Billeder på siden

give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother. (Jer. xvi. 6, 7.) Therefore mine heart shall SOUND for MOAB like PIPES, and mine heart shall sound like PIPES for the men of KIR-HERES: because the riches he hath gotten are perished; for every HEAD shall be BALD, and every BEARD CLIPPED; upon all the HANDS shall be CUTTINGS, and upon the LOINS sack-cloth. (Jer. xlviii. 36, 37.) So also the prophet Ezekiel: Son of man, behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no MOURNING for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spoke unto the people in the morning, and at even my wife died. (Ezek. xxiv. 16, 17, 18.)

In the time of Christ and his apostles these mournful songs had musical accompaniments. The soft and plaintive melody of the flute was employed to heighten these doleful lamentations and dirges. Thus we read that on the death of the daughter of Jairus a company of mourners, with players on the flute, according to the Jewish custom, attended upon this sorrowful occasion. When Jesus entered the governor's house, he saw the minstrels and the people wailing greatly. (Matt. ix. 23.) So Josephus informs us, that when it was reported in the city that he was involved in the general destruction of Jotapata, the intelligence immediately filled Jerusalem with the deepest sorrow. The particular families and relations of the deceased bewailed the death of their respective friends, but the death of the general (meaning himself) caused universal mourning. Some deplored the loss of their acquaintance, some of their relations, some of their friends, some of their brethren, but all men lamented the loss of Josephus! so that for thirty days together there was a public mourning in the city, and considerable numbers of people hired musicians to regulate and conduct their lamentations. This custom still obtains among the Moors. "At all their principal entertainments," says Dr. Shaw," and to show mirth and gladness upon other occasions, the women welcome the arrival of each guest, by squalling out for several times together, Loo! Loo! Loo! a corruption, as it seems to be, of Hallelujah. Aλaλn, a word of the like sound, was used by an army, either before they gave the onset, or when they had obtained the victory. The Turks to this day call out, Allah! Allah! Allah! upon the like occasion. At their funerals also, and upon other melancholy occasions, they repeat the same noise (Loo), only they make it more deep and hollow, and end each period with some ventriloquous sighs. The aλaλagovras oλa, or wailing greatly, (as our version expresses it, Mark v. 38.) upon the death of Jairus's daughter, was probably performed in this manner. For there are several women, hired to act upon these lugubrious occasions, who, like the præficæ, or mourning women of old, are skilful in lamentation (Amos

1 Josephus, De Bel. Jud. lib. iii. cap. x. p. 252. Havercamp.

v. 16.), and great mistresses of these melancholy expressions and indeed they perform their parts with such proper sounds, gestures, and commotions, that they rarely fail to work up the assembly into some extraordinary pitch of thoughtfulness and sorrow. The British factory has often been very sensibly touched with these lamentations, whenever they were made in the neighbouring houses." This custom, however, of employing music to heighten public and private grief was not in that age peculiar to the Jews. We find the flute also employed at the funeral solemnities of the Greeks and Romans, in their lamentations for the deceased, as appears from numerous testimonies of classic authors.2

IV. The Jewish rites of sepulture were not very dissimilar to those of the Egyptians, from whom they seem originally to have been derived. The Egyptian manner differed from the Jewish principally in the circumstance of their embalming their dead with spices and nitre, the various methods of performing which are minutely described by Herodotus, and Diodorus Siculus.3 The patriarch Jacob was embalmed according to the Egyptian process; which, it appears from Gen. 1. 3., required forty days to complete the embalming of the body. Afterwards it lay in natron thirty days more, making in the whole seventy days, during which the mourning was continued. So

1 Shaw's Travels, p. 305. 4to. 1738. The mourning of the Montenegrins bears a great resemblance to that of the oriental nations. On the death of any one, nothing is heard but tears, cries, and groans from the whole family the women, in particular, beat themselves in a frightful manner, pluck off their hair, and tear their faces and bosoms. The deceased person is laid out for twenty-four hours, in the house where he expires, with the face uncovered; and is perfumed with essences, and strewed with flowers and aromatic leaves, after the custom of the antients. The lamentations are renewed every moment, particularly on the arrival of a fresh person, and especially of the priest. Just before the defunct is carried out of the house, his relations whisper in his ear, and give him commissions for the other world, to their departed relatives or friends. After these singular addresses, a pall or winding-sheet is thrown over the dead person, whose face continues uncovered, and he is carried to church: while on the road thither, women, hired for the purpose, chaunt his praises, amid their tears. Previously to depositing him in the ground, the next of kin tie a piece of cake to his neck, and put a piece of money in his hand, after the manner of the antient Greeks. During this ceremony, as also while they are carrying him to the burial ground, a variety of apostrophes is addressed to the defunct, which are interrupted only by mournful sobs, asking him why he quitted them? Why he abandoned his family? He, whose poor wife loved him so tenderly, and provided every thing for him to eat! Whose children obeyed him with such respect, while his friends succoured him whenever he wanted assistance; who possessed such beautiful flocks, and all whose undertakings were blessed by heaven! When the funeral rites are performed, the curate and mourners return home, and partake of a grand entertainment, which is frequently interrupted by jovial songs, intermixed with prayers in honour of the deceased. One of the guests is commissioned to chaunt a "lament" impromptu, which usually draws tears from the whole company; the performer is accompanied by three or four monochords, whose harsh discord excites both laughter and tears at the same time. Voyage Historique et Politique à Montenegro, par M. le Colonel Vialla de Sommières, tome i. pp. 275-278. Paris, 1820. 8vo.

