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BURIAL. The action of put a dead human body in a tomb, in the earth or in the sea, usually with ideal ceremonies; as opposed to exposure to the beasts, or abandonment or burning. Assorted peoples, especially the Egyptians, who thought that your dead would live and practice ordinary human being occupations in “the land of the dead,” frequently went to an excellent lengths to preserve the body of your departed loved ones. Castle sometimes inserted with the mummy tools or instruments or weapons, and also occasionally killed and also buried a mam or a servant to accompany the one who they had actually buried.

Partly because of oh my gosh declaration to fallen man, “For dust you are and to dust you will certainly return” (Gen.3.19), the human being of Israel almost always buried their dead; and also because the land of Canaan had actually so plenty of caves, these places were really frequently supplied as areas of burial. More than likely the prevailing motive for our respect for the dead, and even because that the location of burial, is the feeling of decency and our feeling of love because that the person, frequently without concerning the reality that the real person has gone and also that only his previous “residence” remains.

The story the the treatment of the bodies of Saul and also of his boy sheds light on the subject. The Philistines beheaded the bodies, exhibiting the heads throughout your land and also fastening Saul’s human body to the wall surface of Beth Shan (1Sam.31.8-1Sam.31.13). The guys of Israel rescued the bodies, burned them, reverently buried the skeletal under a tree, and mourned 7 days.

It is amazing that return God had provided to Abraham the deed the the land of Canaan (Gen.15.18-Gen.15.21), the just land that the patriarchs possessed before Joshua’s time to be the burial places for the initial family: a cave at Hebron and also a field at Shechem (cf. Gen.23.1-Gen.23.20—the funeral of Sarah; 49:29-32—Jacob’s final request; and also Josh.24.32-Josh.24.33—the funeral of the mummy that Joseph and the body of Eleazar). In Canaan, in ancient times and also in the an ext primitive components of the land also today, there was (and is) no embalming in most cases but immediate funeral to avoid unpleasant odors (Acts.5.5-Acts.5.10) and also ceremonial uncleanness (Num.19.11-Num.19.22). Throughout Christ, the bodies were wrapped in clean linen (Matt.27.57-Matt.27.60), and also spices and also ointments were all set (Luke.23.56).

The weird story the the dead Moabite reviving as soon as he touch the bones of Elisha (2Kgs.13.20-2Kgs.13.21) mirrors not just the speedy decomposition that a body but additionally the informality of burials throughout war or necessity. The still stranger story of the disobedient prophet (1Kgs.13.1-1Kgs.13.34) shows just how a heathen altar might be defiled by burn bones on the (1Kgs.13.1-1Kgs.13.3) and also shows likewise the desire of a prophet come be hidden near one more whom he honored (1Kgs.13.30-1Kgs.13.31). In several cases of sinful rulers, ordinary interment was denied to their bodies: the dog ate Jezebel (2Kgs.9.10); Jehoram of Judah, who died with incurable diseases, to be not buried with the majesties (2Chr.21.18-2Chr.21.20); Uzziah was buried in a field, no in the burial places of the kings (2Chr.26.23); and also Jehoiakim was given the interment of a cheat (Jer.22.18-Jer.22.19).

Time of burial.

Among the Jews, and people the the close to E generally, burial usually took ar on the work of death (cf. Deut 21:23) or within twenty-four hours. Problems of sanitation and fear of feasible defilement through call with a dead body (Num 9:10-14) comprised reasons because that such swiftness, gift exemplified through Abraham’s burying buy it out the his vision (Gen 23:4) and also Lazarus having been interred ~ above the job he passed away (John 11:17, 39). Jesus’ body was hidden on the day in i beg your pardon He was crucified (Matt 27:57-60; cf. Deut 21:23; festival 3:13).

Care for the dead.

That burying of the dead in the Stone, Chalcolithic and also Early Bronze periods was thought about important is suggested in the treatment evidenced in taking care of parts that the skeleton and also in the deposit of tomb objects v the corpse, as viewed in such places as Wadi el-Mugharah, Jericho and also Teleilat el-Ghassul.

