Manners & Customs: Mourning & Wailing
Mourning, Lamentation, and Wailing in ancient Bible times
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'
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
V. FAILURE TO RECEIVE BURIAL A CALAMITY OR JUDGMENT
VI. PLACES OF BURIAL: HOW MARKED
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
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
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 bury their dead on the day of
death, if death takes place in the morning; but if in the
afternoon or at night, not until the following day.
4. Duties of Next of Kin:
As soon as the breath is gone the oldest son, or failing
him, the nearest of kin present, closes...
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]
Grief in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
gref, grev: There are some 20 Hebrew words translated in the
King James Version by "grief," "grieve," "to be grieved,"
etc. Among the chief are chalah, choli, yaghon, ka`ac,
atsabh. They differ, partly, in their physical origin, and
partly, in the nature and cause of the feeling expressed.
the Revised Version (British and American) in several
instances gives effect to this.
(1) Chalah, choli express the sense of weakness, sickness,
pain (e.g. Samson, in Jdg 16:7,11,17, "Then shall I become
weak (chalah), and be as another man"); Isa 17:11 the King
James Version, "a heap in the day of grief"; Isa 53:3,1, "a
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," "He hath borne
our griefs" (choli), the Revised Version, margin Hebrew
"sickness, sicknesses"; 53:10, "He hath put him to grief,"
the Revised Version, margin "made him sick" (chalah)
(translated by Dillmann and others, "to crush him
incurably"; compare Mic 6:13; Nah 3:19); yaghon, perhaps
from the pain and weariness of toil (Ps 31:10), "For my life
is spent with grief," the Revised Version (British and
American) "sorrow"; "The Lord added grief to my sorrow," the
Revised Version (British and American) "sorrow to my pain"
(Jer 45:3); ka`ac implies provocation, anger, irritation;
thus Hannah said to Eli (the King James Version), "Out of
the abundance of my complaint and my grief (the Revised
Version (British and American) "provocation") have I spoken"
(1 Sam 1:16). Ps 6:7; 31:9, "grief"; Prov 17:25, "A foolish
son is a grief to his father" (i.e. source of provocation;
the same word is rendered "wrath" in 12:16, the King James
Version "a fool's wrath," the Revised Version (British and
American) "vexation"; so also Prov 27:3); Job 6:2, "Oh that
my grief were thoroughly weighed," the Revised Version
(British and American) "Oh that my vexation were but
weighed" (in 5:2 the King James Version the same word is
translated "wrath," the Revised Version (British and
American) "vexation"); ke'ebh, is "sorrow," "pain," properly
"to hurt." It occurs in Job 2:13 "His grief (the Revised
Version, margin "or pain") was very great"; also 16:6 the
Revised Version (British and American), "grief"; makh'obh
"sorrows," "pain," "suffering" (2 Ch 6:29, the Revised
Version (British and American) "sorrow"; Ps 69:26, the
Revised Version, margin "or pain"; Isa 53:3, "a man of
sorrows"; 53:4, "Surely he hath carried our sorrows"); marah
and marar indicate "bitterness" (Gen 26:35; 49:23; 1 Sam
30:6; Ruth 1:13; Prov 14:10, "The heart knoweth its own
bitterness, marah); puqah implies staggering, or stumbling,
only in 1 Sam 25:31, "This shall be no grief unto thee," the
Revised Version, margin Hebrew "cause of staggering"; ra` (a
common word for "evil") denotes an evil, a calamity, only
once in the King James Version translated "grief," namely,
of Jonah's gourd, "to deliver him from his grief," the
Revised Version (British and American) "from his evil case"
(Jon 4:6); yara`, "to be evil," Dt 15:10, the Revised
Version (British and American) "Thy heart shall not be
grieved when thou givest unto him" (also 1 Sam 1:8; Neh
2:10; 13:8; several times translated "grievous"); charah,
"to burn," "to be wroth" (e.g. Gen 4:6, "Why art thou wroth?
"), is translated "grieved" in Gen 45:5, and 1 Sam 15:11 the
King James Version (the Revised Version (British and
American) "Samuel was wroth"); the same word is often used
of the kindling of anger; la'ah, "to be weary," "tired,"
"faint" (Prov 26:15), the King James Version "The slothful
hideth his hand in his bosom, it grieveth him to bring it
again to his mouth," the Revised Version (British and
American) "wearieth"; also Job 4:2; atsabh, "to grieve," "to
be vexed," occurs in Gen 6:6; 34:7; 45:5, etc.; Ps 78:40,
"How oft did they .... grieve him in the desert." Of other
words sometimes translated "grief" may be mentioned quT, "to
weary of," "to loathe" (Ps 95:10), "Forty long years was I
grieved with that generation"; in 119:158; 139:21, the
Revised Version, margin "loathe"; chamets, implying to be
bitterly or violently moved, sour (often translated
"leavened"), only in Ps 73:21, the Revised Version (British
and American) "For my soul was grieved," margin, Hebrew "was
in a ferment."