2 See Euripidis Phænissæ, ver. 1521. Eschyli Septem contra Thebas, ver. 1030. Dion. Cassius, lib. lvi. p. 850. and lib. lxxiv. p. 1245. (edit. Reimar.) Eusebii Hist. Eccl. p. 449. edit. Cantab. 1720.

3 Herodotus, Euterpe; pp. 141, 142. edit. Wesseling, Amst. 1763. Diodorus Siculus, lib. i. c. 91-93. edit. Bipont.



the Egyptians mourned for Jacob threescore and ten days; that is, during the whole time in which the spices and nitre (natron) were applied to the dead body.

The funeral honours paid by the Jews to their deceased friends, particularly to persons of fortune and distinction, appear to be the following: After washing the corpse, they embalmed it, by laying all around it a large quantity of costly spices and aromatic drugs in order to imbibe and absorb the humours, and by their inherent virtues to preserve it as long as possible from putrefaction and decay. Thus we read that Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight, to perform the customary office to the dear deceased. This embalming was usually repeated for several days together, that the drugs and spices thus applied might have all their efficacy in the exsiccation of the moisture and the future conservation of the body. They then swathed the corpse in linen rollers or bandages, closely enfolding and wrapping it in that bed of aromatic drugs with which they had surrounded it. Thus we find that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and wrapt it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John xix. 40.) This custom we behold also in the Egyptian mummies, round which, Thevenot informs us, the Egyptians have sometimes used above a thousand ells of filleting, beside what was wrapped about the head. Thus, when our Lord had cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth! it is said, the dead came forth, bound hand and foot in grave clothes. (John xi. 44.) We learn from Scripture also, that about the head and face of the corpse was folded a napkin, which was a separate thing, and did not communicate with the other bandages in which the body was swathed. Thus we read, that the face of Lazarus was bound about with a napkin (John xi. 44.); and when our Lord was risen, Peter, who went into the sepulchre, saw the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that had been folded round his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wreathed together in a place by itself lying at some distance from the rollers in which his body had been swathed, and folded up, exactly in the state it was, when first wrapped round his head. (John xx. 7.)4

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

1 Matt. xxvi. 12. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my funeral, pos To evrapiacai pe, to embalm me. The word does not properly signify to bury. The note of Beza is accurate. Ad funerandum me, mpos To eνrapiacaι μe. Vulg. et Erasmus, ad me sepeliendum, malé. Nam aliud est Santer quam errapialer: ut Latinis sepelire est sepulchro condere: funerare vero pollincire, cadaver sepulchro mandandum prius curare. Beza ad Matt. xxvi. 12. Evradiacal est corpus ad funus componere, et ornamentis sepulchralibus ornare. Wetstein. in loc.

2 Habebat consuetudo, ut carissima capita, et quæ plurimi fierent cadavera, non semel tantum ungerentur, sed sæpius, pluribusque continuis diebus, donec exsiccato, et absorpto vi aromatum omni reliquo humore, immo tabefactâ carne arida, et quasi aeneâ redditâ, diu servari possent integra, et immunia a putrefactione. Lucas Brugensis in Marc. xvi.

3 Δεδεμενος—πειρίαις. Phavorinus explains Κειρια by calling them επιτάφιοι δεσμοι. sepulchral bandages. Κειρια σημαινει τα σχοινια τα εντάφια. Etymol.

4 He went into the sepulchre, and then he plainly saw the linen clothes, peva, alone, or without the body, and kepeva lying, that is, undisturbed, and at full length, as

Besides the custom of embalming persons of distinction, the Jews commonly used great burnings for their kings, made up of heaps of all sorts of aromatics, of which they made a bonfire, as a triumphant farewell to the deceased. In these they were wont to burn their bowels, their clothes, armour, and other things belonging to the deceased. Thus, it is said of Asa, that they made a very great burning for him (2 Chron. xvi. 14.), which could not be meant of his corpse in the fire, for in the same verse it is said, they buried him in his own sepulchre. This was also done at the funeral of Zedekiah. (Jer. xxxiv. 5.) And it was very probably one reason why, at the death of Jehoram, the people made no burning for him like the burning of his fathers (2 Chron. xxi. 19.), because his bowels being ulcerated by his sickness, they fell out, and to prevent the stench, were immediately interred or otherwise disposed of; so that they could not well be burnt in this pompous manner after his death; though as he was a wicked king, this ceremony might possibly have been omitted on that account also.

