had appeared to them face to face; but not that they actually saw more than the cloud of glory which marked his presence. The face of God denotes sometimes his anger: "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil." "As wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the face of God,"  Psalms 68:2 . To turn the face upon any one, especially when connected with the light or shining of the countenance, are beautiful representations of the divine kindness and condescension. To regard the face of any one, is to have respect of persons,  Proverbs 28:21 . The Apostle, speaking of the difference between our knowledge of God here and in heaven, says, "Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face,"  1 Corinthians 13:12; by which he shows the vast difference between our seeing or knowing God and divine things by an imperfect revelation to faith, and by direct vision. This observation of the Apostle is rendered the more striking, when it is recollected that the Roman glass was not fully transparent as ours, but dull and clouded. Of this, specimens may be seen in the glass vessels taken out of Pompeii.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [10]

Pânı̂ym ( פָּנֶה , Strong'S #6440), “face.” This noun appears in biblical Hebrew about 2,100 times and in all periods, except when it occurs with the names of persons and places, it always appears in the plural. It is also attested in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Moabite, and Ethiopic. In its most basic meaning, this noun refers to the “face” of something. First, it refers to the “face” of a human being: “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him …” (Gen. 17:3). In a more specific application, the word represents the look on one’s face, or one’s “countenance”: “And Cain was very [angry], and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:5). To pay something to someone’s “face” is to pay it to him personally (Deut. 7:10); in such contexts, the word connotes the person himself. Pânı̂ym can also be used of the surface or visible side of a thing, as in Gen. 1:2: “The Spirit of God moved upon the face —of the waters.” In other contexts, the word represents the “front side” of something: “And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselvesand shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle” (Exod. 26:9). When applied to time, the word (preceded by the preposition le ) means “formerly”: “The Horim also dwelt in Seir [formerly] … (Deut. 2:12).

This noun is sometimes used anthropomorphically of God; the Bible speaks of God as though He had a “face”: “… For therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God” (Gen. 33:10). The Bible clearly teaches that God is a spiritual being and ought not to be depicted by an image or any likeness whatever (Exod. 20:4). Therefore, there was no image or likeness of God in the innermost sanctuary—only the ark of the covenant was there, and God spoke from above it (Exod. 25:22). The word pânı̂ym , then, is used to identify the bread that was kept in the holy place. The KJV translates it as “the showbread,” while the NASB renders “the bread of the Presence” (Num. 4:7). This bread was always kept in the presence of God.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Genesis 3:8 Exodus 33:14,15 Psalm 44:3 Daniel 9:17 Genesis 16:6,8 Exodus 2:15 Psalm 68:1 Revelation 6:16 Isaiah 65:3

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

People's Dictionary of the Bible [12]

Face. Most of the combinations into which this word enters are intelligible enough. It may be observed that, as to seek any one's face is to seek his favor, or admission to his presence,  Psalms 27:8;  Proverbs 7:15, so to see his face is to see him in person.  Genesis 48:11, to have entrance to his court, if he be of high rank, as a king,  Genesis 43:3;  Genesis 43:5;  2 Samuel 14:24;  2 Samuel 14:28;  2 Samuel 14:32; hence this phrase denoted the royal favor, dignity or privilege.  Esther 1:14. So to see God's face is to find him propitious, to have nearness of access to him.  Psalms 17:15; and this is specially said to be the privilege of the holy angels that they see God's face.  Matthew 18:10;  Luke 1:19.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [13]

Face and presence, expressed by the same word in Hebrew, are often put for the person himself,  Genesis 48:11   Exodus 33:14   Isaiah 63:9 . No man has seen the face of God, that is, had a full revelation of his glory,  Exodus 33:20   John 1:18   1 Timothy 6:16 . To see him "face to face," is to enjoy his presence,  Genesis 32:30   Numbers 14:14   Deuteronomy 5:4 , and have a clear manifestation of his nature and grace,  1 Corinthians 13:12 .

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [14]

"Many will entreat the face (Hebrew text: "the favor") of the prince" ( Proverbs 19:6). "The face of God" means His manifested presence and favor. Jacob saw God's face, and called the place Periel, "God's face" ( Genesis 32:30), i.e. veiled in human form, in anticipation of the incarnation. The full radiancy of His glory man could not bear to see ( Exodus 33:20).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

fās  : In Hebrew the translation of three expressions: (1) פנים , pānı̄m (2) עין , ‛ayin , literally, "eye" and (3) אף , 'aph , literally, "nose," "nostril," already noted under the word Countenance . The first and second of these words are used synonymously, even in metaphorical expressions, as, e.g. in the phrase "the face of the earth," where pānı̄m is used ( Deuteronomy 6:15 et passim ) and ‛ayin ( Numbers 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 ( Psalm 24:6;  Psalm 27:8 bis  ;  Psalm 105:4;  Proverbs 7:15;  Hosea 5:15; compare  Proverbs 29:26 , where the Revised Version (British and American) translates "Many seek the ruler's favor," literally, many seek the face (Hebrew penē ) of a ruler).

