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June 27    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Burial
Burial in the Ancient World

Burial in Easton's Bible Dictionary The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen. 23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron "four hundred shekels of silver current money with the merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9). Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon- bachuth, "the oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave" (16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29). Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren, buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus, Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen. 48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num. 20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6, 8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num. 20:28, 29). Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30). In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for "pyramids." Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1 Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in the wilderness." In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1 Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos (6:10). Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam. 18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (comp. Josh. 7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying- place for the Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place, however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2 Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20; 2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr. 32:33). Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel. Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16). Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60; Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42). The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John 11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9; Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body was brought from a distance.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/B/Burial/


Burial in Fausset's Bible Dictionary The Jews entombed, if possible, or else inferred, their dead; the rabbis alleging as a reason" Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19). Even enemies received burial (1 Kings 11:15). The law ordained the same treatment of the malefactor (Deuteronomy 21:23). Nothing but extreme profanity on the part of the deceased during life was deemed a warrant for disturbing their remains (2 Kings 23:16-17; Jeremiah 8:1-2). A cave was the usual tomb, as Israel abounds in caves. The funeral rites were much less elaborate than those of the Egyptians. Jacob and Joseph dying in Egypt were embalmed; the Egyptians, through lack of a better hope, endeavoring to avert or delay corruption. Kings and prophets alone were buried within the walls of towns. A strong family feeling led the Israelites to desire burial in the same tomb as their forefathers. So Jacob (Genesis 49:29-32). The burial place of Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob, in the field of Machpelah (Genesis 23), bought by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite, and the field bought by Jacob from Shechem's father, Hamor, where Joseph's bones were buried (Joshua 24:32), were the only fixed possessions the patriarchs had in Canaan, and the sole purchases they made there. They felt their bodies belonged to the Lord. To be excluded from the family burying place, as Uzziah and Manasseh were, was deemed an indignity. 2 Chronicles 26:23; 2 Chronicles 33:20; compare 1 Kings 13:22-31, which shows it was a mark of great respect to one not of one's family to desire burial with him (compare Rth 1:17). The greatest indignity was to be denied burial (2 Kings 9:10; Isaiah 14:20; Jeremiah 22:18-19; 2 Samuel 21:12-14). David's magnanimity appears in his care to restore his enemy Saul's remains to the paternal tomb. To give a place in one's own sepulchre was a special honor; as the children of Heth offered Abraham, and as Jehoiada was buried among the kings (Genesis 23:6; 2 Chronicles 24:16). So Joseph of Arimathea could not have done a greater honor to our crucified Lord's body than giving it a place in his own new tomb, fulfilling the prophecy Isaiah 53:9 (John 19:31- 42). A common tomb for all the kindred, with galleries, is not uncommon in the East. Burning was only practiced in peculiar circumstances, as in the case of Saul's and his sons' mutilated headless bodies, where regular burial was impossible and there was a possibility of the Philistines coming and mutilating them still more. However, the bones were not burned but buried (1 Samuel 31:11-13). Also in a plague, to prevent contagion (Amos 6:9-10). Costly spices were wrapped up in the linen swathes round the corpse, and also were burnt at the funeral (2 Chronicles 16:14); so Nicodemus honored Jesus with 100 pounds weight of "myrrh and aloes." The rapidity of decomposition in the hot East, and the legal uncleanness...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/B/Burial/


