'Face' in the Bible
The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.
So God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
“By the sweat of your faceYou will eat breadUntil you return to the ground,For from it you were taken;For you are dust,And to dust you shall return.”
Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Your face (presence) I will be hidden, and I will be a fugitive and an [aimless] vagabond on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Now it happened, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,
So the Lord said, “I will destroy (annihilate) mankind whom I have created from the surface of the earth—not only man, but the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air—because it [deeply] grieves Me [to see mankind’s sin] and I regret that I have made them.”
For in seven days I am going to cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and I will destroy (blot out, wipe away) every living thing that I have made from the surface of the earth.”
God destroyed (blotted out, wiped away) every living thing that was on the surface of the earth; man and animals and the crawling things and the birds of the heavens were destroyed from the land. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.
But the dove found no place on which to rest the sole of her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were [still] on the face of the entire earth. So he reached out his hand and took the dove, and brought her into the ark.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city.
Therefore the name of the city was Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth; and from that place the Lord scattered and dispersed them over the surface of all the earth.
Then Abram fell on his face [in worship], and God spoke with him, saying,
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring in her nose, and the bracelets on her arms.
So he fled with everything that he had, and got up and crossed the river [Euphrates], and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead [east of the Jordan River].
and you shall say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he said [to himself], “I will try to appease him with the gift that is going ahead of me. Then afterward I will see him; perhaps he will accept and forgive me.”
So Jacob named the place Peniel (the face of God), saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life has not been snatched away.”
Jacob replied, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then accept my gift [as a blessing] from my hand, for I see your face as if I had seen the face of God, and you have received me favorably.
When Judah saw her, he thought she was a [temple] prostitute, for she had covered her face [as such women did].
But Judah said to him, “The man [representing Pharaoh] solemnly and sternly warned us, saying, ‘You will not see my face [again] unless your brother is with you.’
But if you will not send him, we will not go down there; for the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face unless your brother is with you.’”
Then he washed his face and came out, and, restraining himself, said, “Let the meal be served.”
You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you shall not see my face again.’
But we said, ‘We cannot go down [to Egypt]. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down [there]; for we [were sternly told that we] cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
And Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die [in peace], since I have seen your face [and know] that you are still alive.”
Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, but see, God has shown me your children as well.”
Then Joseph took the boys [from his father’s embrace], and he bowed [before him] with his face to the ground.
Then Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept over him and kissed him [tenderly].
Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Then Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get away from me! See that you never enter my presence again, for on the day that you see my face again you will die!”
Then Moses said, “You are correct; I will never see your face again!”
He made their chariot wheels hard to turn, and the chariots difficult to drive; so the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.”
When the layer of dew evaporated, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine, flake-like thing, as fine as frost on the ground.
Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil [intent] their God brought them out to kill them in the mountains and destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from Your burning anger and change Your mind about harming Your people.
And so the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his attendant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
For how then can it be known that Your people and I have found favor in Your sight? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we are distinguished, Your people and I, from all the [other] people on the face of the earth?”
But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me and live!”
Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face was shining [with a unique radiance] because he had been speaking with God.
When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to approach him.
When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
the Israelites would see the face of Moses, how his skin shone [with a unique radiance]. So Moses put the veil on his face again until he went in to speak with God.
‘Any man from the house of Israel, or any stranger living temporarily among you, who eats any blood, against that person I shall set My face and I will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them].
‘You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall fear your God [with profound reverence]; I am the Lord.
I will also set My face against that man [opposing him, withdrawing My protection from him] and will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them], because he has given some of his children to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name.
then I shall set My face against that man and against his [extended] family, and I will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in playing the prostitute (commit apostasy) with Molech.
‘As for the person who turns to mediums [who consult the dead] or to spiritists, to play the prostitute after them, I shall set My face against that person and will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them].
