ioo PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
with trough graves, gives access to a large chamber containing shelf graves. The roofs f
the chambers are cut into the shape of a flat, shallow dome.
Great numbers of sarcophagi have been found in the vicinity of Jerusalem, some of wl ' h
bear inscriptions of high interest and Christian symbols. On a few the sicm of the m*
t> l Liit, cross is
found associated with names written in Hebrew. The names are such as are found in th
Gospels, written in their popular and local Syro-Chaldaic forms. Amongst them are Salom
Judah, Simeon son,of Jesus, Martha, and Eleazar (Lazarus).
There are a few tombs mentioned in the Bible and Josephus which cannot be passed
unnoticed ; and first in interest and sacred association is that in which for a brief while our
Lord lay. It was a new tomb, " wherein never man before was laid," which had I
prepared for himself, and possibly his family also, by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and
"an honourable councillor," or member of the Sanhedrim. It was hewn out of the rock and
its mouth was closed by a "very great" stone that could be "rolled away," and upon which
the angel could sit. It was, moreover, a tomb in which the place where the body lay could
be seen from the outside by a person stooping down and looking in through the entrance.
" And the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre; and he stoopino-
down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in." Taking these things
into consideration, we may almost be justified in assuming that Joseph's tomb was one of the
second class, that is, a square, finely finished, rock-hewn chamber with kokim, a rock bench
beneath the kokim for the anointment of the body, and a doorway closed by a circular stone
similar to one which has been found at the Tombs of the Kings.
The next tombs of interest are those of David and of the Kings of Judah, which were
probably large sepulchral chambers hewn in the rock. There would appear to have been
several tombs, the chiefest of which was David's tomb or, as the catacomb seems to have been
called, "the sepulchres of the kings." Many of the kings were buried "with their fathers,"
that is in David's Tomb, in the City of David ; whilst of others, Joash and Jehoram for
instance, we are told that they are buried in the City of David " but not in the sepulchres of
the kings." Burial in the sepulchres of the kings was apparently considered a mark of
honour. Josephus states that the high priest Jehoiada was buried in them " because he had
recovered the kingdom to the family of David ; " and that Joash was not buried in them on
account of his impiety. According to the Jewish historian, David's Tomb, or at least one of
the tomb chambers, was opened by Hyrcanus, who took from it three thousand talents ; a
second chamber was afterwards opened by Herod, who took out " furniture of gold ana
precious jewels," but two of the guards having been slain by fire, the tomb was closed anc a
propitiatory monument built at its mouth. St. Peter, speaking of David's death, says, " and itt
sepulchre is with us unto this day." There is thus no doubt that the position of Davids Tomb
was well known up to the date of the destruction of Jerusalem.
All the principal tombs at Jerusalem are cut in the thick bed of limestone called " malaki,
which is extremely easy to quarry, and the natural inference is that David's Tomb was