Three Modes of Embalming
Genesis 50:1-13
And Joseph fell on his father's face, and wept on him, and kissed him.

1. If the most expensive mode, estimated at one talent of silver, or about £250, was employed, the brain was first taken out through the nostrils, partly with an iron (or bronze) hook, and partly by the infusion of drugs; then an appointed dissector made with a sharp Ethiopian stone, a deep incision (generally about five inches long) in the left side, at a part before marked out by a scribe; but having scarcely performed this operation, he hastily fled, persecuted by those present with stones and imprecations, as one who was guilty of the heinous crime of violently mutilating the body of a fellow-man. Then one of the embalmers, holy men, who lived in the society of the priests, and enjoyed unreserved access to the temples, extracted through the incision all intestines, except the kidneys and the heart; every part of the viscera was spiced, rinsed with palm-wine, and sprinkled with pounded perfumes. The body was next filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and other aromatics, with the exception of frankincense; sewed up, and steeped in natrum during seventy days, after the expiration of which period it was washed, and wrapped in bandages of linen cloth covered with gum. By this procedure all the parts of the body, even the hair of the eyebrows and eyelids, were admirably preserved, and the very features of the countenance remained unaltered.

2. The cost of the second mode of embalming amounted to twenty mince, or about; £81. No incision was made, nor were the bowels taken out; but the body was, by means of syringes, filled with oil of cedar at the abdomen, and steeped in natrum for seventy days. When the oil was let out, the intestines and vitals came out in a state of dissolution, while the natrum consumed the flesh, so that nothing of the body remained except the skin and the bones; and this skeleton was returned to the relatives of the deceased. The possibility of an injection, as here described, without the aid of incisions, has been doubted; and, in some cases, incisions have indeed been observed near the rectum.

3. A third and very cheap method, employed for the poorer classes, consisted merely in thoroughly rinsing the abdomen with syrmaea, a purgative liquor (perhaps composed of an infusion of senna and cassia), and then steeping the body in natrum for the usual seventy days.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

WEB: Joseph fell on his father's face, wept on him, and kissed him.

The Honour Paid to the Departed Jacob
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