Burying was (as generally, Cicero, Leg. 2:22; Pliny, 7:55) the oldest, as in all antiquity the customary, and among the Israelites the only mode of disposing of corpses (Ge 23:19; Ge 25:95 35:8,1,9; Jg 2:9;
8:32; 1Sa 25:1, etc.; Joh 11:17; Mt 27:60, etc.). So likewise among the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians (Lucian, Suet. 21; Curtius, 3:12, 11 and 13), of which people ruins of necropolises and tombs still remain. Of burning, (which among the Greeks was a well-known custom — although in no age altogether prevalent, see Becker, Charicles, 2:181 sq.), the first trace occurs in 1Sa 31:12, and even there as an extraordinary case (verse 10). The practice has also been inferred from Am 6:10, where the term מס רפוֹ, mesarepho', "he that burneth him" (i.e., the nearest relative, who kindled the pyre; compare Ge 25:9; Ge 35:29; Jg 16:31), occurs; but De Rossi, with several MSS., reads (so Hitzig, ad loc., although Rosenmuller, ad be., otherwise explains) משָׂרפוֹ, alluding to the different custom of burning — not the body itself, but sweet spices at the funeral, as in Chronicles 16:14; 21:19; Jer 34:5 (comp. De 12:31), as confirmed by Josephus (War, 1:33, 9; see Geier, De luctu, 6:2 sq.; Kiirchmann, De funerib. page 248 sq.; Dougtaei Analect. 1:196 sq.). After the exile the burning of dead bodies was still less an Israelitish custom, and the Talmud classes it with heathenish practices; hence even Tacitus (Hist. 5:5, 4) mentions burial as an altogether Jewish usage. The same conclusion is confirmed by the fact that combustion of the person is affixed by the Mosaic law (Le 20:14;, 21:9) as a special penalty for certain crimes (see Michaelis [who, however, reaches a false result], De combustione et humatione mortuoruom ap. Hebraeos, in his Syntagma comm. 1:225 sq.). SEE GRAVE. To leave the dead unburied was to the Hebrews a most dreadful thought (1Ki 13:22; 1Ki 14:11; 1Ki 16:4; 1Ki 21:24; Jer 7:33; Jer 8:2; Jer 9:22; Jer 14:16; Jer 16:4; Jer 25:33; Eze 29:5; Ps 79:3), and was regarded by the ancients universally as one of the grossest insults (Sophocles, Ajax. 1156; Herodian, 8:5, 24; 3:12, 25; Plutarch, Virt. mul. page 226, ed. Tauchn.; Isocr. Panath. page 638; see Musgrave, in Soph. Antiq. 25); hence to inter the remains of the departed was a special work of affection (Tobit 1:21; 2:8), and was an imperative duty of sons toward their parents (Ge 25:9; Ge 35:29; Ge 1 Macc. 2:70; Tobit 6:15; Mt 8:21; compare Demosth. Aristog. page 496; Vas. Max. 5:4, ext. 3; see Kype, Obsess. 1:46), and next devolved upon relatives and friends (Tobit 14:16). If the corpse remained uninhumed, it became a prey to the roving, hungry dogs and ravenous birds (1Ki 14:11; 1Ki 16:4; 1Ki 21:24; Jer 7:33; 2Sa 21:10 [2Ki 9:35 sq.]; compare Homer, Il. 22:41 sq.; Eurip. Heracl. 1050). Nevertheless, that was not often the fate of the dead among the Issraelites, except in consequence of the atrocities of war, since De 21:23 (Josephus, War, 6:72) was held to entitle even criminals to interment (Josephus, War, 4:5, 2; comp. Mt 27:58; yet it was otherwise in Egypt, Ge 40:19). According to the Talmud (Lightfoot, Hosea Heb. page 499) there were two especial burial-places at Jerusalem for executed persons. SEE TOMB.
