Graves of the Hebrews

The usual Jewish custom of graves were rock-hewn sepulchers on the hill side. The graves were sometimes mere cavities, dug out of the earth, natural caves or grottoes, artificial tombs hewn out in the rock, provided with galleries and chambers with the preference given to places outside the city. The rich had no doubt, family burying places, while the poorer classes would have their public ones. Flat stones laid upon graves had upon them a marking to warn passers-by lest they should contract uncleanness by touching the grave. For this end also the tombs were whitewashed every year on the 15th of Adar.

Tombs were the express dwelling-place of demons in the Jewish belief. When a man spends the night in a graveyard, an evil spirit descends upon him. Daimonia were expressly supposed to be spirits of the wicked dead. Situated either on the outskirts of inhabited places or not far, the Christians often inscribed the Alpha and Omega letters upon their tombs as the symbol of their hope; sometimes alone, but more frequently combined with the monogram of Christ in various forms.
[309, 324, 377, BD]

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