FUNERAL. The word does not occur in the KJV, and in NIV is found only twice, both times as an adjective (Jer.16.5; Jer.34.5). Funeral rites differed with the place, the religion, and the times; except for royal burials in Egypt, the elaborate ceremonies we use today were not held.

Generally in Palestine there was no embalmment and the body was buried a few hours after death, sometimes in a tomb but more often in a cave. Coffins were unknown. The body was washed and often anointed with aromatic spices (John.12.7; John.19.39). The procession of mourners, made up of relatives and friends of the deceased, was led by professional mourning women, whose shrieks and lamentations pierced the air. It was an insult to a man’s reputation to be refused proper burial (Jer.22.19). The “Tombs of the Kings” on the east side of Jerusalem and the “garden tomb,” where our Lord’s body was laid, are evidences of the two types of burial. In Egypt the bodies were embalmed so skillfully that many of them are recognizable today after the lapse of thousands of years.

See also

  • Burial