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$ 204. TREATMENT OF THE CORPSE. EMBALMING.
prime minister of the terrifick king of Hades, represent him as in the habit of making his appearance in the presence of God, and demanding at the hand of the Divinity the extinction, in any given instance, of human life. Having obtained permission to that effect, he does not fail of making a prompt exhibition of himself to the sick; he then gives them drops of poison, which they drink and die. Comp. John 14 : 30. Hebrews 2: 14. Hence originate the phrases, “ to taste of death,” and “ to drink the cup of death,” which are found also among the Syrians, Arabians, and Persians, Matt. 16: 28. Mark 9: 1. Luke 9: 27. Jobn 8: 52. Heb. 2: 9.
$ 204. TREATMENT OF THE CORPSE. EMBALMING.
The friends or sons of the deceased closed his eyes, Gen. 46: 4. The corpse, m, 22, ninsy, wb, na, was washed with water, and, except when buried immediately, was laid out in an upper room or chamber, 727, Únepwov, 2 Kgs. 4: 21. Acts 9: 37.
The treatment of the lifeless body has not always been the same in every age, but has varied both in different ages, and in different countries.
The Egyptians embalmed, ban, the body. They had three methods of performing this operation, and, in determining which of these methods should be followed in any given case, the prominent inquiry was in respect to the rank and wealth of the deceased person. The first method was adopted in the embalming of Jacob and Joseph; it was very costly, and required, in defrayment of the expense, more than two thousand florins, Gen. 50: 2, 26.
Herodotus, (II. 86–88.) states, that a priest, (one, who at the same time had some knowledge of the medical art,) designated to the operator a place below the ribs, on the left side of the deceased person, for the incision. The operator, he observes, had no sooner made the incision, than he fled with the greatest precipitation, for he was immediately attacked with stones by the bystanders, as one, who had violated the dead. The rest of the priests, who, like the one, that had designated the place for the incision, were in some degree acquainted with medicine, extracted the intestines, washed the body externally with water, and internally with the wine of the palm tree, and then anointed it with a composition of myrrh, cassia, salt of nitre, &c. The brain was taken
§ 205. OF FUNERALS.
out by a crooked piece of iron through the nose, and the cranium was filled with aromatick substances.
The whole body was then wrapped round with linen, while each member of the body was at the same time bound separately with pieces of the same materials. The process of embalming occupied thirty or forty days, Gen. 50: 2, 26. The two other modes of embalming, which occupied but a short time, it is not-especially necessary, that we should undertake, at the present time, to describe.
After the body was embalmed, it was placed in a box of sycamore wood, which was fashioned externally so as to resemble the human form, and was in this way preserved in the house, sometimes for ages, leaning against the wall, Exod. 13: 19. comp. Gen. 50: 24, 25. Josh. 24:32, see also the large German edit. of this Work, P. I.Vol. II. tab. X.no.1. This is the account of embalming, as far as the Egyptians, and those who were immediately connected with them, are concerned.
In respect to this practice or art, as it existed among the Hebrews, we have authority for saying as far as this, that it' was their custom, in the more recent periods of their history, to wrap the body round with many folds of linen, and to place the head in a napkin, John 11:44. (The general term, that is used in the New Testament, to include the whole of the grave-clothes, is o Bovia.) It was their custom likewise to expend upon the dead aromatick substances, especially myrrh and aloes, which were brought from Arabia. This ceremony is expressed by the Greek verb avtaqiaselv, and was performed by the neighbours, and relations, Matt. 26: 6—14. 27: 59. Johp 19: 39, 40. 20:7. 11: 44. Mark 14: 8. Acts 9: 37. There is reason to believe, that the more ancient Hebrews, although it cannot be proved by direct and decisive testimony, pursued the same course in regard to the dead, with their descendants.
$ 205. OF FUNERALS. The ceremonies at the burial of the dead were different in different countries; but in every country it was considered a most ignominious procedure, to deprive the corpse of inter-,
§ 105. OF FUNERALS.
ment, and to leave it exposed to the depredations of wild beasts and birds.
Heroes, accordingly, (such was the disgrace attached to non-interment,) were in the habit of threatening, as a mark of their indignation and contempt, this dishonour to their adversaries in battle. The prophets, in like manner, when putting in requisition the powers of their imagination in order to give an impressive picture of any fearful and approaching devastations by war, represent such a state of things, as a feast, which God would make from human corpses, for the birds of heaven, and for the beasts of the forest, 1 Sam. 17:44–46. 31: 8–13. 2 Sam. 4: 12. 21:9, 10. 1 Kgs. 14 : 11–14. Jer, 7 : 33. 8: 2, 16: 4, 34 : 20. Ezek. 29 : 5. 32 : 4. 39: 17-20. Ps. 63 : 10. 79: 2—3. Is. 14:19. The patriarchs buried their dead in a few days after death, Gen. 23: 2-4. 25: 9. 35: 29. Their posterity in Egypt seem to have deferred burial. It is probable, that Moses in reference to this practice extended the uncleanness, contracted by means of a corpse, to seven days, in order to make the people hasten the ceremony of interment.
In a subsequent age, the Jews imitated the example of the Persians, and buried the body very soon after death, Acts 5: 6, 10. The interment of Tabitha, (Acts 9: 37,) was delayed on account of sending for Peter. The children, friends, relations, or servants of the deceased took the charge of his burial, Gen. 23: 19. 25:9. 35: 29. 48: 7. Num. 20:28. 1 Kgs. 13:30. 2 Kgs. 23: 30. Mark 6: 29. Matt. 27: 59, 60.
