mid-15c., from Middle French funérailles (plural) "funeral rites" (15c.), from Medieval Latin funeralia "funeral rites," originally neuter plural of Late Latin funeralis "having to do with a funeral," from Latin funus (genitive funeris) "funeral, funeral procession, burial rites; death, corpse," origin unknown, perhaps ultimately from PIE root *dheu- (3) "to die." Singular and plural used interchangeably in English until c.1700.
Burying was among the Jews the only mode of disposing of corpses (Gen. 23:19; 25:9; 35:8, 9, etc.). The first traces of burning the dead are found in 1 Sam. 31:12. The burning of the body was affixed by the law of Moses as a penalty to certain crimes (Lev. 20:14; 21:9). To leave the dead unburied was regarded with horror (1 Kings 13:22; 14:11; 16:4; 21:24, etc.). In the earliest times of which we have record kinsmen carried their dead to the grave (Gen. 25:9; 35:29; Judg. 16:31), but in later times this was done by others (Amos 6:16). Immediately after decease the body was washed, and then wrapped in a large cloth (Acts 9:37; Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46). In the case of persons of distinction, aromatics were laid on the folds of the cloth (John 19:39; comp. John 12:7). As a rule the burial (q.v.) took place on the very day of the death (Acts 5:6, 10), and the body was removed to the grave in an open coffin or on a bier (Luke 7:14). After the burial a funeral meal was usually given (2 Sam. 3:35; Jer. 16:5, 7; Hos. 9:4).