burials in the Bible
ABRAHAM AND SARAH. The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Genesis 23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the purchase of a burial place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron “four hundred shekels of silver current money with the merchants.” Thus, the patriarch became the owner of a part of the land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed.
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In compliance with the oath which he made him swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren, buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus, Moses “took the bones of Joseph with him,” and they were buried in the “parcel of ground” which Jacob had bought of the sons of Hamor (Joshua 24:32), which became Joseph’s inheritance (Genesis 48:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1; John 4:5).
PYRAMIDS as burial sites. In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were probably the Pyramids (Job 3:14,15). The Hebrew word for “waste places” here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for “pyramids.”
ABSALOM was buried “in the wood” where he was slain (2 Samuel 18:17,18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (compare Joshua 7:26 and 8:29).
HEBREW KINGS. There was no fixed royal burying-place for the Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place, however, “in the city of David” ( 1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2 Kings 14:19-20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chronicles 21:19,20; 2 Chronicles 24:25, etc.).
LAZARUS. The grave of Lazarus was “a cave, and a stone lay on it” ( John 11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks ( Genesis 23:9; Matthew 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body was brought from a distance.
CREMATION. In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons, we meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1 Samuel 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos (Amos 6:10).
- Have the burial sites of any people in the Bible been found?