A box or coffin for the dead, 1978, was not used, except in Babylon and Egypt. The corpse was wrapped in folds of linen, and placed upon a bier, in the Hebrew urz and fun, Deut. 3: 11 ; and was then carried by four or six persons to the tomb. The bearers appear to have travelled very rapidly in the time of Christ, as they do at the present day among the modern Jews, Luke 7: 14.
The mourners, who followed the bier, poured forth the anguish of their hearts in lamentable wails ; and what rendered the ceremony still more affecting, there were eulogists and musicians in attendance, who deepened the sympathetick feelings of the occasion, by a rehearsal of the virtues of the departed, and by the accompaniment of melancholy sounds, Gen. 50:7–11. 2 Sam. 3:
§ 206. SITUATION OF SEPULCHRES,
31, 32. Amos 5: 16. Matt.9 : 23. 11: 17. Men, who were distingaished for their rank, and who at the same time exhibited a claim to the love and to the favour of the people, for their virtues, and their good deeds, were honoured with an attendance of vast multitudes, to witness the solemnities of their interment, Gen. 50: 7-14. 1 Sam. 25: 1. 2 Chron. 32: 33. 1 Kgs. 14: 13. To bury, and to pay due honours to the remains of the dead, was considered, in the later periods of the Jewish state, not only an act due to decency and the common feelings of humanity, but a religious duty, Tob. 1: 12-19. 2: 4-8. 4: 17, 18. 12: 12, 13. Eccles. 7:31. Acts 8:2.
$ 206. SITUATION OF SEPULCHRES.
Sepulchres, otherwise called THE EVERLASTING HOUSES, were commonly situated beyond the limits of cities and villages, Is. 14: 18. Eccles. 12:5. Luke 7: 12. Matt. 8:28. The Mosaic law re. specting defilement by means of dead bodies, seemed to render it necessary, that they should not be located within them. And still it was as much the custom among other nations, as among the Hebrews, (and indeed continues to be the practice to the present day in the East,) to bury out of the city ; except in the case of kings and very distinguished men, whose ashes are commonly permitted to repose within it, comp. 1 Sam. 28: 3. 2 Kgs. 21: 18. 2 Chron. 16: 14. 24: 16.
The Sepulchres of the Hebrew kings were upon mount Zion, 2 Chron. 21:20. 24: 25. 28: 27. 2 Kgs. 14:20.
With the exception to be made in respect to the situation of the tombs of their kings, the Hebrews generally exhibited a preference for burying their dead in gardens, and beneath shady trees, Gen. 23: 17. 35: 8. 1 Sam. 31: 13. 2 Kgs. 21:18, 26. 23: 16. John 19: 41. But as such situations, viz, groves and gardens, belonged of course to individuals, the inference is, (what indeed we learn from other sources,) that SEPULCHRES were the property of a single person, or of a number of families united together, Gen. 23. 4 -20. 50: 13. Jud. 16:31. 2 Sam. 2:32. There were some burial places, however, which were either common, 2 Kgs. 23: 6. Jer. 26: 23, or allotted to a certain class of people, Matt. 27: 7.
To be buried in the Sepulchre of one's fathers, was a distin
guished honour; to be excluded from it, was as signal a disgrace. In consequence of this feeling, the bodies of enemies, who had fallen in war, were delivered up to their friends to be buried, though in some instances when petitioned for, they were denied, Gen. 49: 29. 50: 13, 25, Jud. 16: 31. 2 Sam. 19:37, 38. 2 Kgs. 9: 28. Jer. 26:23. This honour was denied to those, who died while infected with the leprosy, 2 Chron. 26: 23. Those kings also, who had incurred the hatred of the people, were not permitted to be buried in the royal tombs, 2 Chron. 21:20. 24: 25. 28: 27. Hence we are commonly informed in respect to kings of an opposite character, that they were buried with funeral honours, in the tombs of their ancestors, 1 Kgs. 11:43. 14:31. 15: 8, etc. To be buried like an ass, i. e. without mourning, and lamentation, was considered a very great disgrace, Jer. 22: 16—19. 35: 30.
§ 207. SEPULCHRES.
THE SEPULCHRES or burying places of the common class of people were, without doubt, mere excavations in the earth, such as are commonly made at the present day in the East. Persons, who sustained a higher rank, were more rich, or more powerful, owned subterranean recesses, crypts, or caverns, which are sometimes
R, (the usual name for places of interment,) and in the New Testament, tagos and uvmuelov, Gen. 23: 6. Matt. 23: 27, 29. 27: 52, 53. (The word saw also in Psalm 141:7. means a burying place.) These large subterranean places of interment were, in some instances, the work of nature, in some, were merely artificial excavations of the earth, and in others, were cut out from rocks, Gen. 23: 2. et seq. Josh. 10:27. Is. 22: 16. 2 Kgs. 13: 21. John 11: 38. 19:41. Matt. 27: 52, 60. Numerous sepulchres of this kind still remain in Syria, in Palestine, and in Egypt. The most beautiful, called the royal sepulchres, are situated in the north part of Jerusalem, and were probably the work of either Helen, queen of Assyria, or of the Herods, Josephus, J. War, V. 4. 2. p. 343.
The entrance into these sepulchres was by a descent over a number of steps. Many of them consisted of two, three, and even seven apartments. There were niches in the walls, where the dead bodies were deposited. The interiour chambers of sepul