The Jews, together Tacitus (Hist 5.5) indicates, were averse come cremating the corpse, as was commonly the practice of the Greeks (cf. Sophocles, Electra 1136-1139; because that inhumation, Thuc 1, 134,6; Plato Phaedo 115E) and of the Romans that in Cicero’s day supplied both approaches (De leg 2, 22, 56). The seeming exception in the burn of the bodies of Saul and his sons (1 Sam 31:11-13) prob. Was an emergency measure lest the Philistines molest the bodies, for the same men then hidden their bones. Early holy bible legislation forced that those guilty of sexual immorality (Lev 20:14; 21:9) and also those under a curse together Achan and also his family (Josh 7:15, 25) to be to it is in burned.

There is no Biblical evidence that embalming, a process so prevalent amongst the Egyptians, was practiced by the Jews, except in the isolated situations of Jacob and Joseph (Gen 50:2, 26) wherein the latter’s main position in Egypt dictated the procedure.

Receptacles used in burials.

Of numerous receptacles in, or on, which the corpse was inserted the an initial was the bier on i m sorry the body was placed prior to burial, this structure being shown both by מִטָּה, H4753, usually meaning “bed” but being the bier in 2 Samuel 3:31 and also 2 Chronicles 16:14 (in this latter circumstances the thought is perhaps crypt; and by σορός, G5049, ).

Archeology has displayed that pottery storage jars occasionally were supplied to organize the remains of adults (as in ~ Byblos) and of infants and small children.

Although the Egyptians customarily offered the coffin, regularly elaborately decorated, this thing does no seem to have been common among the Jews, stated in the holy bible only in Joseph’s situation (Gen 50:26, אֲרוֹן, H778, “portable chest”). There have been found terra cotta coffins through anthropoid designs at Beth-Shan and Dibon, and in Hel. And Rom. Time elaborately decorated marble sarcophagi to be used.

Although not stated in Scripture, ossuaries (bone-boxes) to be used early (cf. The house-shaped clay one indigenous Hederah, c. 3500 b.c.) and were quite common in the early Rom. Period, rectangle-shaped limestone ones, twenty to thirty customs in length, with personal names and also decorations frequently inscribed on castle being uncovered near Jerusalem in caves and tombs. This were used for bones after ~ the flesh had actually decomposed, and grave an are was essential for other corpses.

Types of burying locations included basic holes or pits (sometimes lined with stones or bricks), rock slab dolmen tombs (c. 4500 b.c.) as well as natural caves and tombs hewn the end of rocky hillsides.

In the Hel. And also through the Rom. Durations the negative continued to usage caves and also cisterns, but other hewn tombs became larger and an ext elaborate like the Mausoleum that Queen Helena of Adiabene (Jos. War. V. Iv. 2) and the frameworks in the Kidron valley opposite the holy place area, with catacombs additionally being provided in Christian times. (See Tomb.)

At times tombs included multiple units provided by families, together exemplified by Abraham’s family tomb at the cave of Machpelah (Gen 23), such practice of communal burial being seen throughout Pal. By 3000 b.c. Spiritual scruples did not preclude the usage of the exact same grave room over again, because that archeology has presented that often grave areas were reused, parts of old skeletons being thrust aside to make room because that the new. In addition, graves for solitary burials appear, because that example, in the holy bible (Aaron, Deut 10:6; Moses, Deut 34:6; and Jephthah, Judg 12:7), in ~ Jericho (late third millennium b.c.) and also at Qumran (about the moment of Christ).

Geographical areas of funeral places.

Ritual in burial.

In Isaiah’s time component of the idolatrous practices of the people involved necromancy together they sat in the burial places (Isa 65:4).

It is famed through excavations at such locations as Dothan, Gezer, Jericho, etc., the grave items were deposited through the dead, consisting of such things as weapons, jewelry, lamps, furniture, and food. The exercise of depositing the last item may have evoked the barred in Deuteronomy 26:14 regarding not giving food come the dead.

