Easton's Bible Dictionary: M. G. Easton, M.A., D.D.


Burying was among the Jews the only mode of disposing of corpses (Gen. 23:19, 25:9, 35:8,9, etc.).

The first traces of burning the dead are found in 1 Sam. 31:12. The burning of the body was affixed by the law of Moses as a penalty to certain crimes (Lev. 20:14, 21:9).

To leave the dead unburied was regarded with horror (1 Ki. 13:22, 14:11, 16:4, 21:24, etc.).

In the earliest times of which we have record kinsmen carried their dead to the grave (Gen. 25:9, 35:29; Judg. 16:31), but in later times this was done by others (Amos 6:10).

Immediately after decease the body was washed, and then wrapped in a large cloth (Acts 9:37; Mt. 27:59; Mk. 15:46). In the case of persons of distinction, aromatics were laid on the folds of the cloth (Jn. 19:39; comp. Jn. 12:7).

As a rule the burial (q.v.) took place on the very day of the death (Acts 5:6, 10), and the body was removed to the grave in an open coffin or on a bier (Lk. 7:14). After the burial a funeral meal was usually given (2 Sam. 3:35; Jer. 16:5, 7; Hos. 9:4).

Original from The Bible Foundation - bf.org. They claim public domain status for their original text.