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Bible Dictionaries

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Mourn

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Frequent references are found in Scripture to,
  • Mourning for the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Genesis 23:2 ); Jacob for Joseph (37:34,35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-10); Israel for Aaron (Numbers 20:29 ), for Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8 ), and for Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1 ); David for Abner (2 Samuel 3:31,35 ); Mary and Martha for Lazarus (John 11 ); devout men for Stephen (Acts 8:2 ), etc.

  • For calamities, (Job 1:20,21 ; 2:8 ); Israel (Exodus 33:4 ); the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5 ); Israel, when defeated by Benjamin (Judges 20:26 ), etc.

  • Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the day of atonement (Leviticus 23:27 ; Acts 27:9 ); under Samuel's ministry (1 Samuel 7:6 ); predicted in Zechariah (Zechariah 12:10,11 ); in many of the psalms (51, etc.).

    Mourning was expressed, (1) by weeping (Genesis 35:8 , marg.; Luke 7:38 , etc.); (2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9 ; 1 Samuel 6:19 ; 2 Samuel 3:31 ); (3) by the disfigurement of the person, as rending the clothes (Genesis 37:29,34 ; Matthew 26:65 ), wearing sackcloth (Genesis 37:34 ; Psalm 35:13 ), sprinkling dust or ashes on the person (2 Samuel 13:19 ; Jeremiah 6:26 ; Job 2:12 ), shaving the head and plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Leviticus 10:6 ; Job 1:20 ), neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Exodus 33:4 ; Deuteronomy 21:12,13 ; 2 Samuel 14:2 ; 19:24 ; Matthew 6:16,17 ), fasting (2 Samuel 1:12 ), covering the upper lip (Leviticus 13:45 ; Micah 3:7 ), cutting the flesh (Jeremiah 16:6,7 ), and sitting in silence (Judges 20:26 ; 2 Samuel 12:16 ; 13:31 ; Job 1:20 ).

    In the later times we find a class of mourners who could be hired to give by their loud lamentation the external tokens of sorrow (2 Chronicles 35:25 ; Jeremiah 9:17 ; Matthew 9:23 ).

    The period of mourning for the dead varied. For Jacob it was seventy days (Genesis 50:3 ); for Aaron (Numbers 20:29 ) and Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8 ) thirty days; and for Saul only seven days (1 Samuel 31:13 ). In 2 Samuel 3:31-35 , we have a description of the great mourning for the death of Abner.


  • Copyright Statement
    These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Mourn'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ebd/m/mourn.html. 1897.

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