What form or ceremonies of obsequies was observed by the ancient Hebrews is almost altogether unknown, except that in the earlier and simpler age the act of interment was performed by the relations (sons-, brothers) with- their own hands (Ge 25:9; Ge 35:29; Jg 16:31; the later passages, 1 Macc. 2:70; Tobit 14:16, only indicate the attendance of the kindred at the rites; so also Mt 8:22). In later times the Jews left this to others, and in Am 5:16 it is spoken of as something shocking that kinsmen should be obliged to carry the corpse to the crave (this pious care, however, was due from friends, e.g. from pupils towards their teacher, 1Ki 13:30; Mr 6:29). Closing the eyes and giving the last kiss (Thilo, Apoer. 1:44) are mentioned (Ge 46:4; Ge 1; Ge 1; Tobit 14:15) as natural expressions of farewell (the Talmud has a prescription concerning them, Shabb. 23:5) from early antiquity (Homer, Il. 11:452; Odyss. 11:425 sq.; 24:296; Eurip. Hec. 428; Virg. An. 9:487; Ovid, Trist. 2:3, 43; 4:3, 43 sq.; Val. Max. 2:6, 8; Pliny, 11:55; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7:22). Immediately after decease (the sooner the better,) the body was washed (Ac 9:37), then wrapped in a large cloth (σινδών, Mt 27:59; Mr 15:46; Lu 23:53), or all its limbs wound with bands (ὀθόνια, κειρίαι, see Joh 11:44; compare Chiffiet, De hinteas sepulcral. Christi, Antw. 1624, 1688), between the folds of which, in the case of a person of distinction, aromatics were laid or sprinkled (Joh 19:39 sq.; compare Joh 12:7; the custom of anointing the corpse with spiced unguents was very prevalent anciently, Pliny, 13:1; Homer, Odyss. 24:45; Iliad, 18:350; 24:582; Lucian, Luct. 11). See Dougtaei Annal. 2:64 sq. At public funerals of princes sumptuous shrouds were usual, and there was a prodigal expense of odors (Josephus, Ant. 15:3, 4; 17:8, 3; War, 1:33, 9). The speedy burial customary with the later Jews (Ac 5:6,10; as a rule on the same day, before sundown) had its origin in the Levitical defilement (Nu 19:11 sq.); in earlier times it did not prevail (Ge 23:2 sq.; comp. Chardin, 6:485). The removal (ἐκφέρειν) to the grave was done in a coffin (σορός, Lu 7:14;
λάρναξ, Josephus, Ant. 15:3, 2), which probably was usually open (? Lu 7:14; comp. Schulz, Leitung, 4:182; but see Josephus, Ant. 15:1, 2); and on a bier (מַטָּה, 2Sa 3:31; κλίνη, Josephus, Life, 62; Ant. 17:8, 3; of costly materials in the case of royal personages, aeven adorned with precious stones, Josephus, Ant. 13:16, 1; 17:8, 3; War, 1:33, 9), borne by men (Lu 7:14; Ac 5:6,10), with a retinue of the relatives and friends (2Sa 3:31; Lu 7:12; the Talmud speaks of funeral processions with horns (Parah, 12:9; on royal funeral processions, see Josephus, Ant. 13:16, 1; 17:8, 3; War, 1:33, 9) in a long train (Job 21:33), and with loud weeping and wailing (2Sa 3:32; compare Baruch 6:31). Even in the house of grief, before the funeral, lamentation was kept up with accompaniment of mourning pipes (Mt 9:23; Mr 5:38; compare Jer 9:17; 2Ch 35:25; Ovid, Fast. 6:660; see Hilliger, De tibicin. in funer. adhib. Viteb. 1717; Kiirchmann, Fun. Roman. 2:5). Female mourners, especially (Jer 9:17), were hired for the purpose (Mishna, Moed Katon, 3:8), who prolonged the lamentation several days (Wellsted, 1:150; Prokesch, Erinner. 1:93, 102, 130). After the burial a funeral meal was given (2Sa 3:35; Jer 16:5,7; Ho 9:4; Eze 24:17,24; Tobit 4:18; Epist. Jeremiah 30; compare Homer, Il. 23:28; 24:802; Lucian, Luct. 24: see Geier, De luct. Ebr. chapter 6; Hebenstreit, in the Miscell. Lips. 2:720 sq.; 6:83 sq.; Garmann, in Iken's Thesaur. 1:1028 sq.); and among the later Jews, in families of distinction, invitations were extended to the honorable as well as to the people, so that these entertainments eventually became scenes of luxurious display (Josephus, War, 2:1, 1). Warriors were buried with their arms (Eze 32:27; Eze 1 Macc. 13:29; comp. Homer, Odyss. 11:74; 12:13; Virgil, AEn. 6:233; Diod. Sic. 18:26; Curtius, 10:1, 31; see Tavernier, 1:284), and persons of rank or royalty with jewels and valuables (Josephus, Ant. 15:3, 4; 16:7, 1). In later times, when the belief in the resurrection became generally distinct, a funeral sacrifice was made (2 Macc. 12:43). See generally Weber, Observatt. sacr. circa funera populor. orientt. (Argent. 1767); Montbron, Essai sur la litterature des Hebreux (Par. 1819), III, 1:1 sq., 253 sq.; also Meursius, De funere lib. sing., il his Opp. 5. For the funeral customs of the ancient Egyptians, see Wilkinson, chapter 10 (abridgm.); for those of the modern Egyptians, see Lane, chapter 28: SEE BURIAL.
