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What does "face" symbolize in the Bible?

Sometimes it seems like "face" is used in the sense of banishment (not see the Face) as in Psalm 13:1 or Psalm 80:3-7, but at other times it seems like "face" means blessing as in Numbers 6:25 and in Psalm 4:6.  What gives?

Clarify Share Report Asked April 24 2021 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Of course, God is a spiritual Being. However, a "face" is ascribed to Him to indicate or describe in metaphorical terms that people can understand and relate to (based on their dealings with other human beings) various aspects of His relationship to people at differing times.

Just as people smile, or are said to "beam", at other people with whom they are pleased or happy (causing their face to figuratively "shine" toward them), God is described in similar terms when He is pleased with the conduct of humans, or wants to bless them.

Similarly, in the same way that deliberately turning away from someone, or avoiding eye contact with a person, can be a sign of disfavor among humans, God may be symbolically described as "hiding His face" from someone with whom He is angry, or with whom He does not want to deal (although the individual is by no means thus somehow "hidden" from Him, as one human might be from another whom the other person is not looking at).

April 25 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
When God hides His face from His people, He is disciplining them (Ps 13:1
PS 13:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?; Ps 80:3-7 PS 80:3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 
PS 80:7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 
PS 88:14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?), but the shining of His face upon them is a sign of His blessing (Ps 4:6; 67:1 

PS 67:1 To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.; Num. 6:25 a verse which was cited in the question, 

NU 6:25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:). To seek His face is to seek His blessing (Ps 119:58;– WWW

See also Ps 27:8 -- “When thou saidst, ‘Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, ‘Thy face, LORD, will I seek’.”).
1CH 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
2CH 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

April 26 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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