Among the ancient Hebrews graves were outside of cities in the open field ( Luke 7:12 ; John 11:30 ). Kings ( 1 Kings 2:10 ) and prophets ( 1 Samuel 25:1 ) were generally buried within cities. Graves were generally grottoes or caves, natural or hewn out in rocks ( Isaiah 22:16 ; Matthew 27:60 ). There were family cemeteries ( Genesis 47:29 ; 50:5 ; 2 Sam 19:37 ). Public burial-places were assigned to the poor ( Jeremiah 26:23 ; 2 Kings 23:6 ). Graves were usually closed with stones, which were whitewashed, to warn strangers against contact with them ( Matthew 23:27 ), which caused ceremonial pollution ( Numbers 19:16 ).
There were no graves in Jerusalem except those of the kings, and according to tradition that of the prophetess Huldah.