Also see definition of "Darkness" in Word Study
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NAVE: Darkness
EBD: Darkness
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Darkness [EBD]

The plague (the ninth) of darkness in Egypt (Ex. 10:21) is described as darkness "which may be felt." It covered "all the land of Egypt," so that "they saw not one another." It did not extend to the land of Goshen (ver. 23).

When Jesus hung upon the cross (Matt. 27:45; Luke 23:44), from the "sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."

On Mount Sinai, Moses (Ex. 20:21) "drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." This was the "thick cloud upon the mount" in which Jehovah was when he spake unto Moses there. The Lord dwelt in the cloud upon the mercy-seat (1 Kings 8:12), the cloud of glory. When the psalmist (Ps. 97:2) describes the inscrutable nature of God's workings among the sons of men, he says, "Clouds and darkness are round about him." God dwells in thick darkness.

Darkness (Isa. 13:9, 10; Matt. 24:29) also is a symbol of the judgments that attend on the coming of the Lord. It is a symbol of misery and adversity (Job 18:6; Ps. 107:10; Isa. 8:22; Ezek. 30:18). The "day of darkness" in Joel 2:2, caused by clouds of locusts, is a symbol of the obscurity which overhangs all divine proceedings. "Works of darkness" are impure actions (Eph. 5:11). "Outer darkness" refers to the darkness of the streets in the East, which are never lighted up by any public or private lamps after nightfall, in contrast with the blaze of cheerful light in the house. It is also a symbol of ignorance (Isa. 9:2; 60:2; Matt. 6:23) and of death (Job 10:21; 17:13).

Darkness [NAVE]

Over the face of the earth, Gen. 1:2; Job 38:9; Jer. 4:23.
Called Night, Gen. 1:5.
God creates, Isa. 45:7.
Miraculous: in Egypt, Ex. 10:21, 22; Psa. 105:28; at Sinai, Ex. 20:21; Heb. 12:18; at the crucifixion, Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33.
Of judgments, Prov. 20:20; Isa. 8:22; 13:10; Jer. 4:28; 13:16; Lam. 3:2; Ezek. 32:7, 8; Joel 2:2, 10; Amos 4:13; 5:18, 20; 8:9; Mic. 7:8; Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 23:45; Rev. 8:12; 9:2.
Called outer darkness, Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30.
Of powers of evil, Luke 22:53; Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 5:5; Rev. 16:10.
Of Spiritual Blindness
Isa. 9:2 Matt. 4:16; Luke 1:79. Isa. 42:16; Isa. 50:10; Matt. 6:22, 23; Luke 11:34; John 1:5; John 3:19-21; John 8:12; John 11:9, 10; Acts 26:18; Rom. 1:21; Rom. 13:12, 13; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:8, 11; 1 Thess. 5:4, 5; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 John 1:5-7; 1 John 2:8-11 See: Blindness, Spiritual.
The darkness of the Holy of Holies was symbolical of the dwelling place of Jehovah. See: Tabernacle, Most Holy Place. See also the following scriptures: Ex. 19:16; 2 Sam. 22:10-12; 2 Chr. 6:1 1 Kin. 8:12; Psa. 18:11; Psa. 97:2; Heb. 12:18


is spoken of as encompassing the actual presence of God, as that out of which he speaks, --the envelope, as it were, of divine glory. (Exodus 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12) The plague of darkness in Egypt was miraculous. The darkness "over all the land," (Matthew 27:45) attending the crucifixion has been attributed to an eclipse, but was undoubtedly miraculous, as no eclipse of the sun could have taken place at that time, the moon being at the full at the time of the passover. Darkness is also, as in the expression "land of darkness," used for the state of the dead, (Job 10:21,22) and frequently, figuratively, for ignorance and unbelief, as the privation of spiritual light. (John 1:5; 3:19)


DARK; DARKNESS - dark, dark'-nes (choshekh; skotos):

1. Darkness and Light in Palestine:

The day and night, light and darkness, are notable antitheses in Palestine. There the day does not slowly fade away into the night after a period of twilight, but before sunset there is the brightness of day, and when the sun has disappeared everything has changed and night is at hand. From sunset until the darkness of night is less than an hour.

2. Symbolic Uses:

In the Bible the main use of darkness is in contrast to light. Light is the symbol of God's purity, wisdom and glory. Darkness is the opposite. Miraculous occurrence of darkness in the land of Egypt for three days is recorded in Ex 10:21,22, and at the death of Christ (Mt 27:45).


The figurative uses of darkness are many and various. It is used as a symbol (a) of moral depravity and its punishment. The wicked walk and work in darkness (Ps 82:5; Prov 2:13; Jn 3:19; Rom 13:12), and their reward is to "sit in darkness" (Ps 107:10) or to be "cast forth into the outer darkness" (Mt 8:12); (b) of things mysterious or inexplicable (1 Ki 8:12; Ps 97:2); (c) of trouble and affliction (2 Sam 22:29; Job 5:14; Prov 20:20; Isa 9:2; compare Gen 15:12); (d) of punishment (Lam 3:2; Ezek 32:8; Zeph 1:15); (e) of death (1 Sam 2:9; Job 10:21 f; Eccl 11:8); (f) of nothingness (Job 3:4-6); (g) of human ignorance (Job 19:8; 1 Jn 2:11).

"A dark (the Revised Version, margin "squalid") place" (2 Pet 1:19) refers especially to the state of things described in 2 Pet 2.

Alfred H. Joy

Also see definition of "Darkness" in Word Study

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