(2) In the New Testament "grief," "grieve," etc., are
infrequent. The commonest words are lupe (1 Pet 2:19), the
Revised Version (British and American) "griefs," elsewhere
translated "sorrow"; lupeo, "to grieve," "afflict" (Mk
10:22, the Revised Version (British and American)
"sorrowful"; Jn 21:17 "Peter was grieved"; Rom 14:15; 2 Cor
2:4, the Revised Version (British and American) "made
sorry"; 2:5, "caused sorrow"; Eph 4:30, "Grieve not the Holy
Spirit of God"); diaponeomai, literally, "to labor through,"
"to grieve self" occurs twice (Acts 4:2; 16:18 the Revised
Version (British and American) "sore troubled"); stenazo,
"to groan, or sigh," once only translated "grief" (Heb
13:17), the Revised Version, margin "groaning";
prosochthizo, "to be indignant," etc., twice (Heb 3:10,17,
the Revised Version (British and American) "displeased").
The reference is to Ps 95:10, where the Septuagint by this
Greek word translates quT (see above).
The less frequency in the New Testament of words denoting
"grief" is significant. Christ came "to comfort all that
mourn--to give a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for
mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness." Christians, however, cannot but feel sorrow and
be moved by grief, and it is to be noted that in both the
Old Testament and New Testament, God Himself is said to be
susceptible to grief.
Jesus Spoke of Minstrels
When JESUS came into the home where the ruler's daughter had died, Matthew says: "He saw the minstrels" (Matthew 9:23). The minstrels were flute-players. In the Orient even today, professional mourners are called in to express sorrow for the loss of the deceased one. And if the family can afford to do so, as would be true of the ruler, flute-players are also brought in to express mourning through these instruments. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Jesus spoke of the Pipe
JESUS spoke of the children playing in the market place. "We piped unto you, but ye have not danced. We have mourned to you, and ye have not wept" (Luke 7:32). There are two groups of children represented here. One of them has a pipe, perhaps a shepherd's flute, and plays upon it as is done at a wedding procession all the way to the feast, saying:
"Let's play wedding." But the other group refuses to join in the play. Then the one group begins to sing and wail as is done in a funeral procession, suggesting, "Let's play funeral," but the other group continues obstinately to refuse to co-operate.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
From the time the death wail is heard, until the burial takes place, relatives and friends continue their lamentation. The prophet Micah compares it to the cry of wild beasts or birds: "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls" (Micah 1:8). Such lamentation was in the house of Jairus when JESUS entered it: "And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly" (Mark 5:38).
In connection with the lamentations, there are apt to be certain exclamations of sorrow used. David mourned over the death of Absalom: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (II Samuel 18:33). Certain words are repeated over and over again. The exclamations concerning the disobedient prophet who died, were: "Alas, my brother!" And in mourning the death of a king, the words were used, "Ah lord!" and "Ah his glory!" (Jeremiah 22:18).
The Hebrew prophets mention professional mourners, who were called in at the time of sorrow to express mourning for the dead. "Call for the mourning women, that they may come; . . . and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us" (Jeremiah 9:17, 18). Another reference is to "such as are skillful of lamentation" (Amos 5:16). The presence of such a group of mourners hired for the occasion seems out of place to the Occidental mind; but certainly such professional wailers are no more lacking in helpfulness to the Easterner than are nonreligious professional singers at a Western funeral service. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Lamentation in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. qinah), an elegy or dirge. The first example of this
of poetry is the lament of David over Saul and
Jonathan (2 Sam.
1:17-27). It was a frequent accompaniment of mourning
8:10). In 2 Sam. 3:33, 34 is recorded David's lament
Prophecy sometimes took the form of a lament when it
calamity (Ezek. 27:2, 32; 28:12; 32:2, 16).
