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Bier

BIER (Heb. mittah, Gr. sorós). The Heb. word tr. “bier” once in KJV (2 Sam 3:31, Abner’s burial) is the common word for couch or bed (references are listed s.v. Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, pp. 641, 642). The bier was an open bed or litter set in a bedroom where the body was placed for public viewing, while around the room hired mourners kept up lamentation. Luke 7:14 shows that the body was carried to the grave on the same open stretcher, just as in poorer Moslem funerals the corpse is carried on boards. Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah I., pp. 555, 556) wrote that there was a horn to which the body was lashed, and that a different bier was used for rich and poor, the former having a pretentious conveyance called a dargash, while the poor had a framework of wicker. (See the account of Asa’s funeral, 2 Chron 16:14.) The NT word soros is found in Classical Gr. signifying an urn for the bones of the dead. In the one NT reference it obviously renders mittah.