Bible Meaning: Face of God, facing God
Strong's Concordance #H6439
Two men are named Penuel in the Bible. The first, a descendant of Judah, is listed as the father of Gedor (1Chronicles 4:4). The second is a Benjamite (1Chronicles 8:1, 25).
In regards to a location, Penuel and Peniel are synonymous references. Peniel is used only once and Penuel is used six times in the KJV Old Testament (Genesis 32:31, Judges 8:8 - 9, 17, 1Kings 12:25). The city is located east of the Jordan River and just north of the Jabbok River.
The only time Peniel, as far as its spelling, is used in Scripture in Genesis 32:30. Jacob gave the city its name after he wrestled all night with a mysterious man.
After the wrestling match was over, and he was blessed, Jacob realized he had not fought a human or even an angel. It was revealed to him that he endured and overcame God manifested in the flesh (Genesis 32:28)! Based on his experience, he named the location where he wrestled Peniel, because "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (verse 30).
Peniel, now spelled Penuel, had its tower destroyed by Gideon after they refused him assistance as he and his 300-man army chased after the Midianites. The city was rebuilt during the time Jeroboam was king over northern Israel.
And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.
1Chronicles 8:1, 25
Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn . . . And Iphedeiah, and Penuel, the sons of Shashak . . .
Genesis 32:24 - 25, 30 - 31
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him . . .
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Judges 8:6 - 9, 17
And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army? And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.
And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him.
And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower . . .
And he (Gideon) beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein: and went out from thence, and built Penuel.