Lamentation in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Hebrew eechah called from the first word "How," etc., the
formula in beginning a lamentation (2 Samuel 1:19). These
"Lamentations" (we get the title from Septuagint, Greek
threnoi, Hebrew kinot) or five elegies in the Hebrew Bible
stand between Ruth and Ecclesiastes, among the Cherubim, or
Hagiographa (holy writings), designated from the principal
one, the Psalms," by our Lord (Luke 24:44). No "word of
Jehovah "or divine message to the sinful and suffering
people occurs in Lamentations. Jeremiah is in it the
sufferer, not the prophet and teacher, but a sufferer
speaking under the Holy Spirit. Josephus (c. Apion)
enumerated the prophetic books as thirteen, reckoning
Jeremiah and Lamentations as one book, as Judges and Ruth,
Ezra and Nehemiah. Jeremiah wrote "lamentations" on the
death of Josiah, and it was made "an ordinance in Israel"
that "singing women" should "speak" of that king in
So here he writes "lamentations" on the overthrow of
the Jewish city and people, as Septuagint expressly state in
a prefatory verse, embodying probably much of the language
of his original elegy on Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:25), and
passing now to the more universal calamity, of which
Josiah's sad death was the presage and forerunner. Thus, the
words originally applied to Josiah (Lamentations 4:20)
Jeremiah now applies to the throne of Judah in general, the
last representative of which, Zedekiah, had just been
blinded and carried to Babylon (compare Jeremiah 39:5-7):
"the breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was
taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we
shall live among the (live securely in spite of the
surrounding) pagan." The language, true of good Josiah, is
too favorable to apply to Zedekiah personally; it is as
royal David's representative, and type of Messiah, and
Judah's head, that he is viewed.
The young children fainting for hunger (Lamentations
2:6; Lamentations 2:11-12; Lamentations 2:20-21;
Lamentations 4:4; Lamentations 4:9; 2 Kings 25:3), the city
stormed (Lamentations 2:7; Lamentations 4:12; 2 Chronicles
36:17; 2 Chronicles 36:19), the priests slain in the
sanctuary, the citizens carried captive (Lamentations 1:5;
Lamentations 2:9; 2 Kings 25:11) with the king and princes,
the feasts, sabbaths, and the law no more (Lamentations 1:4;
Lamentations 2:6), all point to Jerusalem's capture by
Nebuchadnezzar. The subject is the Jerusalem citizens'
sufferings throughout the siege, the penalty of national
sin. The events probably are included under Manasseh and
Josiah (2 Chronicles 33:11; 2 Chronicles 35:20-25),
Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah (2 Chronicles 36:3, etc.).
"Every letter is written with a tear, every word is the
sound of a broken heart" (Lowth). Terse conciseness marks
the style which Jeremiah suits to his theme, whereas he is
diffuse in his prophecies.
The elegies are grouped in stanzas, but without
artificial arrangement of the thoughts. The five are
acrostic, and each elegy divided into 22 stanzas. The first
three elegies have stanzas with triplets of lines, excepting
elegy Lamentations 1:7 and Lamentations 2:9 containing four
lines each. The 22 stanzas begin severally with the 22
Hebrew letters in alphabetical order. In three instances two
letters are transposed: elegy Lamentations 2:16-17;
Lamentations 3:46-51; Lamentations 4:16-17. In the third
elegy each line of the three forming every stanza begins
with the same letter. The fourth and fifth elegies have
Mourn in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Frequent references are found in Scripture to, (1.) Mourning
the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Gen. 23:2);
Joseph (37:34, 35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-
for Aaron (Num. 20:29), for Moses (Deut. 34:8), and
(1 Sam. 25:1); David for Abner (2 Sam. 3:31, 35);
Martha for Lazarus (John 11); devout men for Stephen
(2.) For calamities, Job (1:20, 21; 2:8); Israel
the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5); Israel, when defeated by
(Judg. 20:26), etc.
(3.) Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the
atonement (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9); under Samuel's
Sam. 7:6); predicted in Zechariah (Zech. 12:10, 11);
in many of
the psalms (51, etc.).
Mourning was expressed, (1) by weeping (Gen. 35:8,
7:38, etc.); (2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9; 1
Sam. 6:19; 2
Sam. 3:31); (3) by the disfigurement of the person,
the clothes (Gen. 37:29, 34; Matt. 26:65), wearing
(Gen. 37:34; Ps. 35:13), sprinkling dust or ashes on
(2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 6:26; Job 2:12), shaving the
plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Lev.
1:20), neglect of the person or the removal of
33:4; Deut. 21:12, 13; 2 Sam. 14:2; 19:24; Matt.
fasting (2 Sam. 1:12), covering the upper lip (Lev.
3:7), cutting the flesh (Jer. 16:6, 7), and sitting
(Judg. 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:16; 13:31; Job 1:20).
In the later times we find a class of mourners who
hired to give by their loud lamentation the external
sorrow (2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23).
The period of mourning for the dead varied. For
Jacob it was
seventy days (Gen. 50:3); for Aaron (Num. 20:29) and
(Deut. 34:8) thirty days; and for Saul only seven
days (1 Sam.
