Holy Week #9: Did Joseph of Arimathea actually give up his own tomb for Jesus to be buried in?

A rich man’s tomb was quite large compared to a western sepulchre that has room for just one body. In Joseph’s tomb, the dead body was laid out on a stone bench in the tomb and was wrapped in linen with spices. The spices helped speed up decaying process.

(above: a bone box, or ossuary, that bones would be placed in)

The body would lay on the bench for up to a year, until all the flesh had decomposed. When only the bones were left, they would be taken and placed into a bone box, or ossuary, to conserve space. The ossuary would then be placed in various cubicles in the tomb. A family tomb like Joseph of Arimathea’s would have been able to hold many, many ossuaries of his family members and descendents. Therefore, he would have considered it an honor to have Jesus share his tomb with him.