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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the absence of light. "Darkness was upon the face of the deep," Genesis 1:2 ; that is, the chaos was immersed in thick darkness, because light was withheld from it. The most terrible darkness was that brought on Egypt as a plague; it was so thick as to be, as it were, palpable; so horrible, that no one durst stir out of his place; and so lasting, that it endured three days and three nights, Exodus 10:21-22 ; Wis_17:2-3 . The darkness at our Saviour's death began at the sixth hour, or noon, and ended at the third hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon. Thus it lasted almost the whole time he was on the cross; compare Matthew 27:45 , with John 19:14 , and Mark 15:25 . Origen, Maldonatus, Erasmus, Vatablus, and others, were of opinion that this darkness covered Judea only; which is sometimes called the whole earth; that is, the whole country. Chrysostom, Euthymius, Theophylact, and others, thought it extended over a hemisphere. Origen says it was caused by a thick mist, which precluded the sight of the sun. That it was preternatural is certain, for, the moon being at full, a natural eclipse of the sun was impossible. Darkness is sometimes used metaphorically for death. "The land of darkness" is the grave, Job 10:22 ; Psalms 107:10 . It is also used to denote misfortunes and calamities: "A day of darkness" is a day of affliction, Esther 11:8. "Let that day be darkness; let darkness stain it,"— let it be reckoned among the unfortunate days, Job 3:4-5 . The expressions, "I will cover the heavens with darkness;" "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood," &c, signify very great political calamities, involving the overthrow of kings, princes, and nobles, represented by the luminaries of heaven. In a moral sense, darkness denotes ignorance and vice; hence "the children of light," in opposition to "the children of darkness," are the righteous distinguished from the wicked.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Darkness'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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