After death, a body was washed (Acts 9:37) and anointed (Mark 16:1) and wrapped in cloth (Matt. 27:59) and was then transported on a bier in a procession (2 Sam. 3:31; Luke 7:14), possibly accompanied by professional mourners (Amos 5:16). Burial as soon as possible was important (Deut. 21:23). The place of burial would be outside the inhabited area (Luke 7:12) in a grave (Gen. 35:8) or cave (Gen. 23:19), or a tomb cut out of rock in a garden (John 19:41–2), sometimes whitewashed to be visible at night, as a safeguard against being defiled by accidental contact (Matt. 23:27). Neither cremation nor embalming was practised by the Hebrews.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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