Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (Jewish Law) says to bury the corpses of those crucified (before sunset).1 This is relevant because Jews considered the demands of Jewish Law to be morally obligatory.
So? Couldn’t it simply be that…
• …Jews didn’t obey Dt 21 by the 1st century?2
• …Jews only applied Dt 21 to hanging corpses on crosses?
11Q Temple Scroll 64:7-13 (150-75 BC?) instructs Jews to bury corpses before sunset.1
Josephus’s Jewish Wars 3.377 says Jews ensured they were buried before sunset.1
Josephus’s Jewish Wars 4.317 says Jews ensured they were buried before sunset.1
So? Couldn’t it simply be that…
• … Jews then only applied Dt 21:22-23 to those crucified/hung after death (and here Josephus refers to individuals already dead)
Josephus's, Antiquities of the Jews 4.202 & 4.265.1
Philo in De Specialibus Legibus III 151-152 records, “let not the sun set” on the crucified.1 (cf. Post C. 61; Somn. 2.213)
b. Sanhedrin 46b instructs Jews to bury corpses before sunset.1
m Sanh 6:5 (Mishnah) says “whoever keeps his dead unburied overnight transgresses…”.1 This applied in Jesus's time.2
4Q492, 4Q285, & 4Q251 indicate that Jews (historically) did bury corpses before sunset.1
-Craig Evans (Ashbury Prof. of NT, Founder of DSS Inst.): “This is probably the rationale that lies behind the concern regarding slain enemy soldiers. In the fragmentary conclusion of the War Scroll we have reference to the fallen Kittim (i.e., Romans) and their allies. Their corpses lie on the field of battle, unburied. Priests, including the high priest, stand over the corpses and praise God. What is said is not preserved (1QM 19:9–14 = 4Q492 frag. 1 lines 8–13), but it is probable that the priests oversee burial of the corpses and cleansing of the land.” [...]
-[Evans continued...] “The related 4Q285, which is also fragmentary, supports this interpretation. It seems to say that while Israel celebrates victory over the Kittim (with women beating timbrels and dancing, as in the great victories recounted in Scripture; cf. Exod 15:20; Judg 11:34; perhaps also 4QpIsac 25 iii 1–3), the high priest shall give orders for the disposal of the corpses, evidently to avoid corpse impurity (4Q285 frag. 7, lines 1–6, esp. lines 5–6; cf. frag. 10, lines 4–6: “and you shall eat [the spoil of your enemy . . . and they shall dig] graves for them [ . . . and you shall cleanse yourselves from al]l their corpses . . . ”). This then explains the meaning in 1QM 7:2–3, which refers to the men who “strip the slain, plunder the spoil, cleanse the land . . .” Cleansing the land would include burying the corpses of the enemy. [...]”
-[Evans continued...] “Related material is found in 4Q251 frag. 18 (or frag. 13), which apparently expands legislation concerned with the discovery of the corpse of one slain out in the field (Deut 21:1–9). In Deuteronomy nothing is said of burial, but evidently that is a detail added by 4Q251: “[. . . if] a corpse [is found] lying in [a field . . . and they shall break the heifer’s neck there in the wad]i in return for the life [of the slain . . . ] it is a substitution which is put to death for [the slain . . . ] everyone who has no soul within him is dead, [he must be buried] in a g[rave . . . ]” (lines 3–6). The last part is not found in Deuteronomy (or elsewhere in Hebrew Scripture).” [Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus, article]
Gospel of Peter 3-5, 15 indicates that Jews did bury corpses before sunset.1
In general, Jews felt obligated to ensure pre-sunset (A.S.A.P.) burial of any corpse (including those not crucified).
• …[Jews felt obligated to bury ASAP]() (e.g. Semahot 9:9)
• …[Jews must sleep on the floor until burial was done]() • …[Finishing burial outweighed reciting the Shema and all Jewish law]()
Old Testament examples exist which demonstrated burial before sunset.1 This is relevant because Jews would have attempted to pattern themselves after these examples.
Acts 5:6-10 demonstrates burial before sunset, even among Christians.1
• Acts 5:6-10 -- The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. 7Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8And Peter responded to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?" And she said, "Yes, that was the price." 9Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well." 10And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.