The world of the Bible is full of symbolism that modern readers at times notice and do not appreciate, but very often miss entirely. People’s customs, traditions, and folkways about most ordinary matters of life often reflect deep into their spiritual thinking. But our own culture obscures that and may not even allow us to notice those meanings. Take death and mourning customs, for example. They are so unique from culture to culture.
In some societies, people burn the bodies of their dead and reduce them to ashes. Other groups shun such practices. Some cultures preserve their dead, embalming the bodies, prolonging the farewell. Other cultures rush to bury those who died as soon as possible. Some cultures touch, kiss, and hug the dead and want to keep the bodies of the deceased close to them, even in their house. Other cultures do not touch dead bodies and distance themselves from the corpses.
Some people groups have open casket ceremonies large sums on exotic woods and elaborate finishes on the burial caskets. Other people prefer to bury the dead in a shroud and never wish to look at the face of the deceased. How people mourn the dead is so different and it depends on societal values and beliefs about death and the afterlife. In the ancient times described in the Bible, the folkways were also very diverse from one people group to another.