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SHADE, SHADOW (צֵל, H7498, defense, shadow, is the normal OT word; there is also צַלְמָ֫וֶת, H7516, grave, calamity, and tr. shadow of death by KJV and RSV. Greek has σκία, shade or adumbration). Most Biblical references are fig.: only twice does an actual shadow play a significant part in the narrative—when Hezekiah asked that the shadow on the sundial might reverse its normal direction of movement, as a sign from God (
The innumerable fig. references make use of an image which, like so much of the Bible’s imagery, is drawn straight from the Middle Eastern environment. In a land of heat and violent storms the need for shelter would be readily apparent and, since much of the land was treeless, it was, more often than not, in the shade of a rock or crag that the shelter was to be found.
The most significant reference in this category is to the Tabernacle and its contents in the wilderness (
See also Tabernacle.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(1) of shelter and protection (of man,
(2) of anything fleeting or transient, as of the days of man’s life on earth (
(3) with the idea of obscurity or imperfection (in
(4) of darkness, gloom; see Shadow of Death.