[quote="Huiou_Theou, post:14, topic:288398"]
In the RKV, it does not say a stone hewn tomb ... although, in likeness to Jesus, he is placed in something similar; It says:
"John 11:34 Where have you laid him? he asked. Lord, they said to him, come and see."
Strange, that Lazarus were really rich -- with his own garden and tomb -- that Jesus wouldn't know where he was. He did know and love Lazarus specially.
"John 11:38 So Jesus, once more sighing to himself, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone had been placed over the mouth of it."
The word immediately after tomb -- is a contradistinction word, the most common (literal) translation of the word is "But";
biblos.com says the word is "moreover", which is less often used -- but acceptable. The "cave" comment is used to clarify that Lazarus' burial wasn't a glorious tomb ... but something different than the word tomb might signify.
I am wondering if this tomb is more of a common catacomb; for I don't suppose it was special like the rich man's tomb which Jesus was laid in -- although the rock laid in front of Lazarus' cave is a more decorative kind of rock. (Lithos.)
Often, Lepers lived in wild places -- in Caves, even. This might even been where he lived up and until he died?
At the time of Jesus, there were at least two popular modes of burial: the method more popular with the poorer classes - which of course in those days meant the majority of the population - and some groups such as the Qumran community involved burying the body of the deceased (sometimes placed in a wooden coffin) in a trench grave, not unlike modern day grave cuts. After the pit was filled in, the grave was marked either by erecting a headstone or a pile of rocks at one or both ends, or simply pouring a mixture of lime/chalk and water over the backfill, so that people would recognize the presence of a burial - and thus avoid accidentally passing through it and becoming ritually impure as a result. Given the inconspicuous and highly flimsy nature of this type of grave, relatively few examples of this type of burial survives in the archaeological record.
For those who could afford to make and/or own one meanwhile, the other option was a burial cave, either natural or man-made (completely man-made burial complexes were apparently more rare and costly than natural caverns), which were family affairs, unlike the individual trench graves: the bones of generations upon generations could all be interred in a single cave. The basic design of these rock-cut tombs consists of a square or rectangular room with benches on three sides of the chamber, leaving a pit in the middle, and a low, narrow doorway which could be closed with a blocking stone, which could be either a round disk which could be rolled over the entrance, or more commonly, square/rectangular 'plug-type' stones). Some tombs could be more elaborate - for instance, having multiple chambers, decorated with carvings, and whatnot. Around the time of Jesus you also had tombs with shelves cut into the walls of the interior: one type of shelf is called the arcosolia, which has a bench-like aperture (known as an arcosolium) with an arched ceiling hewn into the length of the wall. Another is the loculus or kokh, a narrow shaft running perpendicularly back from the chamber wall.
In this scenario, the body of the deceased would usually first be laid on the bench, a shelf (arcosolium) or on a niche (kokh) inside the burial chamber and left there, allowing the flesh to rot (the Jews did not practice embalming) until it has totally decomposed - something which is usually considered to occur within the space of a year. Sometimes the body could even be placed on a sort of coffin when it is placed on the shelf. This is what is known as primary burial. At the following year, once the flesh had decomposed, family members would return to the tomb and practice the continuation of the funerary rite known as secondary burial, which involves taking the bones and reinterring it in some way, either by depositing it in a specially-designated area somewhere inside the tomb or - more common at the time of Jesus - in stone boxes called ossuaries, which would then be also placed on a certain spot inside the burial chamber, in the loculi or on the benches.
Single-chamber tomb from Herodian period, located at Gilo, Jerusalem, shown with (square) blocking stone
Single-chamber tomb (Tomb of Caiaphas) from Herodian period with kokhim, located at Jerusalem, Peace Forest
Tomb with the corpse in an arcosolium and ossuaries on shelf and loculi
Kokhim atop benches
The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where Jesus was buried, a newly-hewn tomb (Matthew 27:60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41), would have probably looked like this. You can notice that only the benches are present: the first stage in tomb construction is the cutting out of the chamber with the benches on three sides. Other chambers and niches and shelves could then be added.
BTW, archaeologists have recently found the tomb of a 1st century man in Jerusalem who was afflicted with leprosy and tuberculosis, but was clearly a man of means - for one, our man was buried in an ornamented burial cave, had a well-groomed (no traces of lice), short-cropped hair, was apparently buried in burial cloths of some quality, and was buried close to other tombs of importance, notably the tomb of Annas/Ananus (cf. Josephus, War 5.506). Given the nature of the diseases however, the man's family did not return to practice secondary burial, but left him lying inside the tomb's kokh (which was where his bones and the fragments of his burial shroud were found) and apparently had the entrance to the tomb completely sealed with plaster.