Removing the body to the funeral site

As soon as the preparation of the body was finished the procession will take the body (Gen 50:4-14) carrying it on a bier to the grave (Luk 7:12 and 14).

The burial itself

At the funeral site the body was laid down in the grave or tomb. In the early times the family carried the body to the grave (Gen 25:9; 35:29; Jdg 16:31), but later in the Bible it was done by strangers (Am 6:10). 

The funeral was so important that when you discover a body along the road, it was expected of you to bury it. (2 Sam 21:10-14). It was a shame not to be buried. When a body was thrown on a dump or just left on the side of the road, it was referred to as an ‘ass’s funeral’.

Graveyards were outside of the cities. Families were buried together in a room and when the room was too full the extra bones were placed in stone coffins. Sometimes you would find communal graves (Mat 27:7).

The poorer people dug graves in the ground and after they buried their loved ones they put stones on them. Only the leaders were buried in the walls of the city (1Kg 2:10).

The wealthy people were buried in gardens (2 Kg 21:18, 26; Mt 27:57; John 19:41-42). Some of the graves were decorated with tomb stones or pillars and were whitewashed on the outside to make them easily visible (2 Kg 23:17; Mt 23:27). This was done so that the Jews did not accidentally touch them. Biblical and historical data shows that the wealthy and politicians were buried with some of their clothes, jewellery, weapons, furniture and pottery (1 Sm 28:14; Is 14:11; Ez 32:27).

Some graves were built from stones that were shaped like bricks, while others were carved from the rocks into the mountains (Lk 23:53; Jh 19:41; Mk 5:3). The graves were protected against wild animals by rolling a round stone in front of the opening or some even had doors that could be locked (see Mt 27:60; Mk 16:3-4). When the funeral was done the family would meet for a meal together (2 Sm 3:35; Jr 16:5, 7; Hs 9:4).