Concepts about burial.

Burial was thought about a necessary act, the deprival the which, through the result exposure come the ravages the beasts, was thought about a major indignity and also calamity (2 emperors 9:36, 37; Ezek 29:5). Even criminals were allowed to be hidden (Deut 21:22, 23).

The legislation instructed that poignant a corpse carried ceremonial defilement (Lev 21:1; Num 19:11ff.), however it was considered a ideal act to defend the bodies of slain warriors till they might be buried (2 Sam 21:1-14) and to bury those slain in time of persecution (Tobit 1:17-19; 2:8).

Although there is no indication that the heathen exercise of depositing grave products with the dead with any implications of id in life after ~ death associated with it had any influence ~ above the Jews, however Ezekiel 32:17-28 seems to collection forth a id in an abode that the dead in part at least similar to that set forth in Luke 16:19-23.


K. Kenyon, Digging increase Jericho (1957), 60-65, etc.; H. E. Stutchbury, “Excavations in the Kidron Valley,” PEQ XCIII (1961), 101-113; J. E. Callaway, “Burials in old Palestine,” BA XXVI (1963), 74-91; D. Fishwick, “Talpioth Ossuaries Again,” NTS X (1963), 49-61; B. A. Mastin, “Chalcolithic Ossuaries and also Houses because that the Dead,” PEQ XCVII (1965), 153-160; J. M. Myers, II Chronicles, The Anchor Bible (1965), 92; J. B. Pritchard, “First Excavations at Tell es-Sa ’idîyeh,” BA XXVIII (1965), 10-17; J. Munck, The action of the Apostles, The Anchor Bible (1967), 70.

International Standard scriptures Encyclopedia (1915)

(qebhurah; compare new Testament to entaphidsai):


1. Factors for This

2. The interment of Jesus

3. The usual Time

4. Duties of next of Kin


1. Regularly Informal and Hasty

2. Typically with more Ceremony

3. Contrasts in between Jewish Customs and Other Peoples’(1) Cremation

(2) Embalming

III. ~ above THE method TO THE GRAVE

1. Coffins Unknown

2. Skilled Mourners


1. Tombs Dug in the Earth

2. Household Tombs. Later on Customs

3. Sealed Stones

4. Stated Times of Mourning

5. Too much Mourning

6. Dirge-Songs


VI. Places OF BURIAL: exactly how MARKED


It is fine to recall in ~ the outset that there are points that likeness and also of marked contrast between oriental and also occidental burial customs in general, as well as between the funeral customs of ancient Israel and those the other ancient peoples. These will certainly be carried out, or argued later in this article. I. Immediate interment Considered Urgent.

1. Reasons for This:

The funeral of the dead in the east in general was and also is regularly effected in together a way as to imply to the westerner indecent haste. Dr. Article says the burial amongst the people of Syria today hardly ever takes place later than ten hrs after death, often earlier; but, the adds, "the rapidity that decomposition, the too much violence of grief, the reluctance the Orientals to allow the dead come remain lengthy in the homes of the living, define what appears to us the indecency that haste." This still calls for the survivors, together in the situation of Abraham on the death of Sarah, to ask their dead the end of their sight (Ge 23:1-4); and it in part explains the quickness with which the bodies of Nadab and also Abihu were brought out that the camp (Le 10:4), and also those of Ananias and Sapphira were quickened off to funeral (Ac 5:1-11). Then, that course, the defilement to which call with a dead body provided occasion, and also the referee that might come top top a house for harboring the body of one dying under a magnificent judgment, further explain such urgency and haste.

2. The burial of Jesus:

It remained in strict accordance with such customs and also the supplication of the Mosaic regulation (De 21:23; compare Ga 3:13), as well as in compliance with the impulses the true humanity, the Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and begged the human body of Jesus for interment on the really day that the crucifixion (Mt 27:39 ff).

