the Fifth Week of Lent
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The ninth Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21, etc.). Especially calculated to affect the Egyptians who worshipped Ra, the sun god. Its sudden and intense coming when Moses stretched out his hand marked it as supernatural. Its basis was natural, namely, the chamsin or sandstorm (see Septuagint), from the S.W. desert. It produces a darkness denser than the densest fog, so that no man rises from his place; men and beasts hide until it is over, for it penetrates even through well closed windows. This explains the peculiar phrase "darkness which may be felt." What still more marked its judicial character was (compare Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29) "the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."
The date of Amos 8:9 coincides with a total eclipse visible at Jerusalem shortly after noon, Feb. 9th, 784 B.C.; the date of Micah 3:6 with the eclipse June 5th, 716 B.C. (Dionys. Hal., 2:56); the date of Jeremiah 15:9 with the eclipse of Sept. 30th, 610 B.C. (Herodotus, 1:74,103.) The darkness over all the land (Juaea) from the sixth to the ninth hour during Christ's crucifixion (Matthew 27:45) cannot have been an eclipse, for it would not last three hours, seldom intensely more than six minutes. The eclipse, darkness and earthquake in Bithynia, noted by Phlegon of Tralles, was probably in the year before. This darkness at Christ's crucifixion was nature's sympathy with her suffering Lord; perhaps partly intended by the prophecy Amos 8:9.
As the glory of the Lord shone around the scene of His birth (Luke 2:9), so a pall of darkness was fitly spread over His dying scene. By the paschal reckoning the moon must then have been at its full phase, when the sun could not be eclipsed. Darkness is the image of spiritual ignorance and unbelief (Isaiah 60:2; John 1:5; John 3:19; 1 John 2:8). "Outer darkness" expresses exclusion from the brightness of the heavenly banquet (Matthew 8:12). "The works of darkness," i.e. sins (Ephesians 5:11). God dwells in thick darkness; i.e., we cannot penetrate the awe inspiring mysteries of His person and His dealings. But God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5; 1 Kings 8:12; Psalms 97:2).
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Darkness'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​d/darkness.html. 1949.