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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Mourning

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Noisy, violent, and demonstrative in the East as it is among the Irish, Highlanders, and Welsh; beating the breast or the thigh (Ezekiel 21:12), cutting the flesh (Jeremiah 16:6), weeping with a loud cry, wearing dark colored garments, hiring women as professional mourners (Ecclesiastes 12:5; Matthew 9:23; Amos 5:16),"skillful in lamentation" (Jeremiah 9:17), singing elegies, having funeral feasts and the cup of consolation (Jeremiah 16:7-8). It was an occasion of studied publicity and ceremonial; so Abraham for Sarah (Genesis 23:2), Jacob for Joseph (Genesis 37:34-35), Joseph and the Egyptians for Jacob 70 days and a further period of seven (Genesis 50:3-10), Israel for Aaron 80 days (Numbers 20:29), and for Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8). Jabesh Gileadites for Saul fasted seven days (1 Samuel 31:13); David for Abner with fasting, rent clothes, and sackcloth, and with an elegy (2 Samuel 3:81-89).

Job for his calamities, with rent mantle, shaven head, sitting in ashes; so the three friends with dust upon their heads, etc., seven days and nights (Job 1:20-21; Job 2:8). In the open streets and upon the housetops (Isaiah 15:2-3); stripping off ornaments (Exodus 33:4); stripping the foot and some other part of the body (Isaiah 20:2). Penitent mourning was often expressed by fasting, so that the words are interchanged as synonymous (Matthew 9:15), and the day of atonement, when they "afflicted their souls," is called "the fast" (Acts 27:9; Leviticus 23:27; Israel, 1 Samuel 7:6; Nineveh, Jonah 3:5; the Jews when hereafter turning to Messiah, Zechariah 12:10-11). Exclusion from share in the sacrificial peace offerings (Leviticus 7:20), Covering the upper lip and the head, in token of silence: Leviticus 13:45, the leper; 2 Samuel 15:30, David. The high priest and Nazarites were not to go into mourning for even father or mother or children (Leviticus 21:10-11; Numbers 6:7).

So Aaron in the case of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:2-6); Ezekiel for his wife (Ezekiel 24:16-18); "the bread of men" is that usually brought to mourners by friends in sympathy. The lower priests only for nearest relatives (Leviticus 21:1-4). Antitypically, the gospel work is to take precedence of all ties (Luke 9:59-60): "let me first go and bury my father" means, let me wait at home until he die and, I bury him. The food eaten in mourning was considered impure (Deuteronomy 26:14; Hosea 9:4). The Jews still wail weekly, each Friday, at Jerusalem, in a spot below the temple wall, where its two courses of masonry (with blocks 30 ft. long) meet. (See JERUSALEM.) On the open flagged place, which they sweep with care as holy ground, taking off their shoes, they bewail the desolation of their holy places (Psalms 102:14; Psalms 137:5-6; Isaiah 63:15-19). Mourning shall cease forever to God's people when Christ shall return (Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 35:10).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Mourning'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/m/mourning.html. 1949.

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