The intent of the following article is to dig a little bit deeper into Jewish burial customs of the 1st Century.
I realized that understanding these customs in a proper manner will also clarify our understanding of the reports of the Gospels. In addition, it will shed more light on the way Yeshua was buried.
The burial: a sacred duty in Jewish customs
The Old Testament abounds in examples proving that it was a sacred duty for Jewish people to bury their dead. We also know that, due to the Middle Eastern climate, people had to be taken to rest normally on the very day of their death, because corpses decomposed very rapidly.
It was also viewed as shameful for a family to leave one of their deceased members for days without burying him.
“Then the men of Y’huda came, and they anointed David king over the house of Y’hudah. They informed David that the men of Yavesg-Gil’ad were the ones who had buried Sha’ul. So David sent messengers to the men of Yevesh-Gil’ad with this message: “May you be blessed by Adonai because you showed this kindness to your Lord Sha’ul and buried him. Now may Adonai show kindness and truth to you; and I too will show you favor because you have done this.”
2 Samuel 2-4
How people were laid to rest
The Gospels teach us HOW people were laid to rest.
For instance John 11:44 and John 19:40 provide very clear details about the way people were dressed for a burial.
“The man who had died came out, and feet bound in his graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Yeshua told them: ” Unwrap him and let him go.” John 11:44
“They took the body of Yeshua and bound it in linen cloths with the spices as the burial customs of the Jews.” John 19:40
What we must consider about crucifixion
- crucifixion is a curse, it is defined as such in the Torah…a man hanged on a tree is cursed.
The Torah gives precise indications about handling a crucified person’s burial:
” And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23
In short, what do the verses of Deuteronomy mean regarding Yeshua’s crucifixion? They CLEARLY mean that Yeshua took the curse by God our Father for OUR sins.
- crucified people would be mocked by Romans, who would often write some kind of sarcastic epitaph on their cross.
- Pilate considered Yeshua to be innocent, otherwise he would have denied Joseph of Arimathea his demand. Without allies within the Sanhedrin, Yeshua’s dead body could have ended up in the common grave.
The story of 21 year old Yehohanan, who lived in the 1st Century will teach you a lot about crucifixion and crucifixion methods used by the Romans.
What the Shroud teaches us about Yeshua’s burial
Yeshua’s burial cloths are composed of 2 parts
part 2: Shroud of Turin
part 1: Sudarium of Oviedo ( napkin)
Scientific research has proven that the blood found on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo belong to the same person, who wore a Crown of thorns ( or rather a helmet of thorns), suffered scourging and crucifixion as described in detail in the Gospels. The Face of the Shroud also confirms what we know from the Gospels: Yeshua was blindfolded and punched in his eyes.
“After blindfolding Him, they kept asking, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” Luke 22:64
Parts of Yeshua’s beard are missing, which is also fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy:
“I gave my back to those who strike me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard: I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6
The Shroud of Turin gives testimony to the world that our Messiah Yeshua is our Passover lamb, whose body has been made a bread of affliction ( a matza) for our Salvation.
Only one person corresponds to this description: Yeshua our Messiah.
Funnily skeptics always base their attacks of the Shroud on the fact that it is one linen piece, willingly ignoring the existence of the Sudarium of Oviedo. The Shroud of Turin does NOT contradict the stories of the Gospels, it confirms the written testimony of the disciples in an astounding way.
The body of Yeshua: washed or unwashed?
Before even arguing if the Man of the Shroud was washed or unwashed we need to understand what Jewish burial customs in the 1st Century imply:
- If the person died a regular death, there is an obligation to wash and anoint the body with spices and perfumes before the person gets laid to rest.
- In the case of violent death ( which is the case for the Man of the Shroud), body will be laid to rest AS IS.
Again, detractors of the Shroud often speak by ignorance.
However, the fact that the Man of the Shroud’s body had been unwashed made me stumble upon an apparent issue: didn’t the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John mention the use of spices and perfumes?
What was that supposed to mean? I broke my head over this issue and asked my friend David Hines, the Shroud researcher, to come to rescue.
David shared his opinion ( that is based on forensic facts that have been proven by several pathologists and Shroud experts).
David came to the conclusion that the body of the Man of the Shroud was washed to some degree. Is this contradictory? Not at all.
You will judge by yourself as I am sharing his words with you all. I do trust David, not only because of his expertise, but especially because he deeply loves our Lord. David spends much time with our Lord daily and also received some insights from Him.
