(1) The noun (see also under the word \FACE\) is the translation of a variety of Hebrew and Greek expressions, panim; prosopon, being the most frequent. Besides these there are found mar'eh, "appearance," "shape," "comeliness," "visage," `ayin, "the eye," to'ar, "appearance," "figure," etc., and Aramaic ziw. 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" (~to'ar, 1 Samuel 25:3); "cheerful" (panim, Proverbs 15:13); "angry" (Proverbs 15:23); "fierce" (Daniel 8:23); "troubled" (Ezekiel 27:35); "sad" (1 Samuel 1:18; Nehemiah 2:2,3; Ecclesiastes 7:3). The countenance is "sharpened" i.e. made keen (Proverbs 27:17); it "falls," i.e. looks despondent, disappointed (Genesis 4:5,6); is "cast down" (Job 29:24); "changed" (Job 14:20; compare "altered" into glory, Luke 9:29; Daniel 5:6,9,10; 7:28, Aramaic ziw). 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; Psalms 4:6; 44:3; 89:15; 90:8); "health of countenance" (Psalms 41:11; 43:5); "help of countenance" (Psalms 42:5); "rebuke of countenance" (Psalms 80:16); "pride of countenance" (Hebrew 'aph, literally, "haughty," "lofty nose," Psalms 10:4).

(2) As verb (Hebrew hadhar, "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 gadhol, "great," for wedhal, "and the poor" of the text. The Septuagint has penes, "poor."

H. L. E. Luering

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'COUNTENANCE'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.