Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology 
"Darkness" in both the Old Testament (Heb. hasak [ Proverbs 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-7 ), judgment ( Exodus 10:21; Matthew 25:30 ), and death ( Psalm 88:12 ). Salvation brings light to those in darkness ( Isaiah 9:2 ). Although darkness is opaque to man, it is transparent to God ( Psalm 139:12 ). Indeed, God can veil himself in darkness at moments of great revelation ( Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:23; Psalm 18:11 ).
God Rules the Darkness . The biblical view of darkness and light offers a unique contrast. There is no thought that darkness is equal in power to God's light. The absolute, sovereign God rules over the darkness and the powers of evil. This is evident in several ways. First, God knows the darkness. He knows where it is ( Job 34:22 ) and what it contains ( Daniel 2:22 ). Second, God rules over the darkness because he created it ( Isaiah 45:7; cf. Amos 4:13; 5:8 ). Third, God uses the darkness for his own purposes: to hide himself from the sight of men ( Psalm 18:11; 1 Kings 8:12 ) and to bring his judgment on evildoers ( Deuteronomy 28:28-29; Matthew 8:12; 22:13 ), evil nations ( Ezekiel 30:18-19 ), and false prophets ( Jeremiah 23:12; Micah 3:6; Revelation 16:10 ). Finally, God rules over the darkness eschatologically. The time of God's ultimate judgment, the day of the Lord, is portrayed in both the Old Testament and New Testament as a day of darkness ( Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18,20; Zephaniah 1:15; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12-17 ).
Darkness and Crucifixion . It is against this background that the emphasis on darkness in the crucifixion scene may be understood. Luke records, "it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two" (23:44-45; cf. Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33 ). While darkness often accompanies the conception of death in Scripture (cf. Job 10:21-22 ), darkness at the crucifixion scene displays God's displeasure on humankind for crucifying his son. It also indicates God's judgment on evil. But the torn curtain exhibits the opening of salvation to all through the death of God's Son.
Final Darkness . The Old Testament and New Testament describe the future of the ungodly in terms of eschatological darkness, symbolizing perdition ( 1 Samuel 2:9; Matthew 22:13; Jude 12-13 ). "Hell" and "pits of darkness" describe the fate of angels who sinned ( 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6 ). But for believers darkness will be dispelled by the presence of the light of the glory of God ( Revelation 21:23-24; 22:5 ). It is only through the light of God in Jesus Christ that darkness can be dispelled.
Michael J. Wilkins
See also Hell
Bibliography . E. R. Achtmeier, Int 17 (1963): 439-49; G. L. Borchert, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, sv. "Light and Darkness"; F. G. Carver, Wesleyan Theological Journal 23 (1986): 7-32; H. Conzelmann, TDNT, 7:423-45; D. Guthrie, New Testament Theology: H.-C. Hahn, NIDNTT, 1:420-25; G. E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament ; G. F. Shirbroun, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, s.v. "Light"; G. Wenham, Genesis 1-15 .