For no man who has a defect shall approach [God’s altar as a priest]: no man who is blind or lame, or who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb,
I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor],And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness];
(Now the man Moses was very humble (gentle, kind, devoid of self-righteousness), more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)
But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp for seven days, and afterward she may return.”
and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people [of Israel], that You, Lord, are seen face to face, while Your cloud stands over them; and that You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
So he sent messengers to Balaam [a famous prophet-diviner] the son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the [Euphrates] River, in the land of the descendants of his people, to call for him, saying, “There is a people who have come out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me.
‘Hear this, the people who came out of Egypt cover the surface of the land; come now, curse them for me. Perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out.’”
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and lay himself face down.
When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to seek omens and signs [in the natural world], but he set his face toward the wilderness (desert).
You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear and pay attention to the [cases of the] least [important] as well as the great. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you [to judge], you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’
The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire.
for the Lord your God who is among you is a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His]—otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled and burn against you, and He will destroy you from the face of the earth.
For you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be a people for His own possession [that is, His very special treasure].
but repays those who hate Him to their faces, by destroying them; He will not hesitate with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.
then his brother’s widow shall approach him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, ‘So it is done to that man who does not build up his brother’s household.’
“The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.
Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it; your donkey will be torn away from you, and it will not be returned to you; your sheep will be given to your enemies, and you will have no one to save you.
Then My anger will be kindled and burn against them in that day, and I will abandon (turn away from) them and hide My face from them. They will be devoured, and many evils and troubles will come on them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come on us?’
But I will certainly hide My face [from them] in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods [to worship lifeless idols, to honor handmade relics].
“Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,I will see what their end shall be;For they are a perverse generation,Sons in whom there is no faithfulness.
Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
He said, “No; rather I have come now as captain of the army of the Lord.” Then Joshua fell with his face toward the earth and bowed down, and said to him, “What does my lord have to say to his servant?”
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and [with great sorrow] they put dust on their heads.
So the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?
When Gideon realized [without any doubt] that He was the Angel of the Lord, he declared, “Oh no, Lord God! For now I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face [and I am doomed]!”
Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the Angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask Him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name.
Then she kneeled face downward, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should notice me, when I am a foreigner?”
When the people of Ashdod got up early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place.
But when they got up early the next morning, behold, Dagon had [again] fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and his head and both palms of his hands were [lying] cut off on the threshold; only the trunk [portion] of [the idol of] Dagon was left on him.
When the Philistine looked around and saw David, he derided and disparaged him because he was [just] a young man, with a ruddy complexion, and a handsome appearance.
David put his hand into his bag and took out a stone and slung it, and it struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
You shall never cut off your lovingkindness and faithfulness from my house, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”
As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side [beside the mound of stones] and fell on his face to the ground [in submission and respect], and bowed three times. Then they kissed one another and wept together, but David wept more.
Then David also got up afterward and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and lay himself face down.
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from the donkey, and kneeled face downward before David and bowed down to the ground [in respect].
He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, wrapped in a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid respect [to him].
Abner repeated again, “Turn away from following me. Why should I have to strike you to the ground? How would I be able to face Joab your brother [and look him in the eye]?”
David said, “Good! I will make a covenant (treaty) with you, but I require one thing of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see me.”
Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David and fell face down and lay himself down [in respect]. David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”
When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she bowed with her face to the ground and lay herself down, and said, “Help, O king.”
Joab bowed his face toward the ground and lay himself down and blessed the king. Then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has done the request of his servant.”
However, the king said, “Let him go to his own house, and do not let him see my face.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without seeing the king’s face.
So Joab came to the king and told him. Then David called for Absalom, and he came to the king and bowed his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.
For the battle there was spread out over the surface of the entire countryside, and the [hazards of the] forest devoured more men that day than did the sword.
And Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has handed over the men who lifted up their hands [to fight] against my lord the king.”
But the king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants crossing over toward him; and he went out and bowed before the king with his face toward the ground.
The king was told, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came before the king, he bowed before the king with his face to the ground.
Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, and laid herself face down before the king and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”
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