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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Countenance

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koun´te -nans :

(1) The noun (see also under the word FACE ) is the translation of a variety of Hebrew and Greek expressions, פּנים , pānı̄m ; πρόσωπον , prósōpon , being the most frequent. Besides these there are found מראה , mar'eh , "appearance," "shape," "comeliness," "visage," עין , ‛ayı̄n , "the eye," תּאר , tō'ar , "appearance," "figure," etc., and Aramaic זיו , zı̄w . To the Oriental the countenance mirrors, even more than to us, the character and feelings of the heart. The countenance (mar'eh is "fair" (1 Samuel 17:42; 2 Samuel 14:27; Daniel 1:15 ); in 1 Samuel 16:12 , literally, "fair of eyes"; "comely" (Song of Solomon 2:14 ); "beautiful" tō'ar , 1 Samuel 25:3 ); "cheerful" (pānı̄m , Proverbs 15:13 ); "angry" (Proverbs 15:23 ); "fierce" (Daniel 8:23 ); "troubled" (Ezekiel 27:35 ); "sad" (1 Samuel 1:18; Nehemiah 2:2 , Nehemiah 2:3; Ecclesiastes 7:3 ). The countenance is "sharpened" i.e. made keen (Proverbs 27:17 ); it "falls," i.e. looks despondent, disappointed (Genesis 4:5 , Genesis 4:6 ); is "cast down" (Job 29:24 ); "changed" (Job 14:20; compare "altered" into glory, Luke 9:29; Daniel 5:6 , Daniel 5:9 , Daniel 5:10; Daniel 7:28 , Aramaic zı̄w ). To settle one's countenance stedfastly upon a person (2 Kings 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; Psalm 4:6; Psalm 44:3; Psalm 89:15; Psalm 90:8 ); health of countenance" (Psalm 41:11; Psalm 43:5 ); "help of countenance" (Psalm 42:5 ); "rebuke of countenance" (Psalm 80:16 ); "pride of countenance" (Hebrew 'aph , literally, "haughty," "lofty nose," Psalm 10:4 ).

(2) As verb (Hebrew הדר , hādhar , "to countenance") we find the word in the King James Version of Exodus 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 Leviticus 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 גּדל , gādhōl , "great," for ודל , wedhāl , "and the poor" of the text. The Septuagint has πένης , pénēs , "poor."

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Countenance'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/c/countenance.html. 1915.

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