Dark, Darkness

See also Darkness



Evil spirits are the “powers of darkness,” against which believers must be armed (Eph 6:11, 12). The wicked will be cast into this “darkness outside” (Matt 8:12; 22:13). Believers must beware lest they walk in darkness and mar their fellowship with God (1 John 1:6).

The term עֲרָפֶל, H6906, “cloud, heavy cloud,” can describe the place where God dwells (Exod 20:18; 1 Kings 8:12). It is parallel to חֹ֫שֶׁכְ, H3125, (Isa 60:2), where the darkness of the nations will be dispelled by the glory of Jehovah (cf. Rev 21:23-25).

Some scholars would include צַלְמָ֫וֶת, H7516, among words meaning “darkness.” Thomas claims that it is the strongest word for darkness and does not really mean “shadow of death” (Ps 23:4). Relating the word to Akkad. ṩalāmu “to be dark,” he feels that it should be tr. “very deep shadow, thick darkness.” צַלְמָ֫וֶת, H7516, is parallel to חֹ֫שֶׁכְ, H3125, in Psalm 107:10 and several times in Job.

Bibliography D. Winton Thomas “צַלְמָ֫וֶת, H7516, in the Old Testament,” JSS 7 (1962), 191-200; C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (1953), 201-212.