31:13). In 2 Sam. 3:31-35, we have a description of
mourning for the death of Abner.
BIBLICAL EXPRESSIONS OF ORIENTAL MOURNING
The Psalmists, Prophets, and Apostles often make use of expressions referring to Oriental mourning. Some of these cannot be appreciated by the Occidental, unless the highly emotional character of the Easterner is understood, and also his fondness for figurative language. The Psalmist says:
"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law" (Psalm 119:136). The prophet exclaims, "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" (Jeremiah 9:1). And. it was to Orientals that Paul said, "Weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Mourning in Naves Topical Bible
For the dead
Le 10:6; 21:10
Lying on the ground
Personal appearance neglected
Cutting the flesh
Le 19:28; 21:1-5; De 14:1; Jer 16:6,7; 41:5
Ge 50:10; Ex 12:30; 1Sa 30:4; Jer 22:18; Mt 2:17,18
1Sa 31:13; 2Sa 1:12; 3:35
-Priests prohibited, except for the nearest of kin
-For Nadab and Abihu forbidden
-Sexes separated in
2Ch 35:25; Ec 12:5; Jer 9:17; Mt 9:23
-Abraham mourned for Sarah
-The Egyptians mourned for Jacob for seventy days
-The Israelites mourned for Aaron for thirty days
-David's lamentations over
The death of Saul and his sons
The death of Abner
The death of Absalom
-Jeremiah and the singing men and singing women lament for
-For calamities and other sorrows
Ripping the garments
Ge 37:29,34; 44:13; Nu 14:6; Jud 11:35; 2Sa 1:2,11;
13:19,31; 15:32; 2Ki 2:12; 5:8; 6:30; 11:14; 19:1;
22:11,19; Ezr 9:3,5; Job 1:20; 2:12; Isa 37:1; Jer
Mt 26:65; Ac 14:14
-Wearing mourning clothes
Ge 38:14; 2Sa 14:2
-Cutting or plucking off the hair and beard
Ezr 9:3; Jer 7:29
The head and the face
2Sa 15:30; 19:4; Es 6:12; Jer 14:3,4
The upper lip
Le 13:45; Eze 24:17,22; Mic 3:7
-Laying aside ornaments
2Sa 15:30; Isa 20:2
-Laying the hand on the head
2Sa 13:19; Jer 2:37
-Ashes put on the head
-Dust on the head
-Dressing in black
-Sitting on the ground
-Caused ceremonial defilement
Nu 19:11-16; 31:19; Le 21:1
-Prevented offerings from being accepted
De 26:14; Ho 9:4
Mourning in Smiths Bible Dictionary
One marked feature of Oriental mourning is what may be
called its studies publicity and the careful observance of
the prescribed ceremonies. Ge 23:2; Job 1:20; 2:12
1. Among the particular forms observed the following
may be mentioned: (a) Rending the clothes. Ge 37:29,34;
44:13 etc. (b) Dressing in sackcloth. Ge 37:34; 2Sa 3:31;
21:10 etc. (c) Ashes, dust or earth sprinkled on the person.
2Sa 13:19; 15:32 etc. (d) Black or sad-colored garments. 2Sa
14:2; Jer 8:21 etc. (e) Removal of ornaments or neglect of
person. De 21:12,13 etc. (f) Shaving the head, plucking out
the hair of the head or beard. Le 10:6; 2Sa 19:24 etc. (g)
Laying bare some part of the body. Isa 20:2; 47:2 etc. (h)
Fasting or abstinence in meat and drink. 2Sa 1:12; 3:35;
12:16,22 etc. (i) In the same direction may be mentioned
diminution in offerings to God, and prohibition to partake
of sacrificial food. Le 7:20; De 26:14 (k) Covering the
"upper lip," i.e. the lower part of the face, and sometimes
the head, in token of silence. Le 13:45; 2Sa 15:30; 19:4 (l)
Cutting the flesh, Jer 16:6,7; 41:5 beating the body. Eze
21:12; Jer 31:19 (m) Employment of persons hired for the
purpose of mourning. Ec 12:5 Jer 9:17; Am 5:16; Mt 9:23 (n)
Akin to the foregoing usage the custom for friends or
passers-by to join in the lamentations of bereaved or
afflicted persons. Ge 50:3; Jud 11:40; Job 2:11; 30:25 etc.