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary 
In Scripture language the word darkness is variously used. In the natural sense of the word, it means the obscurity, such as is described at the original state of things, when Jehovah went forth in acts of creation. It is said, "darkness was on the face of the deep." ( Genesis 1:2) In a spiritual sense, darkness is frequently made use of in Scripture to denote the blindness and ignorance of the mind, by reason of sin. Hence Paul, when speaking of the conversion of the church at Corinth, saith, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." ( 2 Corinthians 4:6) The darkness of the grave, and the darkness of hell, are both also spoken of in Scripture. ( Job 10:21-22; Matthew 22:13) The darkness which took place at the death of Christ, and which lasted from the sixth to the ninth hour, differed from all these, and was among the miracles which marked that momentous event. Profane writers, as well as the sacred Scriptures, have it upon record. Dionysius the Areopagite, in his epistle to Polycarp, makes mention of it with decided convictions on his mind, that the event was supernatural. And another writer, Suidas, relates, that the same Dionysius said concerning it, that God either suffered, or took part with one that did. But what are all the testimonies of profane writers to those which God the Holy Ghost gives of it? Some have thought, that this supernatural darkness was the Father's frown at the Jews' cruelty, in crucifying Christ. For my part, I believe it to have been the very reverse. For never was the Father more glorified than by those sufferings of the Lord Jesus. Never was Christ more glorified than by those sufferings. Then it was that Scripture was fulfilled, and Jesus set, as JEHOVAH'S King, "upon his holy hill of Zion." ( Psalms 2:6) What was it, this darkness then, under these views, meant to imply? Surely, that Jesus the Son of God, when becoming the sinner's Surety, shall do all, and suffer all, the sinner deserved, and must have borne for ever, had not Christ interposed. Darkness, yea, darkness to be felt, shall be in the Surety's lot. Christ is now lifted up a spectacle between heaven and earth. The sinner's Surety is now appearing as one forsaken of both, and meriting the favour of neither. He is now suspended on the cross in the air, to represent his territories, who is the "Prince of the power of the air." ( Ephesians 2:2) The cataracts of divine wrath were now opened. Christ is beheld in the very character he had taken at the call of God the Father; first, made sin, and then, a curse, (see these Scriptures,) 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13 then follows, darkness, soul-trial, and death. It was not necessary the sinner's Surety should go down into hell, to suffer there the torments of the damned: it is not the place that constitutes the suffering, but the manner: and here the judgment due to the sinner seized him. He saith himself, "The sorrows of death compassed me, the pains of hell gat hold upon me." ( Psalms 116:3) Surely, if ever the face of hell was seen on earth, or the darkness of hell known, it was on that day. Hence, when the whole was passed, and this eclipse gone by; and day-light brake in again upon Jesus, he cried with a loud voice, "It is finished." ( John 19:30) Reader! those cries of the Lord Jesus on the cross, during the dreadful darkness and desertion his soul endured, may serve to teach us somewhat of those eternal shrieks and cries of the damned, who are cast out of God's presence for ever!
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Genesis 1:2-3 Isaiah 45:7 Job 34:22 Psalm 139:11-12 Daniel 2:22
Darkness was thought of as a curse. Thus the Old Testament speaks of death as a land of darkness ( Job 10:21-22; Job 17:13; Psalm 88:6 ). Darkness is frequently associated with supernatural events involving the judgment of God, such as the plagues of Egypt ( Exodus 10:21 ), the coming of the Lord ( Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 2:31; Matthew 24:29 ), and Christ's crucifixion ( Matthew 27:45 ). The day of God's judgment is often described as a day of darkness ( Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18-20 ). Elsewhere darkness forms part of God's punishment on the disobedient ( Deuteronomy 28:29; 1 Samuel 2:9; Job 5:14; Job 15:30; Job 20:26; Psalm 107:10; Isaiah 47:5; Jeremiah 13:16; Ezekiel 32:8 ).
In the New Testament, the place of punishment for humans and sinful angels is designated “the outer darkness” ( Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30; compare 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6 ,Jude 1:6, 1:13 ). Darkness often has an ethical sense. Scripture speaks of ways of darkness ( Proverbs 2:13; Proverbs 4:19 ), walking in darkness ( John 8:12; 1 John 1:6; compare 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8 ), and works of darkness ( Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:11 ). In this ethical sense God has no darkness in Himself ( 1 John 1:5 ). Powers hostile to God can be termed darkness. People thus face a choice of whether to yield allegiance to God or to darkness ( Luke 22:53; John 1:5; John 3:19; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:5 ). Darkness also symbolizes ignorance, especially of God and of God's ways ( Isaiah 8:22; Isaiah 9:2; John 12:46; Acts 26:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 1 John 2:9 ). God's deliverance (either from ignorance or hostile powers) is described as lighting the darkness ( Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 42:7-16; Micah 7:8; 1 Peter 2:9 ). See Light.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary 
The absence, privation, or want of natural light. In Scripture language it also signifies sin, John 3:19 . trouble, Is. 8: 22. obscurity, privacy, Matthew 10:27 . forgetfulness, contempt, Ecclesiastes 6:4 . Darkness, says Moses, was upon the face of the deep, Genesis 1:2 . that is to say the chaos was plunged in thick darkness, because hitherto the light was not created. Moses, at the command of God, brought darkness upon Egypt, as a plague to the inhabitants of it. The Septuagint, our translation of the Bible, and indeed most others, in explaining Moses's account of this darkness, render it "a darkness which may be felt;" and the Vulgate has it, "palpable darkness;" that is, a darkness consisting of black vapors and exhalations, so condensed that they might be perceived by the organs of feeling or seeing; but some commentators think that this is carrying the sense too far, since, in such a medium as this, mankind could not live an hour, much less for the space of three days, as the Egyptians are said to have done, during the time this darkness lasted; and, therefore, they imagine that instead of a darkness that may be felt, the Hebrew phrase may signify a darkness wherein men went groping and feeling about for every thing they wanted. Let this, however, be as it may, it was an awful judgment on the Egyptians; and we may naturally conclude that it must have also spread darkness and distress over their minds as well as their persons. The tradition of the Jews is, that in this darkness they were terrified by the apparitions of evil spirits, or rather by dreadful sounds and murmurs which they made.