Burial in Naves Topical Bible Rites of Jer 34:5 -Soon after death De 21:23; Jos 8:29; Joh 19:38-42; Ac 5:9,10 -With spices 2Ch 16:14; Mr 16:1; Lu 23:56 -Bier (coffin) used at 2Sa 3:31; Lu 7:14 -Attended by relatives and friends Of Jacob Ge 50:5-9 Abner 2Sa 3:31 Child of Jeroboam 1Ki 14:13 The son of the widow of Nain Lu 7:12,13 Stephen Ac 8:2 -Lack of, a disgrace 2Ki 9:10; Pr 30:17; Jer 16:4; 22:19; Eze 39:15 -Directions given about, before death By Jacob Ge 49:29,30 By Joseph Ge 50:25 -Burial of Gog (multitude) requiring seven months Eze 39:12,13 -BURYING PLACES Bought by Abraham Ge 23; 25:9 Prepared by Jacob Ge 50:5 Asa 2Ch 16:14 Joseph Mt 27:60 On hills 2Ki 23:16; Jos 24:33 In valleys Jer 7:32 Family Ge 47:30; 49:29; Ac 7:16 Of kings 1Ki 2:10; 2Ch 32:33 A place of honor 2Ch 24:16,25; 21:20 For poor and strangers Jer 26:23; Mt 27:7 Tombs In houses 1Sa 25:1; 1Ki 2:34 In gardens 2Ki 21:18,26; Joh 19:41 In caves Ge 23:9 Under trees, Deborah's Ge 35:8 King Saul's 1Sa 31:13 Closed with stones Mt 27:60,66; Joh 11:38; 20:1 Sealed Mt 27:66 Marked with pillars, Rachel's Ge 35:20 And inscriptions 2Ki 23:17 Painted and garnished Mt 23:27,29 With shelves Isa 14:15 Demoniacs lived in Mt 8:28 Anyone who touched, were unclean Nu 19:16,18; Isa 65:4 Refused to the dead Re 11:9 Robbed Jer 8:1
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/B/BURIAL/


Burial in Smiths Bible Dictionary [TOMBS] On this subject we have to notice -- 1. The place of burial, its site and shape; 2. The mode of burial; 3. The prevalent notions regarding this duty. 1. A natural cave enlarged and adapted by excavation, or an artificial imitation of one was the standard type of sepulchre. Sepulchres, when the owner's means permitted it, were commonly prepared beforehand, and stood often in gardens, by roadsides, or even adjoining houses. Kings and prophets alone were probably buried within towns. 1Ki 2:10; 16:6,28 Cities soon became populous and demanded cemeteries, Eze 39:15 which were placed without the walls. Sepulchres were marked sometimes by pillars or by pyramids. Such as were not otherwise noticeable were scrupulously "whited," Mt 23:27 once a year, after the rains before the passover, to warn passers-by of defilement. 2. "The manner of the Jews" included the use of spices, where they could command the means. 2Ch 16:10 A portion of these was burnt in honor of the deceased, and to this use was probably destined part of the one hundred pounds weight of "myrrh and aloes" in our Lord's case. In no instance, save that of Saul and his sons, were the bodies burned; and even then the bones were interred, and re- exhumed for solemn entombment. It was the office of the next of kin to perform and preside over the whole funeral office; though public buriers were not unknown in New Testament times. Ac 5:6,10 The body was borne by the nearest relatives. The grave-clothes were probably of the fashion worn in life, but swathed and fastened with bandages, and the head covered separately. 3. The precedent of Jacob's and Joseph's remains being returned to the land of Canaan was followed, in wish at least, by every pious Jew.
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/B/Burial,+Sepulchres/


Burial in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE ber'-i-al (qebhurah; compare New Testament to entaphidsai): I. IMMEDIATE BURIAL CONSIDERED URGENT 1. Reasons for This 2. The Burial of Jesus 3. The Usual Time 4. Duties of Next of Kin II. PREPARATIONS FOR BURIAL 1. Often Informal and Hasty 2. Usually with More Ceremony 3. Contrasts between Jewish Customs and Other Peoples' (1) Cremation (2) Embalming III. ON THE WAY TO THE GRAVE 1. Coffins Unknown 2. Professional Mourners IV. AT THE GRAVE 1. Graves Dug in the Earth 2. Family Tombs. Later Customs 3. Sealed Stones 4. Stated Times of Mourning 5. Excessive Mourning 6. Dirge-Songs V. FAILURE TO RECEIVE BURIAL A CALAMITY OR JUDGMENT VI. PLACES OF BURIAL: HOW MARKED LITERATURE It is well to recall at the outset that there are points of likeness and of marked contrast between oriental and occidental burial customs in general, as well as between the burial customs of ancient Israel and those of other ancient peoples. These will be brought out, or suggested later in this article. I. Immediate Burial Considered Urgent. 1. Reasons for This: The burial of the dead in the East in general was and is often effected in such a way as to suggest to the westerner indecent haste. Dr. Post says that burial among the people of Syria today seldom takes place later than ten hours after death, often earlier; but, he adds, "the rapidity of decomposition, the excessive violence of grief, the reluctance of Orientals to allow the dead to remain long in the houses of the living, explain what seems to us the indecency of haste." This still requires the survivors, as in the case of Abraham on the death of Sarah, to bury their dead out of their sight (Gen 23:1-4); and it in part explains the quickness with which the bodies of Nadab and Abihu were Carried out of the camp (Lev 10:4), and those of Ananias and Sapphira were hastened off to burial (Acts 5:1- 11). Then, of course, the defilement to which contact with a dead body gave occasion, and the judgment that might come upon a house for harboring the body of one dying under a Divine judgment, further explain such urgency and haste. 2. The Burial of Jesus: It was in strict accordance with such customs and the provision of the Mosaic law (Dt 21:23; compare Gal 3:13), as well as in compliance with the impulses of true humanity, that Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus for burial on the very day of the crucifixion (Mt 27:39 ff). 3. The Usual Time: The dead are often in their graves, according to present custom, within two or three hours after death. Among oriental Jews burial takes place, if possible, within twenty-four hours after death, and frequently on the day of death. Likewise Mohammedans...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BURIAL/


