From the time the death wail is heard, until the burial takes place, relatives and friends continue their lamentation. The prophet Micah compares it to the cry of wild beasts or birds: "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls" (Micah 1:8). Such lamentation was in the house of Jairus when JESUS entered it: "And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly" (Mark 5:38).
In connection with the lamentations, there are apt to be certain exclamations of sorrow used. David mourned over the death of Absalom: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (II Samuel 18:33). Certain words are repeated over and over again. The exclamations concerning the disobedient prophet who died, were: "Alas, my brother!" And in mourning the death of a king, the words were used, "Ah lord!" and "Ah his glory!" (Jeremiah 22:18).
The Hebrew prophets mention professional mourners, who were called in at the time of sorrow to express mourning for the dead. "Call for the mourning women, that they may come; . . . and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us" (Jeremiah 9:17, 18). Another reference is to "such as are skillful of lamentation" (Amos 5:16). The presence of such a group of mourners hired for the occasion seems out of place to the Occidental mind; but certainly such professional wailers are no more lacking in helpfulness to the Easterner than are nonreligious professional singers at a Western funeral service. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]