3 Maccabees Chapter 07


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P. 174 – 178 Book 3 B.C. 167 [PDF: 224/228 of P.524]

CHAPTER 7

(i) The constancy and death of seven brethren and their mother.

1 It came to pass also, that seven brethren with their mother were taken, and compelled by the king, to taste swine’s flesh forbidden by the law, and were tormented with scourges and whips. But one of them who spake first, said thus; What 2 wouldest thou ask or learn of us ? we are ready to die, rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers. Then the king, being in a rage, commanded 3 to heat the pans and caldrons hot. Which 4 forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him who spake first; and having scalped him[1]P. 174 Foot Note a. Or,” flayed :” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] hut the former is perhaps nearer to the meaning of the original word., to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. Now when he was thus maimed in 5 all his members, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan. And as the vapour of the pan was p. 175 dispersed for a good space, they exhorted one another with the mother, to die manfully, saying 6 thus; The Lord God looketh upon us, and in truth hath comfort in us, as Moses in his song, which witnessed to their faces, declared, saying[2]P. 175 Foot Note b. Compare Dent, xxxii. 36.7 ” And he shall be comforted in his servants.” So when the first was dead after this manner, they brought the second to the cruel torture[3]P. 175 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which word (together with its verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] denotes severity of usage mixed with scorn and contumely. It was usually … Continue reading : and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him, Wilt thou eat before thou be punished throughout every member 8 of thy body? But he answered in his own language, and said, No. Wherefore he also received the remainder of the torment as the former did. 9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto an eternal resurrection of 10 life. After him was the third scornfully ill-treated : and when he was required, he put out his tongue, and that right soon; and held forth his 11 hands manfully, and said courageously, These I had from Heaven; and for His laws I despise[4]P. 175 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” I leave them out of consideration;” or, ” I make no account of hem.” them, and from Him I hope to receive them again. 12 Insomuch that the king himself, and they which were with him, marvelled at the young man’s courage, for that he nothing regarded the pains. 13 Now when this man was dead also, they tormented 14 and mangled the fourth in like manner. And being p. 176 at the point of death, he said thus; It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by Him : as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life. 15 Afterward they brought up the fifth also, and mangled him. Then looked he unto the king, and said, 16 Thou having power over men, thyself being corruptible, doest what thou wilt ; yet think not that our nation is forsaken by God: but abide a while, 17 and behold his great power, how he will torment thee and thy seed. After him also they brought 18 the sixth, who being ready to die, said ; Be not deceived without cause : for we suffer these things
for ourselves, having sinned[5]P. 176 Foot Note e. Compare 2 Mace. ii. 13; also sec- below, verse 32, 33. against our God : therefore marvellous things are done unto us. But 19 think not thou, who hast taken in hand to strive against God, that thou shalt escape unpunished. 

20 But the mother was admirable above all, and worthy of honourable memory : for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bare it with a good courage, because of the hope which she had in the Lord. Yea, she 21 exhorted every one of them in her own language, filled with courageous spirits : and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly spirit, she said unto them ; I cannot tell how ye came into my 22 womb ; for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I who formed the members of every one of you. But doubtless, the Creator of the 23 world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as p. 177 ye now regard not your own selves for his law’s sake.

24 Now Antiochus thinking’ himself despised, and suspecting it to be a reproachful speech, whilst the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with oaths, that he would make him both a rich and an enviable man, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers ; and that also he would take him for his 25 friend, and trust him with affairs. But when the young man would in no case hearken unto him, the king called his mother, and exhorted her that she would counsel the young man to save his life. 26 And when he had exhorted her with many words, she promised him that she would persuade her 27 son. But she bowing herself towards him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, spake in her country language on this manner : ” my son, have pity upon me who bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years[6]P. 177 Foot Note f. Observe the long period of giving suck here stated., and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this 28 age, and endured the troubles of education. I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all which is therein, and consider that God made them of things which were not ; and so was the race of men made likewise. 29 Fear not this executioner ; but being worthy of thy brethren, take thy death, that I may receive 30 thee again in mercy with thy brethren.” Whilst she was yet speaking, the young man said, ” Whom wait ye for ? I will not obey the king’s commandment : but I will obey the commandment p. 178 of the law which was given unto our fathers by Moses. And thou, who hast been the 31 author of all mischief against the Hebrews, shalt not escape the hands of God. For we suffer 32 because of our sins. And though the living Lord 33 be angry with us a little while, for our chastening and correction, yet shall he be reconciled again to his servants. But thou, O godless man, 34 and of all other most abominable, be not lifted up without a cause, puffing up thyself with uncertain hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of God : for thou hast not yet escaped 35 the judgment of Almighty God, who seeth all things. For our brethren, who now have 36 suffered a short pain, are dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life : but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride. But I, as my brethren, offer up 37 my body and life for the laws of our fathers, beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful unto our nation, and that thou by torments and plagues mayest confess that he alone is God ; and that in me and my brethren, the 38 wrath of the Almighty, which is justly brought upon all our nation, may cease.”

39 Then the king, being in a rage, handled him worse than all the rest, taking it grievously that he had mocked. So this man died undefined, 40 putting his whole trust in the Lord. Last of all, 41 after the sons, the mother died. Let this be 42 enough now to have spoken[7]P. 178 Foot Note g. See the circumstances related in this chapter, detailed more at large in the fourth book of Maccabees. concerning the idolatrous feasts, and the extreme tortures.


Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF


References

1 P. 174 Foot Note a. Or,” flayed :” Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] hut the former is perhaps nearer to the meaning of the original word.
2 P. 175 Foot Note b. Compare Dent, xxxii. 36.
3 P. 175 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which word (together with its verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] denotes severity of usage mixed with scorn and contumely. It was usually rendered “a mocking-stock” by the former translators.
4 P. 175 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] ” I leave them out of consideration;” or, ” I make no account of hem.”
5 P. 176 Foot Note e. Compare 2 Mace. ii. 13; also sec- below, verse 32, 33.
6 P. 177 Foot Note f. Observe the long period of giving suck here stated.
7 P. 178 Foot Note g. See the circumstances related in this chapter, detailed more at large in the fourth book of Maccabees.

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