3. The usual Time:

The dead are often in your graves, according to current custom, within two or three hrs after death. Among oriental Jews burial takes place, if possible, within twenty-four hours after death, and also frequently ~ above the work of death. Likewise Mohammedans ask their dead top top the day of death, if fatality takes location in the morning; but if in the afternoon or at night, not until the complying with day.

4. Duties of following of Kin:

As shortly as the breath is unable to do the oldest son, or failing him, the nearest of kin present, close the door the eye of the dead (compare Ge 46:4, "and Joseph shall placed his hand ~ above thine eyes"). The mouth, too, is closed and also the jaws are bound up (compare Joh 11:44, "and his confront was bound about with a napkin"). The fatality is announced, as it was of old, by a tumult the lamentation preceded by a shrill cry, and also the weeping and wailing of skilled mourners (compare grandfather 5:38 ff).

See Mourning.

II. Preparations because that Burial.

1. Regularly Informal and Hasty:

These are regularly informal and also hasty. Under the tyranny the such customizeds as those noted, it is frequently impossible to make them elaborate. Canon Tristram says: "As interments take place at recent on the night of the day of death, and also frequently at night, there can be no fancy preparations. The corpse, pull on in such apparel as were worn in life, is stretched on a bier with a towel thrown end it, until brought forth for burial" (Eastern Customs, 94). In Ac 5:6 we review of Ananias, "The young males .... Wrapped the round, and also they lugged him out and buried him." "What lock did," together Dr. Nicol says, "was most likely this: castle unfastened his girdle, and also then taking the loose under-garment and also the broad cloak which was worn above it, provided them together a winding-sheet come cover the corpse from head come foot." In various other words, over there was small ceremony and also much haste.

2. Generally with more Ceremony:

3. Contrasts in between Jewish Customs and also Other Peoples’:

This brings united state to keep in mind two marked contrasts between customs in Israel and among other peoples.

(1) Cremation:

With the Greeks it to be customary come cremate the dead (see Cremation); but there was nothing in Jewish practice exactly equivalent to this. Tacitus (Hist. V.5) expressly says, in note the contrast with roman inn custom, the it to be a matter of piety v the Jews "to bury fairly than come burn dead bodies." The burn of the bodies of Saul and also his sons by the guys of Jabesh-Gilead (1Sa 31:11-13) appears to have been rather a case of emergency, than of conformity to any such custom, as the burned bones were hidden by the same guys under the tamarisk in ~ Jabesh, and also later, through David’s order, removed and laid to rest in the sepulcher that Kish (2Sa 21:12-14). Follow to the Mosaic legislation burning to be reserved, either because that the living who had been discovered guilty the unnatural sins (Le 20:4; 21:9), or for those who died under a curse, together in the case of Achan and his family, who after they had actually been stoned to fatality were, with all their belongings, shed with fire (Jos 7:25).

(2) Embalming:

As the burning exercised by the Greeks found no ar in Jewish law and also custom, for this reason embalming, as practiced by the Egyptians, to be unknown in Israel, the cases of Jacob and Joseph being clearly special, and also in conformity come Egyptian tradition under justifying circumstances. Once Jacob died it was Joseph, the Egyptian official, who "commanded his servants the doctors to embalm his father" (Ge 50:2), and it was conventionally the fit point that when Joseph himself passed away his body was embalmed and also "put in a coffin (sarcophagus) in Egypt" (Ge 50:26).

III. On the way to the Grave:

When the preparations to be made and also the time came, the corpse was brought to the dig on a bier, or litter (miTTah). 1. Coffins Unknown:

Coffins to be unknown in old Israel, as they are among the Jews that the east to this day. The just one discussed in the bible is the sarcophagus in i beg your pardon the embalmed body of Joseph to be preserved, unless Asa’s bed (2Ch 16:14) be another, as some think. Moslems, choose eastern Jews, never ever use coffins. The bier sometimes has a pole in ~ each corner by means of which it is carried on the shoulders come the tomb.

See Bier.

