350. Hebrew Mode of Burial

2 Kings 13:21
2 Kings 13:2121And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. (2 Kings 13:21). It came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
To understand this text fully, it is necessary to remember that among the Israelites the dead were not buried in coffins as with us. The Egyptians sometimes used coffins, (see note on Genesis 50:2626So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:26), #102) but the Israelites, who brought many Egyptian customs with them into Palestine, did not adopt this custom. They wrapped their dead in linen cloths and laid them in the tomb. See note on John 19:4040Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John 19:40) (#822). Thus the man mentioned in the text was about to be buried when his friends saw the Moabites. Seeing that they could not reach the grave prepared for him without being perceived by the enemy, they quickly rolled away the stone from Elisha’s sepulcher, near which they were, and put the corpse there. As there was no coffin for either body, the body of the newly dead could easily touch the bones of the buried prophet.