Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

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jwm
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Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby jwm » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:49 am

Isa. 53:3 contains the phrase

וּכְמַסְתֵּר פָּנִים מִמֶּנּוּ

I would have expected min to denote the party from whom faces are turned, making it "from us."

2 Chron. 30:9 has

וְלֹא־יָסִיר פָּנִים מִכֶּם אִם־תָּשׁוּבוּ אֵלָֽיו
"And he will not turn his face (idiomatic pl.) from you if you turn to him."

Isa. 59:2 has

הִסְתִּירוּ פָנִים מִכֶּם מִשְּׁמֹֽועַ
"and your sins have hid [his] (idiomatic pl.) face from you, from hearing [you].

What is going on here in Isa. 53:3? Who is imagined to be turning away from whom?
J. [James] Webb Mealy, PhD

Schubert
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Re: Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby Schubert » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:43 pm

Since no one else has responded to this post, I'll throw in my contribution. You've asked, " Who is imagined to be turning away from whom?" It appears there is no definitively clear answer although my guess is that faces are being hidden/turned from him.

Part of the problem is presumably because the pronoun suffix in מִמֶּנּוּ can be either 3rd person ms or 1st pl (Gesenius, para 103i and m).

Although we're not meant to discuss translation issues on this forum, a review of translations illustrates the lack of a clear answer to your question. Many English translations have humans turning their faces from him. But my elderly KJV has a printed note which provides an alternative interpretation of the ambiguous Hebrew: "he hid as it were his face from us". And, interestingly, the LXX has his face being turned [from us].
John McKinnon

jwm
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Re: Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby jwm » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:11 pm

Thanks. I guess it's just right down the middle.
J. [James] Webb Mealy, PhD

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SteveMiller
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Re: Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:16 pm

I don't see how it could be "he hid his face from us" because "face" is plural.
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kwrandolph
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Re: Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby kwrandolph » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:56 pm

jwm wrote:Isa. 53:3 contains the phrase

וּכְמַסְתֵּר פָּנִים מִמֶּנּוּ

I would have expected min to denote the party from whom faces are turned, making it "from us."


From its form, כְמַסְתֵּר can be piel, pual or hophal. It’s from the root סְתֵּר that has the basic idea of hiding, putting out of sight. I take it as a hophal, “as causing faces to be hidden from him…” Taken in the context of the total verse, we get the picture of hiding faces from someone in disdain, that we don’t want to think about him.

Karl W. Randolph.

Isaac Fried
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Re: Who turns whose face in Isa. 53:3?

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:11 pm

The opposite of the aversion of הסתרת פנים is the compassionate הארת פנים and נשיאת פנים as in Nu. 6:25-26
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ. יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
KJV: "the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

See also Ps. 22:24-25
יִרְאֵי יהוה הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל-זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לֹא בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי וְלֹא הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ
KJV: "Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard."
Isaac Fried, Boston University


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