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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Dark; Darkness

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dark , dark´nes ( חשׁך , ḥōshekh ; σκότος , skótos ):

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 Exodus 10:21 , Exodus 10:22 , and at the death of Christ (Matthew 27:45 ). See PLAGUES ; ECLIPSE .

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 (Psalm 82:5 ; Proverbs 2:13 ; John 3:19 ; Romans 13:12 ), and their reward is to "sit in darkness" (Psalm 107:10 ) or to be "cast forth into the outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12 ); (b ) of things mysterious or inexplicable (1 Kings 8:12 ; Psalm 97:2 ); (c ) of trouble and affliction (2 Samuel 22:29 ; Job 5:14 ; Proverbs 20:20 ; Isaiah 9:2 ; compare Genesis 15:12 ); (d ) of punishment (Lamentations 3:2 ; Ezekiel 32:8 ; Zephaniah 1:15 ); (e ) of death (1 Samuel 2:9 ; Job 10:21 f; Ecclesiastes 11:8 ); (f ) of nothingness (Job 3:4-6 ); (g ) of human ignorance (Job 19:8 ; 1 John 2:11 ).

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

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Dark; Darkness'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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