MembersHester Panim – Hiding One’s Face

What does it mean when God hides His face from us, and what are the consequences?

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Bible
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90

Is God playing hide and seek with man? Why does God hide His face? What is the difference between Moses covering his face, and God concealing His countenance? Does God today hide His face in the same way? What does the term “to hide one’s face” mean in the Bible?

In the Hebrew Bible text, the phrase “to hide one’s face” appears a number of times; the expression is hester panim (הסתר פנים). Most often it appears in connection with God hiding His face from the people of Israel, or when prophets foretell that God will “hide” His face. At other times, we see people asking God not to hide His face.

In the Book of Deuteronomy (31:17), God announces that He will hide His face: “Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they shall be consumed.” God is angry with His people, and for this reason hides Himself from them. Behavior of this sort among humans is known as...

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