Movie Overview
New Discoveries
The Chevron
Essential Facts
Theological Considerations
The Tomb
The Experts
Holy Books
Holy Land
Back to Basics
Tombs 101
Burial Practices 101
Jewish Laws
Ritual Purity
Elite Affair
Secondary Burial
Burial Practices
Women and Burial
Criminal Burial
Ossuaries 101
Early Christianity 101
Pre-Biblical Times
Roman Empire
John the Baptist
Stations of the Cross
Jewish History
Jerusalem & Its Conquerors
The Crusades
Status of Women in Jesus' Time
The Apostles
Israel Antiquities Authority
Site History
Bone Recovery Controversy
Society of Jesus
Miracles of Jesus Christ
Mary Magdalene
Mother Mary
Mary of Magdala
Church Fathers
Alternative Theories
Debate & Discussion
Link to Us
Spread the Word
The Press
Buy The BookForumTell a FriendBuy the DVD
Buy the DVDLink to UsNews CoverageBuy The Book

Burial Practices: Ancient Jewish Laws Concerning the Burial of the Dead

In ancient Israel, burial practices were a sacred tradition that reflected the significance of death in Judaism. Ancient Jewish burial practices sought to celebrate the life of the individual while commemorating the deceasedís death.

Death in the Jewish religion is central because it is considered to be a part of life and a part of Godís plan for humanity. In addition, the mourning that accompanies the death of a loved one is a reflection not of sorrow, but of the great value placed on the individualís life in Judaism.

Ancient Jewish practices concerning the dead instructed that the individual be buried and not cremated, a law still in observance today. This is because cremation is believed to be a punishment that is reserved for idols, criminals and enemies of the Jewish faith; for example, during the Exodus, Moses destroyed the golden calf in order to punish the Hebrews for their idolatry. Similarly, the early Christian Church also rejected cremation, because it was associated with Greek and Roman pagan beliefs.

On the other hand, burial represents a connection between the individual and God. The custom of burial is recorded in the Torah. The burial of Sarah is the first to be mentioned in the Torah. (Genesis 23:1-4). There is also reference to the burial of her husband Abraham (Genesis 25:8-10), as well as to the burial of David (1 Kings 2:10) and Moses (Deut. 34: 5, 6, 8). To not be buried was considered a curse, as well as a dishonor and tragedy. For instance, Godís curse on the Israelites was that they not be buried (Jeremiah 16:6).

Therefore, a great deal of importance was placed on burial in the Jewish religion in ancient times. Ordinary citizens, military personnel and even criminals had to be properly buried, according to religious law.

According to Jewish law, burial of the deceased had to occur within 24 hours of the individualís death (Deuteronomy 21:23), because of climate factors, in order to maintain ritual purity.

Soon after death, family members of the deceased would mourn and prepare the body for burial. The deceasedís body was washed and anointed with various oils and spices. The body was then wrapped in unique linen clothing that contained spices and placed on a stone shelf that was carved into the bedrock wall of a the tomb.

After the body was prepared, it was carried to the cemetery in a procession of lamentation and grief. The body was to be buried soon after death and the burial was required to take place outside of the village where the individual lived, according to a Jewish law still in practice today (Baba Bathra 2, 9). The grieving period lasted from three to seven days.

One of the most important tenets of ancient Jewish burial practices was that the individual be buried just outside of the village in which the individual had lived. A second essential tenet of ancient Jewish burial practices was that the individual be buried in the same tomb as his family.

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
Copyright 2020© Jesusfamilytomb.com.
All rights reserved.
Terms and Conditions | Contact Us

Design and Marketing by TalMor Media

Link To Us Spread The Word Debate and Discussion Buy DVD