“First I do not believe Nicodemus purchased about a 100lb weight of myrrh and aloes to be used on a dead person.
Meaning he DID NOT buy myrrh and aloes to be used in a burial. That was not his plan.
But to use on a living Jesus. I believe he purchased the myrrh and aloes to treat scourge wounds thinking Jesus would be scourged and released as would be routine procedure.
A prisoner is NOT scourged and crucified. One or the other, not both. If what happened to the Man in the Shroud was routine procedure the Romans would have been nailing dead corpses to the crosses.
Jesus/Yeshua is scourged and crucified. That does not make sense.
I believe Nicodemus knew how brutal the scourging was and perhaps even witnessed it and purchased the myrrh and aloes to treat scourge wounds. Myrrh resin was used in war to cover battle wounds. It is a antiseptic.
It is not typically used in a Jewish burial that I know of. Certainly not in that excess.
Myrrh and aloes in a burial? That does not make sense. What makes sense it that it was purchased to treat scourge wounds. That is exactly what one would purchase to treat scourge wounds. Aloes for the skin and myrrh would be the perfect purchase to property heal from the brutal scourging.
I believe Nicodemus having purchased the myrrh and aloes on his behalf brought them to the burial not thinking they would ever be used in a burial but ended up being used in the burial. Since he bought them for Jesus may as well give them to him type thinking.
Like Dr. Frederick Zugibe I believe the body was washed to some degree, meaning myrrh and aloes just poured over the body and nothing more. As a act of purification. Myrrh resin was used in purification rites.
I honesty believe that, I can almost picture it, myrrh and aloes being poured over the body.
In doing this it did not wash all the blood off, but dirt and perhaps sweat. So I believe to some degree, a minor degree the body was washed, Myrrh and aloes poured over the body but not scrubbed down or blood removed.
Myrrh resin is like tree sap, it would preserve the blood on the linen. And there is a thin coat of carbohydrates over the Shroud linen, the chemcial properties of that carb layer match the chemical properties of myrrh and aleos. .I wrote a paper on it that I will send.
Dr. Baima Bollone found myrrh and aloes in the blood by antibody antigen testing. He is a very respected forensic pathologist and had blood samples from the Shroud and performed numerous tests over many years and wrote a book about it. He also examined the blood from the Sudarium.
As for the women I believe they came with perfumes. Nothing to wash the body. Fragrance only.
Myrrh by itself is not really a good fragrance. it is base for perfumes,. when mixed with frankincense makes for a perfume.
Women bought perfume because none was used at the burial.
I spent a lot of time with the Lord on this. I know I am right.
How does one define the word “washed” that is a very vague term. For the most part I believe the blood stayed with the body, with perhaps some loss of the blood when myrrh and aloes were poured over the body. Bear in mind aloes are 90% water.”
The following study proves that RULE Nr2 ( see above) was applied for the Man of the Shroud.
Not only is the second point still applied in contemporary Jewish burial customs, it also fully proves without a doubt that the Man of the Shroud is a Jewish person.
The sign of Jonas- why Yeshua probably wasn’t buried on a Friday: meaning of ” Erev Shabbat”
“But He answered them: ” An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to except the sign of the prophet Jonah” Matthew 12:39
Why is it important to know if Yeshua fulfilled the prophecy of the Sign of Jonas?
It is a detail of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE because this is the sign Yeshua promised to His generation, so we would recognize that He is the Messiah.
If Yeshua actually died on a Friday and was resurrected on a Sunday morning, we have bad maths here, that’s two nights and a half inside of the tomb, not three days and three nights, in the same way the prophet Jonas remained in the fish’s belly.
A lot of people think that the term ” erev Shabbat”, the eve of Shabbat only refers to Friday evening. Rather the contrary is true. Not only is “Shabbat” used to describe the resting day, it is ALSO used to describe any feast for Adonai such as Pesakh or Sukkot.
Nowhere in the Gospels, it is specified that Yeshua actually died on a Friday. Yeshua died before Shabbat, but this Shabbat could have been any day of the week.
The following study will help you understand the right timing in Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
May the Spirit of Adonai help you understand the importance of Yeshua’s words and the fulfillement of His prophecies.
May you understand that, if after 2000 years, the piece of linen that we call “Shroud of Turin” is still there, its purpose is not for you to worship it, but it truly testifies of the Resurrection of our Lord.
The details of our Lord’s suffering are encrypted for you to remember the HIGH PRICE Yeshua paid for your sins.
May you come to repentance and be saved in His powerful Name. Amen.
Copyright© by Isabelle Esling