If God "hides his face" He withdraws His presence, His favor ( Deuteronomy 32:20;  Job 34:29;  Psalm 13:1;  Psalm 30:7;  Psalm 143:7;  Isaiah 54:8;  Jeremiah 33:5;  Ezekiel 39:23 ,  Ezekiel 39:14;  Micah 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 ( Isaiah 59:2 ). God is asked to "hide his face," i.e. to disregard or overlook ( Psalm 51:9; compare  Psalm 10:11 ). This is also the idea of the prayer: "Cast me not away from thy presence" (literally, "face,"  Psalm 51:11 ), and of the promise: "The upright shall dwell in thy presence" (literally, "face,"  Psalm 140:13 ). If used of men, "to hide the face" expresses humility and reverence before an exalted presence ( Exodus 3:6;  Isaiah 6:2 ); similarly Elijah "wrapped his face in his mantle" when God passed by ( 1 Kings 19:13 ). The "covering of the face" is a sign of mourning ( 2 Samuel 19:4 =   Ezekiel 12:6 ,  Ezekiel 12:12 ); 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 ( Esther 7:8 ).

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

"To harden the face" means to harden one's self against any sort of appeal ( Proverbs 21:29;  Isaiah 50:7;  Jeremiah 5:3; compare  Ezekiel 3:9 ). See also Spit .

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

The "showbread" meant literally, "bread of the face," "of the presence," Hebrew leḥem pānı̄m  ; Greek ártoi enō̇pioi , ártoi tḗs prothésēos ̌ .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

(usually פַּנִים , Paninm', Πρόσωπον ), whatever of a thing is most exposed to view; hence the face of the country, ground, waters, sky, etc. In Scripture, this term is often used to denote Presence in the general sense; and, when applied to the Almighty, denotes such a complete manifestation of the divine presence, by sound or sight, ss was equivalent, in the vividness of the impression, to the seeing of a fellow-creature "face to face." The "face of God," therefore, denotes in Scripture anything or manner by which God is wont to manifest himself to man. Thus, when it is said that Adam and Eve hid themselves from "the face of Jehovah," we understand that they hid themselves from his presence, however manifested; for the term there used is the only proper word to denote presence in the Hebrew language. It was a very common and ancient opinion that our mortal frame could not survive the more sensible manifestations of the divine presence, or "see God face to face and live" ( Genesis 32:30). Hence, in this passage, the gratitude and astonishment of Jacob that he still lived after God had manifested himself to him more sensibly than by dreams and visions. This imupression was confirmed to Moses, who was told, "Thou canst not see my face: no man can see my face and live" ( Exodus 33:20), which clearly signifies that no one can in this present state of being endure the view of that glory which belongs to him ( 1 Corinthians 13:12;  1 John 3:2;  Revelation 22:4). The ancient heathen entertained the same notion, which is remarkably expressed in the celebrated mythological story of Semele, who, having prevailed on the reluctant love to appear to her in his heavenly splendor, was struck dead by the lightnings of his presence. It is to be borne in mind that God is usually represented to us in Scripture under a human force; and it is indeed difficult for even more spiritualized minds than those of the Hebrews to conceive of him apart from the form and attributes of the highest nature actually known to us. The Scriptures sanction this concession to the weakness of our intellect, and hence arise the anthropomorphous phrases which speak of the face, the eyes, the arm of God. The appearances of the angels in the Old Testament times were generally in the human form ( Judges 13:6, etc.), and from this cause alone it would have been natural, in the imagination, to transfer the form of the messengers to him by whom they were sent. (See Anthropomorphism).

The presence of Jehovah ( Exodus 33:14-15) and the "angel" ( Exodus 23:20-21) is Jehovah himself; but in  Isaiah 63:9, the angel of his presence is opposed to Jehovah himself. The light of God's countenance is a token of his favor, and is therefore put synonymously with favor ( Psalms 44:3;  Daniel 9:17). Thus, as in man, if the countenance be serene, it is a mark of good will; if fiery or piercing, of anger or displeasure. "Face" also signifies anger, justice, and severity ( Genesis 16:6;  Genesis 16:8;  Exodus 2:15;  Psalms 78:1;  Revelation 6:16).

The Jews prayed with their faces turned towards the Temple ( 1 Kings 8:38;  1 Kings 8:44;  1 Kings 8:48), and those residing out of Jerusalem turned it towards that point of the heavens in which Jerusalem lay ( Daniel 6:10); thus the Mohammedans, when praying, always turn their faces towards Mecca. To bow down the face in the dust ( Isaiah 49:23) is a mark of the lowest humiliation and submission. (See Attitudes).

The "bread of faces" is the show-bread which was always in the presence of God. (See Show-Bread).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

Face, in Scripture, is often used to denote presence in the general sense, and, when applied to the Almighty, denotes such a complete manifestation of the divine presence, by sound or sight, as was equivalent, in the vividness of the impression, to the seeing of a fellow-creature 'face to face.' The 'face of God' therefore denotes in Scripture anything or manner by which God is wont to manifest himself to man.

It was a very ancient and common opinion that our mortal frame could not survive the more sensible manifestations of the divine presence, or 'see God face to face and live' . Hence, in this passage, the gratitude and astonishment of Jacob, that he still lived after God had manifested himself to him more sensibly than by dreams and visions. This impression was confirmed to Moses, who was told, 'Thou canst not see my face: no man can see my face and live' which clearly signifies that no one can, in this present state of being, endure the view of that glory which belongs to Him (;; ).

It is to be borne in mind that God is usually represented to us in Scripture under a human form; and it is indeed difficult for even more spiritualized minds than those of the Hebrews to conceive of Him apart from the form and attributes of the highest nature actually known to us. The Scripture sanctions this concession to the weakness of our intellect, and hence arise the anthropomorphous phrases which speak of the face, the eyes, the arm of God. The appearances of the angels in the Old Testament times were generally in the human form (, etc.); and from this cause alone it would have been natural, in the imagination, to transfer the form of the messengers to Him by whom they were sent.