The burning of dead bodies in funeral piles, it is well known, was a custom prevalent among the Greeks and Romans, upon which occasion they threw frankincense, myrrh, cassia, and other fragrant articles into the fire: and this in such abundance, that Pliny represents it as a piece of profaneness, to bestow such heaps of frankincense upon a dead body, when they offered it so sparingly to their gods. And though the Jews might possibly learn from them the custom of burning the bowels, armour, and other things belonging to their kings in piles of odoriferous spices, yet they very rarely, and only for particular reasons, burnt the dead bodies themselves. We are told indeed, that the people of Jabesh-Gilead took the bodies of Saul and his sons (from the place where the Philistines had hung them up), and came to Jabesh and burnt them there (1 Sam. xxxi. 12.), but by this time their bodies must have been in such a state, that they were not fit to be embalmed; or, perhaps they were apprehensive that if they should embalm them, and so bury them, the people of Bethshan might at some future time dig them up, and fix them a second time against their walls; and therefore, the people of Jabesh might think it more advisable to recede from their common practice, and for greater security to imitate the heathen in this particular. Amos also speaks of the burning of bodies (vi. 10.); but it is evident from the words themselves, and from the context, that this was in the time of a great pestilence, not only when there were few to bury the dead, but when it was unsafe to go abroad and perform the funeral rites by interment, in which case the burning was certainly the best expedient.

In some cases the rites of sepulture were not allowed; and to this

when the body was in them. The cap, or napkin, also, which had been upon our Lord's head, he found separate, or at a little distance from the open coffin; but CVTETULYμevor folded up in wreaths, in the form of a cap, as it had been upon our Lord's head. Dr. Benson's Life of Christ, p. 524. Wrapped together in a place by itself; as if the body had miraculously slipt out of it, which indeed was the real fact. Dr. Ward's Dissertations, p. 149.

It was

it has been thought that there is an allusion in Job xxvii. 19. the opinion of the pagan Arabs that, upon the death of any person, a bird, by them called Manah, issued from the brain, which haunted the sepulchre of the deceased, uttering a lamentable scream. This notion also, the late professor Carlyle thinks is evidently alluded to in Job xxi. 32., where the venerable patriarch, speaking of the fate of the wicked, says :—

He shall be brought to the grave,
And shall watch upon the raised up heap.1

The Jews showed a great regard for the burial of their dead; to be deprived of it was thought to be one of the greatest dishonours that could be done to any man: and therefore in Scripture it is reckoned one of the calamities that should befal the wicked. (Eccles. vi. 3.) In all nations there was generally so much humanity as not to prevent their enemies from burying their dead. burying their dead. The people of Gaza allowed Sampson's relations to come and take away his body (Judg. xvi. 31.); though one would have thought that this last slaughter which he made among them, might have provoked them to some acts of outrage even upon his dead body. But as he stood alone in what he did, none of the Israelites joining with him in his enterprises, they might possibly be apprehensive, that, if they denied him burial, the God of Israel, who had given him such extraordinary strength in his life-time, would not fail to take vengeance on them in that case, and therefore they were desirous, it may be, to get rid of his body (as afterwards they were of the ark), and glad perhaps that any one would remove such a formidable object out of their sight. Jeremiah prophesied of Jehoiakim, that he should be buried with the burial of an ass (Jer. xxii. 19.), meaning, that he should not be buried at all, but cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem, exposed to the air and putrefaction above ground, as beasts are, which is more plainly expressed afterwards, by telling us, that his body should be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. (Jer. xxxvi. 30.) The author of that affecting elegy, the seventy-ninth psalm, when enumerating the calamities which had befallen his unhappy countrymen, particularly specifies the denial of the rites of sepulture, as enhancing their afflictions. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of heaven; the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. (Psal. lxxix. 2.)

V. The antients had not that indecent and unwholesome custom, which now prevails, of crowding all their dead in the midst of their towns and cities, within the narrow precincts of a place reputed sacred, much less of amassing them in the bosom of their fanes and temples. The burying places of the Romans were at a distance from their towns: and the Jews had their sepulchres in gardens, in fields, and in the sides of mountains. The graves in which they

1 Carlyle's Specimens of Arabian Poetry, p. 14. 2d edit.

2 The following description of the Tombs of the Kings (as they are termed), which are situated near the village of Gournou, on the west bank of the river Nile,

« ForrigeFortsæt »