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Bury or Burn?

The English word "bury" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word which meant to protect or to shelter (the English word burrow originated from the same root word). Humans bury many things to shelter them, whether an ancient pirate's "buried treasure" or a modern-day telecommunications cable. Humans also bury their dead, the first Biblical reference of which was made by the LORD to Abraham (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'):

"15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age." (Genesis 15:15 KJV)

Later, the first recorded land purchase in the Bible was when Abraham purchased a grave site for his wife Sarah (see Abram and Sarai) - a tomb that eventually became the burial place for all of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob/Israel and Leah (see The Tombs Of Hebron):

"23:17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 23:18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth [see Hittites], before all that went in at the gate of his city. 23:19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 23:17-19 KJV)

"So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"

While burial is not necessary for the coming resurrection (see What Happened To Tonto?), whenever choice was possible, people of Bible History were buried, not burned - perhaps because they were aware that being physically reduced to ashes is the coming end of the wicked (see They Shall Be Ashes).

A few examples of Biblical burial:

Sheol

"35:8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth." (Genesis 35:8 KJV)

"35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem." (Genesis 35:19 KJV)

"20:1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there." (Numbers 20:1 KJV)

"33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them [see The LORD Of Passover]: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments." (Numbers 33:4 KJV)

"10:6 And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron [see Aaron: The Prophet's Prophet] died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead." (Deuteronomy 10:6 KJV)

"34:5 So Moses [see Palace Prince To Sinai Shepherd and Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?] the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 34:6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." (Deuteronomy 34:5 KJV)

"24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash." (Joshua 24:29-30 KJV)

"24:32 And the bones of Joseph [see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph], which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph." (Joshua 24:32 KJV)

"24:33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim." (Joshua 24:33 KJV)

"8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." (Judges 8:32 KJV)

"16:30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. 16:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years." (Judges 16:30-31 KJV)

"25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah." (1 Samuel 25:1 KJV)

"2:10 So David slept [see What Happens When You Die?] with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David." (1 Kings 2:10 KJV)

Jesus Christ was buried.

"26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial." (Matthew 26:12 KJV; see The Farewell Dinner At Bethany)

"12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be Three Days and Three Nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40 KJV)

Fact Finder: How are graves a place of "hell"?
See Where Is Hell? and Through The Gates Of Hell


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