What made it still worse, was the length of time it continued; three days, or as bishop Hall expresses it, six nights in one. During the last three hours that our Saviour hung upon the cross, a darkness covered the face of the earth, to the great terror and amazement of the people present at his execution. This extraordinary alteration in the face of nature, says Dr. Macknight, in his Harmony of the Gospels, was peculiarly proper, whilst the Sun of Righteousness was withdrawing his beams from the land of Israel, and from the world; not only because it was a miraculous testimony borne by God himself to his innocence, but also because it was a fit emblem of his departure and its effects, at least till his light shone out anew with additional splendour in the ministry of his apostles. The darkness which now covered Judea, and the neighbouring countries, beginning about noon, and continuing till Jesus expired, was not the effect of an ordinary eclipse of the sun, for that can never happen but at the new moon, whereas now it was full moon; not to mention that the total darkness occasioned by eclipses of the sun never continues above twelve or fifteen minutes; wherefore it must have been produced by the divine power, in a manner we are not able to explain. Accordingly Luke (chap. 23: 44, 45.) after relating that there was darkness over all the earth, adds, "and the sun was darkened;" which perhaps may imply that the darkness of the sun did not occasion, but proceeded from the darkness that was over all the land. Farther, the Christian writers, in their most ancient apologies to the heathens, affirm that as it was full moon, at the passover when Christ was crucified, no such eclipse could happen by the course of nature. They observe, also, that was taken notice of as a prodigy by the heathens themselves.
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).
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
Apart from its literal meaning, darkness often has a figurative meaning in the Bible. Its most common figurative usage is as a symbol for evil. This symbolic usage is natural, for wrongdoers prefer darkness to light. It enables them to carry out their wrongdoing more easily ( Nehemiah 6:10; Psalms 91:5-6; Isaiah 29:15; Jeremiah 49:9; Luke 22:53; John 3:19-20; Romans 13:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:7).
The world of humankind, because of sin, is a place of darkness and death. Believers need not fear this darkness, for God has become their light ( Psalms 23:4; Psalms 27:1; Micah 7:8; Ephesians 5:14). In fact, when people receive God’s salvation they come, as it were, out of a kingdom of darkness into one of light ( Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:6-7; Luke 1:76-79; Colossians 1:13). They must therefore no longer live as if they belonged to the darkness, but live as those who belong to the light ( 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8-11; see Light ).
An intervention by God in human affairs may be accompanied by unnatural darkness ( Deuteronomy 4:11; Matthew 27:45-46). This is particularly the case if the intervention is one of judgment ( Joel 2:2; Joel 2:31; cf. Revelation 16:10-11). Therefore, the Bible may speak symbolically of a day of judgment as a day of darkness ( Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:15). In keeping with this symbolism, the Bible depicts the final destiny of unrepentant sinners as a place of terrifying and everlasting darkness ( Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; 2 Peter 2:17; Judges 1:13).
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
Used in various significations in scripture.
