Does Ecclesiastes 6:3 Speak of the Importance of a Burial?

November 18, 2023 — Leave a comment

Does the Bible teach that having a burial is important? Scripture has much to say about that issue, including a key statement by Solomon:

Ecclesiastes 6:3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.

Although Ecclesiastes 6:3 speaks explicitly about not having a burial as a very bad thing, some believers today hold that the verse is not talking about having a burial per se. Rather, they hold that the verse is teaching about the importance of not having a funeral and not necessarily the importance of a person’s not being buried.

Lamenting and Mourning Distinguished from Being Buried

Examining the following passages that speak about burial shows us that this interpretation is wrong because all the passages distinguish lamenting and mourning for the dead loved one, which is typically a very important part of funerals, from burying that loved one:

Gen. 50:7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt . . . 10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days . . . 13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

1 Sam. 25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

1 Sam. 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

2 Sam. 3:32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.

2 Sam. 3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?

2 Chr. 35:24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

2 Chr. 35:25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.

Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Moreover, other passages clearly distinguish lamenting and mourning for dead people from burying them by revealing that none of these proper actions that are distinct from one another would be done for them:

Jer. 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

Jer. 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies. 6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:

Jer. 25:33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.

Conclusion

Scripture plainly teaches us that burying someone is distinct from lamenting and mourning his death. Based on what all these passages teach, Ecclesiastes 6:3 does not speak (merely) of how bad it is for a person to not have a funeral—it greatly stresses just how bad it is for a person not in actuality to be buried!


See also my post Three Reasons Why Cremation Is Unbiblical

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Rajesh

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Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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