2. Expert Mourners:

The procession of mourners is comprised largely, of course, the relatives and also friends of the deceased, however is led by expert mourning women, who make the air resound with their shrieks and lamentations (compare Ec 12:5; Jer 9:17; am 5:16). Check out Mourning. Am 5:16 alludes come this tradition in relenten the mourning the shall be over the desolations of Israel: "Wailing shall it is in in all the large ways; and also they shall speak in every the streets, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as space skillful in lamentation come wailing." (Jer 9:17,18) breaks out: "Call because that the mourning women, the they may come; .... And also let them make haste, and take increase a wailing for us, the our eyes may run down v tears, and also our eyelids gush out v waters." Dr. Fred. Bliss speak of a mourning delegation at the mahal, or mourning house, the a good man. "No matter just how gaily they may be chatting they approach, as soon as they reach the residence they sirloin forward, handkerchiefs come face, sobbing, weeping, through utmost demonstrations of grief, going with them time after ~ time as chance requires." Amelia B. Edwards gives a vivid account the her very first experience v such mourning: "It rose favor the remote wavering sound of numerous owls. The shrilled, swelled, wavered, dropped, and also then died away, prefer the moaning of the wind in ~ sea. We never heard anything for this reason wild and plaintive." amongst some Jews that today, it is said, the funeral procession moves swiftly, since there are claimed to it is in innumerable angry spirits (shedhim) hovering about, desirous to assault the soul, which is assumed to be in the body until burial takes place and also the corpse is actually covered (see DB, write-up "Burial").

IV. At the Grave.

When the grave, or place of entombment, is reached ceremonies an ext or less characteristic and peculiar come the Orient take place.

1. Graves Dug in the Earth:

When the body is let down right into the ground, the bier, of course, is collection aside, and at first a heap of stones just is piled over the shallow grave--to keep the dead native the dreaded depredations of hyenas, jackals or thieves. Beyond question graves amongst ancient Jews were often simply dug in the earth, together they room with us, and as they are with Jews in ~ Jerusalem and also elsewhere in the east today. 2. Family members Tombs. Later Customs:

3. Sealed Stones:

When the tomb was a cave, or to be dug the end from some rock, the enntrance gate was regularly closed with a huge circular stone collection up top top its edge or rim and rolled in its groove come the front of the mouth of the tomb, so regarding close that securely. This stone was then frequently further secured by a strap, or through sealing. In such instance it can easily be seen or recognized if the tomb had been disturbed. Pilate, it will certainly be recalled, directed that the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, in which the human body of Jesus was laid, should be very closely sealed and also made together secure as the officials could make it. "So castle went, and also made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, the guard being with them" (Mt 27:66).

4. Proclaimed Times the Mourning:

In Syria, as somewhere else in the East, the is customary come have stated times after the interment for mourning at the tomb--for example on the third, seventh, and fortieth days, and also again ~ above the anniversary that the burial. The family members or girlfriend then walk to the tomb without ornaments, regularly with hair disheveled; periodically with head covered and faces blackened v soot, or ashes, or earth, in your oldest and also poorest clothing, which is occasionally violently rent, and, sit or moving in a circle about or near to the tomb, they an outbreak in spells right into weird, dirge-like singing or wailing.

5. Too much Mourning:

6. Dirge-Songs:

The tradition of dirge-songs appears to it is in alluded to (Mt 9:23; mr 5:38) in the narrative of the heal of the ruler’s daughter: "Jesus came right into the ruler’s house, and also saw the flute-players, and also the crowd making a tumult." A characteristic oriental funeral procession and burial space vividly pictured in the stare of the funeral of Jacob (Ge 50:6-13).

V. Failure to Receive interment Counted a Calamity or a Judgment.

VI. Locations of Burial: how Marked.


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HDB, post "Burial"; Keil, Biblical Arch., II, 199 f; Nowack, Heb Arch., I, 187 ff; "Burial" and "Tombs" in Kitto, Cycl.; Thomson, LB (see "Funerals" in Index); Tristram, Eastern customizeds in scriptures Lands; Mackie, scriptures Manners and Customs.