1. State of the earth before God said, Let there be light. Genesis 1:2 .
2. Temporary absence of light in the night. Genesis 1:5 .
3. Extraordinary darkness sent by God. Exodus 10:21; Exodus 14:20; Matthew 27:45 .
4. The darkness by which God shrouded His glory. Exodus 20:21; Psalm 18:9,11; Psalm 97:2; Hebrews 12:18 .
5. State of death as compared with natural life. Job 10:21,22 .
6. Moral darkness as the consequent state of man fallen. Psalm 82:5; Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16; John 1:5; John 3:19; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Peter 2:9 .
7. It characterises Satan and his agents. Luke 22:53; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 16:10 .
8. It is the abode of wicked spirits and will characterise the place of punishment of the wicked. Matthew 8:12; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6,13 . God is light, and Christ came into the world as the true light: everything shut out from God, or opposed to God and to the Lord Jesus, must partake of moral darkness.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
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.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
When Jesus hung upon the cross ( Matthew 27:45; Luke 23:44 ), from the "sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."
On Mount Sinai, Moses ( Exodus 20:21 ) "drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." This was the "thick cloud upon the mount" in which Jehovah was when he spake unto Moses there. The Lord dwelt in the cloud upon the mercy-seat ( 1 Kings 8:12 ), the cloud of glory. When the psalmist ( Psalm 97:2 ) describes the inscrutable nature of God's workings among the sons of men, he says, "Clouds and darkness are round about him." God dwells in thick darkness.
Darkness ( Isaiah 13:9,10; Matthew 24:29 ) also is a symbol of the judgments that attend on the coming of the Lord. It is a symbol of misery and adversity ( Job 18:6; Psalm 107:10; Isaiah 8:22; Ezekiel 30:18 ). The "day of darkness" in Joel 2:2 , caused by clouds of locusts, is a symbol of the obscurity which overhangs all divine proceedings. "Works of darkness" are impure actions ( Ephesians 5:11 ). "Outer darkness" refers to the darkness of the streets in the East, which are never lighted up by any public or private lamps after nightfall, in contrast with the blaze of cheerful light in the house. It is also a symbol of ignorance ( Isaiah 9:2; 60:2; Matthew 6:23 ) and of death ( Job 10:21; 17:13 ).
King James Dictionary 
1. Absence of light.
And darkness was on the face of the deep. Genesis 1
2. Obscurity want of clearness or perspicuity that quality or state which renders any thing difficult to be understood as the darkness of counsels. 3. A state of being intellectually clouded ignorance.
Men loved darkness rather than light. John 3
4. A private place secrecy privacy.
What I tell in darkness, that speak ye in light. Matthew 10
5. Infernal gloom hell as utter darkness. Matthew 22 6. Great trouble and distress calamities perplexities.
A day of clouds and thick darkness. Joel 2 Is. viii.
7. Empire of Satan.
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness. Colossians 1
Land of darkness, the grave. Job 10
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
The absence of natural light, Genesis 1:2 , and hence figuratively a state of misery and adversity, Job 18:6 Psalm 107:10 Isaiah 8:22 9:1; also the absence of the sun and stars, and hence the fall of chief men and national convulsions, Isaiah 13:10 Acts 2:20 . "Works of darkness," are the impure mysteries practiced in heathen worship, Ephesians 5:11 . "Outer darkness" illustrates the gloom of those on whom the gates of heaven are closed, Matthew 8:12 . The darkness in Egypt, Exodus 10:21-23 , was miraculous; also that which covered all Judea with sympathetic gloom at the crucifixion of Christ, Luke 23:43 . This could not have been caused by an eclipse of the sun; for at Passover the moon was full, and on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Darkness. Darkness is spoken of as encompassing the actual presence of God, as that out of which he speaks, - the envelope, as it were, of divine glory. Exodus 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12. The plague of darkness in Egypt was miraculous.
The darkness "over all the land," Matthew 27:45, attending the crucifixion has been attributed to an eclipse, but was undoubtedly miraculous, as no eclipse of the sun could have taken place at that time, the moon being at the full at the time of the Passover .
Darkness is also, as in the expression "land of darkness," used for the state of the dead, Job 10:21-22, and frequently, figuratively, for ignorance and unbelief, as the privation of spiritual light. John 1:5; John 3:19.
