As per the Gospels of Matthew (27:60), Mark (15:46 ) and Luke (23:53) , the Body of Jesus, after his crucifixion was laid in a tomb 'hewn in the rock'. That all the evangelists except John mention the make of the tomb, suggests that there is some significance to it. I hope that this was written to indicate that Jesus had, in his burial, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah at 53:9 (RSVCE):

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death...

Clearly, only a rich man could afford to construct a grave hewn in rock. And, Matthew 27:57 in deed depicts Joseph of Arimathe'a in whose new tomb the body of Jesus was laid, as a rich man !

My question is: are there any official teachings from the side of Catholic Church confirming that Jesus was in deed fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah by being buried in a tomb hewn in the rock ?

  • In the case that you consult the catholic encyclopedia, it does not have the church's imprimatur and thus cannot be cited as a "church teaching." Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


The Catholic Church has very few dogmatic interpretations of Scripture. This means that as in the case of most texts, there is the possibility for various explanations within the realm of acceptable Catholic exegesis in this situation.

There is not an official dogmatic interpretation of Isaiah 53:9 in the Catholic Church that explicitly makes the connection between the type of grave Jesus was laid in and the wording of the prophecy. There is a general consensus among Catholic exegetes that since Joseph of Aramathea was comparatively rich, the point that Jesus made his grave with the 'rich' is fulfilled in the manner you mention (but it does not necessarily require or refuse the fact that the particular grave was hewn in rock).

However, the Hebrew word for "rich" in Isaiah 53:9 can also be read as "evil doers" or the "wickedly rich," and in some contexts the words "rich" and "evil doer" were somewhat synonymous in ancient Hebrew culture. The Church recognizes that the text can also be read that Jesus was sent to death among the "wicked and the evil doers," with the expression "evil doers" a reference to morally corrupt persons, not merely wealthy. In this sense Jesus still fulfills the prophecy as he was crucified among two criminals.

Both interpretations and translations are acceptable, but neither demands that the Messiah necessarily be buried in a tomb hewn in stone.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .