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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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(kimririm, "obscurations"; qadhruth, "darkness"; gnophos, "darkness" zophos "blackness"): Terms rarely used but of special significance in picturing the fearful gloom and blackness of moral darkness and calamity. Job, cursing, the day of his birth, wishes that it, a dies ater ("dead black day"), might be swallowed up in darkness (Job 3:5). Because of Israel's spiritual infidelity Yahweh clothes the heavens with the blackness of sackcloth (Isa 50:3), the figure being that of the inky blackness of ominous, terrifying thunder clouds. The fearful judgment against sin under the old dispensation is illustrated by the appalling blackness that enveloped smoking, burning, quaking Sinai at the giving of the law (Heb 12:18; compare Ex 19:16-19; 20:18). The horror of darkness culminates in the impenetrable blackness of the under-world, the eternal abode of fallen angels and riotously immoral and ungodly men (Jude 1:13; see also 1:6 and 2 Pet 2:4,17). Human language is here too feeble to picture the m oral gloom and rayless night of the lost: "Pits (the King James Version "chains") of darkness" (compare the ninth plague of Egypt, "darkness which may be felt" (Ex 10:21)). Wicked men are "wandering stars," comets that disappear in "blackness of darkness .... reserved for ever." In art this figurative language has found majestic and awe-inspiring expression in Dore's illustrations of Dante's Purgatory and Milton's Paradise Lost.
Dwight M. Pratt

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'BLACKNESS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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