The Message audio Bible is now available on Bible Gateway! Click to learn more.
Among the ancient Hebrews graves were outside of cities in the open field (Luke 7:12; John 11:30). Kings (1 Kings 2:10) and prophets (1 Sam. 25:1) were generally buried within cities. Graves were generally grottoes or caves, natural or hewn out in rocks (Isa. 22:16; Matt. 27:60). There were family cemeteries (Gen. 47:29; 50:5; 2 Sam. 19:37). Public burial-places were assigned to the poor (Jer. 26:23; 2 Kings 23:6). Graves were usually closed with stones, which were whitewashed, to warn strangers against contact with them (Matt. 23:27), which caused ceremonial pollution (Num. 19:16).
There were no graves in Jerusalem except those of the kings, and according to tradition that of the prophetess Huldah.