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Verses 38-42

Mark 5:38-42. He seeth the tumult The crowd of people that wept and wailed greatly Greek αλαλαζοντας πολλα , howling much, as some render the word. “From several passages of Scripture, (see Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 16:6-7; Ezekiel 24:17,) it appears that the people of the East used to bewail the dead by tearing their hair, and cutting their flesh, and crying most bitterly. Nor did the relations of the deceased content themselves with these expressions of violent grief. They hired persons of both sexes, whose employment it was to mourn over the dead in the like frantic manner, and who besides sung doleful ditties, in which honourable mention was made of the age, the beauty, the strength, the courage, the virtues, and the actions of the deceased, with an intention to increase the sorrow of the afflicted relations. In process of time they accompanied these lamentations with music, particularly of flutes, (Josephus, Bell., Mark 3:8,) a custom which prevailed likewise in the West. Ovid, Fast., lib. 6, Cantabant mæstis tibia funeribus. But the Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh in mourning for the dead, (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1,) because such expressions of grief were inconsistent with resignation to the divine will, and looked as if they had no hope of their friends’ resurrection. Hence the apostle’s precept, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Sorrow not as others which have no hope. Besides, these rites were practised by the heathen, as a kind of sacrifices to the manes of the dead.” Macknight.

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