Monographs on funerals in general have been written by Fuderici (Jen. 1755), Ingler [in Germ.] (Luneb. 1757), Pomeg (L.B. 1659); on burial in general, by Heidegger (Heidelb. 1670), Nettelbladt (Rost. 1728), Lungh (Holm. 1672); on ancient modes of burial, by Gyraldus (Helmst. 1676), Quenstedt (Viteb. 1660), Strauch (Viteb.1660), Cellarius (Helmst.1682), Florinus (Aboe, 1695); among the Greeks, by Norberg (Opusc. 2:507- 526); on the right and duty of sepulture, by Bruckner (Jena, 1708), Bohmer (Halle, 1717), Burchard (Lips. 1700), Hofmann (Viteb. 1726), Horer (Viteb. 1661), Sahme (Regiom. 1710), Saurmann (Brem. 1737), Schlegel (Lips. 1679); in time of war, by Preibis (Viteb. 1685); in temples, by Allegrantia (Medio. 1773), Platner (Lips. 1788), Winkler (Lips. 1784), Woken (Viteb. 1752), Lampe (Argent. 1776), Gundling (Obs. select. 1:137 sq.); on sepulchres, by Eckhard (Jena, 1726); on cenotaphs, by Bidermann (Frib. 1755); and cemeteries, by Bachon (Gott. 1725), Berger (Rost. 1689), Bohmer (Hal. 1716, 1726), Fuhrmann [in Germ.] (Hal. 1801), Spondanus (Par. 1638); and their sanctity, by Lederer (Viteb. 1661), Lichtwehr (Viteb. 1747), Niespen (L.B. 1723), Plaz (Lips. 1725), Schopfer (Bremen, 1747), Junius (Lips. 1744); on the Catacombs, by Cyprian (Helmst. 1699); Fehrnel (Lips. 1710-13); on mourning, by AEminga (Gryph. 1751); Nicolai (Marb.1739), Geier (Lips. 1666), Kirchmann (Hamb. 1605, Lubec, 1625), Sopranus (Lond. 1643); on funeral dresses, by Mayer (Hamb. 1706); on the expense of funerals, by Philipp (Lips. 1684); on placing money in the mouth of the corpse, by Seyffert (Lips. 1709); on lamps at the grave, by Ferrari (Patavium, 1764), Schurzfleisch (Viteb. 1710), Willesch (Alt. 1715); and flowers, by Flugge (Hafn. 1704); on funeral feasts, by Jenichen [in German] (Lpz. 1747), Schmidt (Lips. 1693), Troppanger (Viteb. 1710); on funeral incense, by Bromel (Jen. 1687); on funeral orations, by Bohmer (Helmst. 1713, 1715), Mayer (Lips. 1670), Rosenberg (Budiss. 1689), Senf (Lips. 1689), Wildvogel (Jen. 1701), Witte (1691); and as a Roman custom, by Fortlage (Osnabr. 1789); on monuments, by Behrnauer [in German] (Frib. 1755), Herfordt (Hafn. 1722), Hottinger (Heidelb. 1659); on cuttings for the dead, by Michaelis (F. ad V. 1734); on Christian burial, by Behrnauer (Budiss. 1732), Gretsa (Ingolstadt, 1611), Joch (Jen. 1726), Kiesling (Viteb. 1736), Franzen (Lips. 1713), Larroquanus (Advers. sacr. L.B. 1688, page 187 sq.), Panvinus (Lond. 1572, Romans 1581, Lips. 1717), Rosenberg (Budiss. 1690), Samellius (Taurin. 1678), Schurzfleisch (Controv. page 34); on the burial of the patriarchs, by Carpzov (Dissert. page 1670 sq.), Semler (Halle, 1706), Zeibich (Viteb. 1742); on Asa's funeral, by Miiller (Viteb. 1716); on the burial of animals, by Dasson (Viteb. 1697), Lange (Altorf, 1705), Castaeus [at Jer 22:19] (Lips. 1716). SEE GRAVE; SEE CEMETERY; SEE DEAD, ETC.