Burial Scripture - 2 Chronicles 26:23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which [belonged] to the kings; for they said, He [is] a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/26/


Burial Scripture - Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Acts/8/


Burial Scripture - Ecclesiastes 6:3 If a man beget an hundred [children], and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also [that] he have no burial; I say, [that] an untimely birth [is] better than he.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Ecclesiastes/6/


Burial Scripture - Isaiah 14:20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, [and] slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Isaiah/14/


Burial Scripture - Jeremiah 22:19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Jeremiah/22/


Burial Scripture - Matthew 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did [it] for my burial.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Matthew/26/


Funerary Customs EASTERN FUNERALS Burial follows death quickly. The burial of the dead in the East takes place soon after death, usually the same day. The people of these regions have a primitive idea that the spirit of the one who dies, hovers near the body for three days after death. Mourners think of this spirit as being able to hear the wailing calls of grief. Martha, no doubt, thought it would be hopeless to think of reviving her brother's body, because he had been dead four days (John 11:39). Burial in caves, tombs, or graves. Today there are thousands of rock-cut tombs scattered over the land of Israel, to bring to mind past decades. Such tombs were made by the wealthy. Not being able to afford these, the poorer folks buried their dead in graves. Some of these tombs had many chambers in them. They were closed by a rolling-stone which ran down an inclined plane in front of the mouth of the sepulcher. In the vicinity of ancient Gadara (Luke 8:27), there are many rock-hewn tombs today, bringing to mind the experience of JESUS when he met the demoniac who lived in the tombs. Often the dead were buried in graves dug in the earth, as in the case of Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, who was buried under an oak at Bethel (Genesis 35:8). Natural caves were sometimes utilized, as in the case of the cave of Machpelah, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob were placed (Genesis 49:31; 50:13). When they could afford to do so, families had a sepulcher. Gideon was buried in the sepulcher of Joash his father (Judges 8:32). Only prophets and kings were buried within the limits of a city, as Samuel, who was buried in his house at Ramah (I Samuel 25:1), and David, who was buried in the city of David (I Kings 2:10). A graveyard for poorer people was located outside Jerusalem (II Kings 23:6). Many of the villages had graveyards outside their limits, as for example Nain, where JESUS raised the widow's son (Luke 7:11-17). There is a graveyard located there today.8 Custom following burial. In Bible times it was quite customary for the sorrowing ones to fast up to the time burial. Then following the funeral, they would be offered bread and wine as a comforting refreshment. Such was called a mourning feast, which had as its real purpose the comforting of the mourners. The prophet Jeremiah refers to this custom: "Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother" (Jeremiah 16:7). This mourning feast brought to an end the period of deepest sorrow and strict fasting. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=z%2b2W9daK2Ac%3d&tabid=232&mid=762


Preparing the Body for Burial PREPARATION OF THE BODY FOR BURIAL In Syria the custom has prevailed of wrapping the dead. Usually the face is covered with a napkin, and then the hands and feet are bound round with linen cloth. The body is then put upon a bier, with a pole at each corner, and thus carried on the shoulders of men to the tomb for burial. The description of Lazarus, when JESUS called him forth from the tomb, indicates that the same custom was practiced in those days: "And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go"(John 11:44). Also we know that the body of JESUS was thus wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (John 19:40). Embalming spices were used when they could be afforded. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=z%2b2W9daK2Ac%3d&tabid=232&mid=762


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