Webster's Dictionary 
(1): ( n.) A state of privacy; secrecy.
(2): ( n.) The absence of light; blackness; obscurity; gloom.
(3): ( n.) A state of ignorance or error, especially on moral or religious subjects; hence, wickedness; impurity.
(4): ( n.) Want of clearness or perspicuity; obscurity; as, the darkness of a subject, or of a discussion.
(5): ( n.) A state of distress or trouble.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
DARKNESS . See Light.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
See Light and Darkness.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(properly חשֶׁךְ , cho'shek; Σκότος ), the absence of light; the state of chaos as represented by the sacred writer in Genesis 1:2. (See Creation).
The plague of darkness in Egypt ( Exodus 10:21) was one so thick and intense as to seem almost palpable. The "palpable obscure" of Milton appears to express the idea in a forcible manner. The Tamul translation gives "darkness which causeth to feel," or so dark that a man is obliged to feel his way, and until he shall have so felt he cannot proceed. Some expositors are disposed to contend for the literal palpableness of this darkness by supposing that the agency employed was a wind, densely filling the air with particles of dust and sand. Such winds are not unknown in the Eastern deserts, and they are always very appalling and destructive in their effects. Others think that a dense fog was spread over the land; but a darkness consisting of thick clammy fogs and exhalations, so condensed as to be perceived by the organs of touch, might have extinguished animal life in a few hours. Whether the darkness was exhibited in these or any other forms, the miracle must have struck the Egyptians with astonishment and horror, as the sun was one of their principal deities, and was supposed to be the source of life and the soul of the world, and with the moon to rule all things. (See Plagues Of Egypt).
In the Gospels of Matthew ( Matthew 27:45) and Luke ( Luke 23:44) we read that, while Jesus, hung upon the cross, "from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." Most of the ancient commentators believed that this darkness extended to the whole world. But their arguments are now seldom regarded as satisfactory, and their proofs even less so. Of the latter the strongest is the mention of an eclipse of the sun, which is referred to this time by Phlegon Trallianus, and, after him, by Thallus (ap. Africanum). But even an eclipse of the sun could not be visible to the whole world, and neither of these writers names the place of the eclipse. Some think it was Rome; but it is impossible that an eclipse could have happened from the sixth to the ninth hour both at Rome and Jerusalem. It is, therefore, highly probable that the statement of Phlegon, which in the course of time has come to be quoted as independent authority, was taken from the relation of the Christians or from the Scriptures. That the darkness could not have proceeded from an eclipse of the sun is further placed beyond all doubt by the fact that, it being then the time of the Passover, the moon was at the full. This darkness may therefore be ascribed to an extraordinary and preternatural obscuration of the solar light, which might precede and accompany the earthquake that took place on the same occasion; for it has been noticed that often before an earthquake such a mist arises from sulphureous vapors as to occasion a darkness almost nocturnal (see the, authors cited in Kuinoil ad Matthew 24:29, and compare Joel 3:3; Revelation 6:12 sq.). (See Earthquake). Such a darkness might extend over Judaea, or that division of Palestine in which Jerusalem stood, to which the best authorities agree that here, as in some other places, it is necessary to limit the phrase Πᾶσαν Τὴν Γῆν , rendered "all the land." In the "Acts of Pilate" (q.v.), which have been' quoted by Justin Martyr and Tertullian, we find the following document, in which this preternatural darkness is referred to. (See Eclipse).
"Pilate to Tiberius, etc.
"I have at length been forced to consent to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, to prevent a tumult among the Jews, though it was very much against my will. For the world never saw, and probably never will see, a man of such extraordinarypiety and uprightness. But the high-priests and Sanhedrim fulfilled in it the oracles of their prophets and of our sibyls. While he hung on the cross, a horrid darkness, which covered the earth, seemed to threaten its final end. His followers, who profess to have seen him rise from the dead and ascend into heaven, and acknowledge him for their God, do still subsist, and, by their excellent lives, show themselves the worthy disciples of so extraordinary a master. I did all I could to save him from the malice of the Jews, but the fear of a total insurrection made me sacrifice him to the peace and interest of your empire," etc.