(o) The sitting or lying posture in silence indicative of
grief. Ge 23:3; Jud 20:26 etc. (p) Mourning feast and cup of
consolation. Jer 16:7,8
2. The period of mourning varied. In the case of
Jacob it was seventy days, Ge 50:3 of Aaron, Nu 20:29 and
Moses, Deut 34:8 thirty. A further period of seven days in
Jacob's case. Ge 50:10 Seven days for Saul, which may have
been an abridged period in the time of national danger. 1Sa
31:13 With the practices above mentioned, Oriental and other
customs, ancient and modern, in great measure agree. Arab
men are silent in grief, but the women scream, tear their
hair, hands and face, and throw earth or sand on their
heads. Both Mohammedans and Christians in Egypt hire
wailing-women, and wail at stated times. Burckhardt says the
women of Atbara in Nubia shave their heads on the death of
their nearest relatives --a custom prevalent also among
several of the peasant tribes of upper Egypt. He also
mentions wailing-women, and a man in distress besmearing his
face with dirt and dust in token of grief. In the "Arabian
Nights" are frequent allusions to similar practices. It also
mentions ten days and forty days as periods of mourning.
Lane, speaking of the modern Egyptians, says, "After death
the women of the family raise cries of lamentation called
welweleh or wilwal, uttering the most piercing shrieks, and
calling upon the name of the deceased, 'Oh, my master! Oh,
my resource! Oh, my misfortune! Oh, my glory!" See Jer 22:18
The females of the neighborhood come to join with them in
this conclamation: generally, also, the family send for two
or more neddabehs or public wailing-women. Each brings a
tambourine, and beating them they exclaim, 'Alas for him!'
The female relatives, domestics and friends, with their hair
dishevelled and sometimes with rent clothes, beating their
faces, cry in like manner, 'Alas for him!' These make no
alteration in dress, but women, in some cases, dye their
shirts, head-veils and handkerchiefs of a dark-blue color.
They visit the tombs at stated periods." --Mod. Eg. iii.
Mourning Scripture - 2 Samuel 14:2
And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and
said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and
put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not thyself with oil,
but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:
Mourning Scripture - Amos 5:16
Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus;
Wailing [shall be] in all streets; and they shall say in all
the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman
to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to
Mourning Scripture - Deuteronomy 26:14
I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken
away [ought] thereof for [any] unclean [use], nor given
[ought] thereof for the dead: [but] I have hearkened to the
voice of the LORD my God, [and] have done according to all
that thou hast commanded me.
Mourning Scripture - Deuteronomy 34:8
And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of
Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping [and] mourning for
Moses were ended.
Mourning Scripture - Ecclesiastes 7:4
The heart of the wise [is] in the house of mourning; but the
heart of fools [is] in the house of mirth.
Mourning Scripture - Ezekiel 31:15
Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the
grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I
restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were
stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the
trees of the field fainted for him.
Mourning Scripture - Genesis 27:41
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his
father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of
mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my
Mourning Scripture - Jeremiah 16:5
For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning,
neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my
peace from this people, saith the LORD, [even] lovingkindness
Mourning Scripture - Lamentations 2:5
The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath
swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong
holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning
Mourning Scripture - Psalms 30:11
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast
put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
THE DEATH WAIL
As soon as a death has taken place in the Orient, a wail is raised that announces to all the neighborhood what has happened. This is a sign for the relatives to begin demonstrating their sorrow.
This death wail is referred to in connection with the first-born of Egypt, "And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead" (Exodus 12:30).
Such a death-wail heard in an Eastern desert has been thus described as, "a sharp, shrill, ear-piercing shriek." This shriek is followed by prolonged wails. When this is heard, everybody knows a death has occurred. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Wailing in Naves Topical Bible
Of the wicked
Wailing Scripture - Esther 4:3
And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment
and his decree came, [there was] great mourning among the
Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in
sackcloth and ashes.
Wailing Scripture - Ezekiel 27:31
And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird
them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with
bitterness of heart [and] bitter wailing.
Wailing Scripture - Ezekiel 27:32
And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for
thee, and lament over thee, [saying], What [city is] like
Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
Wailing Scripture - Jeremiah 9:10
For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and
for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because
they are burned up, so that none can pass through [them];
neither can [men] hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl
of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.
Wailing Scripture - Jeremiah 9:18
And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that
our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out
Wailing Scripture - Jeremiah 9:19
For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we
spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken
the land, because our dwellings have cast [us] out.
Wailing Scripture - Jeremiah 9:20
Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear
receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters
wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation.
Wailing Scripture - Micah 1:8
Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked:
I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the
Wailing Scripture - Revelation 18:15
The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her,
shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and
Wailing Scripture - Revelation 18:19
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and
wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were
made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her
costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
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