In the Gospels
, the empty tomb
is the first sign of the resurrection
of Jesus Christ
. When certain of Christ's female followers go to the tomb in which his body was laid after the crucifixion
, they discover his body gone and young men or angels waiting within to tell them that he is risen from the dead. In the Gospel of Mark
the discovery of the empty tomb is described like this:
- Mark 16:4. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun ... 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen: he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee...
There may be a play on words here. Christ came from Galilee (Hebrew
גליל), a hilly region of northern Palestine that took its name from the Hebrew
, "to roll, to go round". At the end of his life, he is crucified at Golgotha, the Aramaic form of the Hebrew גלגלת, gulgoleth
, "a round, rolling thing or skull", also from gaalal
, "the stone was rolled away" is αποκεκυλισται ο λιθος ην, apokekylistai ho lithos en
. The same verb is used here in the Septuagint
, an ancient Jewish translation of the Old Testament into Greek:
- Genesis 29:10. ... Jacob went near, and rolled [apekylisen] the stone from the well's mouth...
- Proverbs 26:27. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth [ho kylion] a stone, it will return upon him.
In the original Hebrew, the verb in both cases is gaalal
, and in the New Testament
there may be a play on Galilee, Golgotha, and gaalal