The "thick darkness" in which God is said to have been ( Exodus 20:21), was doubtless the "thick cloud upon the mount" mentioned Exodus 19:16; and the "thick darkness" in which "the Lord said that he would dwell" ( 1 Kings 8:12), has reference to the cloud upon the mercy-seat, in which he promised to "appear" to Aaron, and which seems to have been rather a cloud of glory and light than of darkness. (See Cloud). When it is said ( Psalms 97:2) " ‘ clouds and darkness are round about him," the reference is apparently to the inscrutability of the divine nature and working. The darkness which is frequently ( Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29, etc.) connected with the coming of the Lord has reference to the judgments attendant on his advent.
Darkness is often used symbolically in the Scriptures as opposed to light, which is the symbol of joy and safety, to express misery and adversity ( Job 18:6; Psalms 107; Psalms 10; Psalms 143:3; Isaiah 8:22; Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 59:9-10; Ezekiel 30:18; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Ezekiel 34:12); hence also captivity ( Isaiah 47:5; Lamentations 3:6). ‘ He . . that maketh the morning darkness,' in Amos 4:13, is supposed to be an allusion to the dense black clouds and mists attending earthquakes. ‘ The day of darkness' in Joel 2:2, alludes to the obscurity occasioned by the flight of locusts in compact masses. (See Locust). In Ezekiel 8:12, darkness is described as the accompaniment of idolatrous rites. Darkness of the sun, moon, and stars is used figuratively to denote a general darkness or deficiency in the government or body politic ( Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10-31). In Ephesians 5:11, the expression ‘ works of darkness' is applied to the heathen mysteries on account of the impure actions which the initiated performed in them. ‘ Outer darkness' in Matthew 8:12, and elsewhere, refers to the darkness outside, in the streets or open country, as contrasted with the blaze of cheerful light in the house, especially when a convivial party is held in the night time. And it may be observed that the streets in the East are utterly dark after nightfall, there being no shops with lighted windows, nor even public or private lamps to impart to them the light and cheerfulness to which we are accustomed. This gives the more force to the contrast of the ‘ outer darkness' with the inner light. Darkness is used to represent the state of the dead ( Job 10:21; Job 17:13). It is also employed as the proper and significant emblem of ignorance ( Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 6:23; John 3:9; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6)."
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we read that, while Jesus hung upon the cross, 'from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.' That this darkness could not have proceeded from an eclipse of the sun is placed beyond all doubt by the fact that, it being then the time of the Passover, the moon was at the full. This darkness may therefore be ascribed to an extraordinary and preternatural obscuration of the solar light, which might precede and accompany the earthquake which took place on the same occasion. For it has been noticed that often before an earthquake such a mist arises from sulfurous vapors as to occasion a darkness almost nocturnal. Such a darkness might extend over Judea, or that division of Palestine in which Jerusalem stood, to which the best authorities agree that here, as in some other places, it is necessary to limit the phrase rendered 'all the land.'
Darkness is often used symbolically in the Scriptures as opposed to light, which is the symbol of joy and safety, to express misery and adversity (;;;;;;;; ). Darkness of the sun, moon, and stars is used figuratively to denote a general darkness or deficiency in the government or body politic (;; ). In , the expression 'works of darkness' is applied to the heathen mysteries, on account of the impure actions which the initiated performed in them. 'Outer darkness' in , and elsewhere refers to the darkness outside, in the streets or open country, as contrasted with the blaze of cheerful light in the house, especially when a convivial party is held in the night time. And it may be observed that the streets in the East are utterly dark after nightfall, there being no shops with lighted windows, nor even public or private lamps to impart to them the light and cheerfulness to which we are accustomed. This gives the more force to the contrast of the 'outer darkness' with the inner light.
Darkness is used to represent the state of the dead . It is also employed as the proper and significant emblem of ignorance (;;;; ).
- Darkness from Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- Darkness from Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
- Darkness from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
- Darkness from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- Darkness from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from King James Dictionary
- Darkness from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Darkness from Webster's Dictionary
- Darkness from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Darkness from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Darkness from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Darkness from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature