When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. Bible see other translations

“she lamented over her husband.” 2 Samuel 11:26 is saying that Bathsheba openly and publicly wept and wailed over her husband. The Hebrew word translated “lament” is saphad (#05594 סָפַד) and in general, it refers to the more public lamentation and crying and wailing than the word 'ebel (#0060 אֵבֶל), which is used in 2 Samuel 11:27 and is translated “mourning.” Although the words may sometimes be used synonymously, generally saphad refers to the outward and public lamentation that occurred when someone died, while 'ebel refers to the longer and more personal mourning that occurs in a person’s mind and heart after someone dies, although especially with women in the biblical culture, it was common to wear clothing that indicated that the person was mourning the death of a loved one.

In the ancient biblical world there were women who were professional mourners, who would come to a funeral and loudly weep and wail, and often speak various laments (cp. Jer. 9:17). Those women helped draw the emotion of loss out of the people present. In the biblical world of the Jews, a person’s dead body was buried the same day the person died, and death often came quickly and unexpectedly. That meant that it often happened that there was no time to inform the extended family and gather them for the funeral, which could mean that some funerals did not have many family members present. But it was customary and considered important to make a loud weeping and wailing when someone died to demonstrate one’s feeling of loss and make a kind of tribute to the dead person. The professional mourners helped with the serious and sad tone of the funeral. Also, when other people at the funeral cried, it was easier for family members to feel the emotion and cry too. All this contributed to there being professional mourners, women, who would loudly cry and lament the death of the person. It also meant that the culture had a word for the loud, public lamentation at the funeral or announcement of someone’s death, and a different word for the internal mourning in the heart of a person who had lost a loved one. Here in 2 Samuel 11:26-27 we see both aspects: the lament and then the mourning. It is also worth noting that if there were musicians available that could help with the sad emotional tone, they might come to, as we see at the funeral of Jairus’ twelve-year-old daughter (Matt. 9:23).

The crowd that came to the house of Jairus when his daughter died would have had professional mourners in it, and that is part of the reason that crowd could go from “crying and wailing loudly” (Mark 5:38) to laughing out loud (Mark 5:40) so very quickly (cp. Mark 5:38-40).

Commentary for: 2 Samuel 11:26