4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Grave


Among the ancient Hebrews graves were outside of cities in the open field (Lu 7:12; Joh 11:30). Kings (1Ki 2:10) and prophets (1Sa 25:1) were generally buried within cities. Graves were generally grottoes or caves, natural or hewn out in rocks (Isa 22:16; Mt 27:60). There were family cemeteries (Ge 47:29; 50:5; 2Sa 19:37). Public burial-places were assigned to the poor (Jer 26:23; 2Ki 23:6). Graves were usually closed with stones, which were whitewashed, to warn strangers against contact with them (Mt 23:27), which caused ceremonial pollution (Nu 19:16).

There were no graves in Jerusalem except those of the kings, and according to tradition that of the prophetess Huldah.

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The principal words are

1. qeber, qeburah, ?????, from 'to bury,' and hence any description of burying place, as Ge 35:20; 50:5; Mt 23:29, etc. They are often translated SEPULCHRE. Ge 23:6; De 34:6; Mt 23:27.

2. sheol, ????, the place of departed spirits. Ge 37:35; Ps 6:5; Ho 13:14; 1Co 15:55, etc. See HELL.

3. ?????, ????????, from 'to remember,' hence a memorial tomb or monument. Mt 27:52-53, etc. It is often translated SEPULCHRE, as in Joh 20:1-11; and TOMB, as in Mt 8:28, etc.

The graves were of various descriptions: some were simply holes dug in the ground and at times covered over with one or more large stones, over which men might walk unawares. Lu 11:44. Some were hewn in the rock, and a single stone placed or rolled against the mouth, the tomb of Lazarus and that of Joseph in which 'the body of Jesus was laid' being of this description. Other sepulchres or tombs were said to be built; an ornamental structure being erected over the place where the body was laid, similar to those found in nearly all modern cemeteries. Mt 23:29.

In places, and especially near Jerusalem, there are long passages, with holes cut in the sides in which the bodies were placed; and by continuing these passages such tombs could be enlarged to any extent. We read in the O.T. of the TOMBS OF THE KINGS. Those now bearing this name may be seen marked on maps to the north of Jerusalem; and others called the TOMBS OF THE PROPHETS are placed on the mount of Olives. These of course may not be those referred to in scripture.

Natural caves were also used as graves, as the cave of Machpelah. Ge 23:3-20. In Lu 8:27 we read of a demoniac who lived in the 'tombs:' these were doubtless natural caves.

The Lord compared the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees to whited sepulchres, the outward beauty of which stood in strong contrast to the dead men's bones and uncleanness within. There is a tradition that the sepulchres were white-washed once every year, that they might be readily seen and avoided. The hour comes when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth, some to the resurrection of life, and others to the resurrection of judgement. Joh 5:28-29.

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See Burial, Sepulchres