4 Maccabees Chapter 05 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 233 – 237 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 283/287 of p.524]

CHAPTER V

(i) Eleazar brought forward. His eloquent address to the king.

1 The tyrant Antiochus[1]P. 233 Foot Note a. This persecution of Eleazar and the rest is thought to have taken place in the year before Christ 167- Compare 3 Mace. vi. 18, &c., then, sitting in state with his attendants on a certain elevated spot, and his armed troops standing round [About B.C. 167.] 2 them on every side ; — commanded his guards to p. 234 seize every individual of the Hebrews, and to compel him to taste swine’s flesh[2]P. 234 Foot Note b. It is of course remembered that this food was expressly and by name forbidden to the Jews by God. See Leviticus xi. 7., and things offered to idols[3]P. 234 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which, we remember, were at a subsequent period forbidden to the early Christian converts, by an express ordinance of the Apostles. See Acts … Continue reading. And that if any persons 3 refused to eat this unclean food, they should be tortured to death upon the wheel.

4 And when many had been seized, a Hebrew named Eleazar, a chief man among the people, by family a priest, by profession a lawyer[4]P. 234 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] the same word occurs in the New Testament, and designates a Jewish divine, or expounder of the Scriptures., and advanced in years, and from his age known to many of those about the king, was brought out near to him. And Antiochus seeing him, said ; 5 ” Old man, I would advise you, before your torments begin, to eat of the swine’s flesh and save your life : for I respect your age and grey hairs ; 6 which, although you have had for so long a time, you do not seem to me to understand philosophy, since you adhere to the superstition of the Jews. For why, since nature has freely 7 given you the excellent food of this animal’s flesh, do you abhor it ? For truly it is absurd 8 not to enjoy things which are agreeable, without conveying any disgrace ; and unjust to turn ourselves away from the favours of nature. But 9 you seem to me likely to do a thing still more senseless, if, from a vain affectation of following Truth, you will further proceed to hold me in contempt, to your own punishment. Will 10 p. 235 you not wake up from this foolish philosophy of 11 yours ? And will you not chase away the deception of your reasonings ; and, having regained a mind worthy of your years, follow a philosophy which unites expediency with truth ? 12 and, receiving thankfully my benevolent 13 exhortation, have pity on your old age ? For consider this also ; that, if there be any Power which watches over this your religious system, it would pardon you for every transgression of the law which was committed through compulsion.”

14 While the tyrant in this manner exhorted him to the unallowed eating of flesh, Eleazar requested 15 leave[5]P. 235 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]. to speak. And having received permission, he commenced publicly addressing the people thus : 16 “We, O Antiochus, who are persuaded that we conduct ourselves agreeably to a divine law, think no duty more imperative than that of a 17 full obedience[6]P. 235 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Schleusner conjectures that we ought to read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] disobedience : but besides that all the MSS. are opposed to … Continue reading to our law. On which account we deem it wrong to offend against it in any 18 manner. And yet, even if our law were not in truth divine, as you imagine, (but we on the contrary hold it to be divine,) not even in that case would it be lawful for us to annul that 19 character which we have for piety. Do not p. 236 think therefore, that this is a small offence, if we should eat of things which are unclean. For 20 to transgress in small matters or in great is equal in guilt; for by each of these the law is equally holden at nought. 21 And you deride our philosophy, as though we live in it without good reason for so doing. Yet it throughly teaches us temperance, so that 22 we master all the pleasures and desires : and it exercises us in fortitude, so that we willingly undergo every toil[7]P. 236/237 Foot Note g. The Greek text of verses 22 and 23 is greatly obscured by careless pointing and printing in the Oxford edition : it ought to stand thus : Gr. [  click on image to … Continue reading : and it instructs us in 23 justice, so that in all our behaviour we give what is due : and it teaches us to be pious, so that we worship the only living God in a manner becoming his greatness.

24 Wherefore we eat not unclean meats : for, believing that the law was constituted by God, we know that the Creator of the world sympathises with our nature in the framing of his laws. And those things which will suit our 25 natures he has permitted us to eat ; but the meats which would prove the contrary, he has forbidden us to use.

26 But you, tyrannically, not only force us to transgress the law, but also to eat, that you may still further have to laugh at this eating of unclean things which is most odious to us. 27 But p. 237 this laughter you never shall enjoy against me : nor will I violate the sacred oaths of my 28 forefathers concerning the keeping of the law. Not even if you pluck out my eyes, and consume 29 my entrails in the fire. I am not so old and devoid of spirit, but that my principle is still 30 vigorous in religion’s cause. Against this, prepare your racks, and kindle the fire still more fiercely[8]P.237 Foot Note g(ii). See Daniel iii. 19.. I will not so far compassionate my old age, as for my own individual sake to pull 31 down the law of my country. I will not fail thee, O law, my instructor ! I will not forsake 32 thee, O beloved self-controul ! nor will I shame thee, O philosophic reason ! nor will I renounce thee, O honoured priesthood and science of the 33 law ! Nor shall you pollute my reverend mouth in old age, nor the advanced years of a life 34 passed in obedience[9]P. 237 Foot Note h. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] a phrase which scarcely admits a close translation into English; as indeed is frequently the ease throughout this hook. to the law. My fathers shall receive me pure, not having been afraid of 35 your violence even unto death. For indeed over the ungodly you will tyrannize : but over my religious principles you shall not obtain dominion, neither by your arguments nor your deeds.”


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. 233 Foot Note a. This persecution of Eleazar and the rest is thought to have taken place in the year before Christ 167- Compare 3 Mace. vi. 18, &c.
2 P. 234 Foot Note b. It is of course remembered that this food was expressly and by name forbidden to the Jews by God. See Leviticus xi. 7.
3 P. 234 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which, we remember, were at a subsequent period forbidden to the early Christian converts, by an express ordinance of the Apostles. See Acts xv. 29.
4 P. 234 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] the same word occurs in the New Testament, and designates a Jewish divine, or expounder of the Scriptures.
5 P. 235 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
6 P. 235 Foot Note f. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Schleusner conjectures that we ought to read Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] disobedience : but besides that all the MSS. are opposed to such a change, the received text obtains a strong confirmation from the following passage of Josephus, (contra Apionem, I.) Speaking of the moral habits of the Jews, Josephus says Gr. [

 click on image to enlarge] .
7 P. 236/237 Foot Note g. The Greek text of verses 22 and 23 is greatly obscured by careless pointing and printing in the Oxford edition : it ought to stand thus : Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.236-4.Macca_.5-FN-g-01-line-1-00-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x7.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.236-4.Macca_.5-FN-g-01-line-1-00-00-20mm-h.fw_-768x19.png 768w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.236-4.Macca_.5-FN-g-01-line-1-00-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x12.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 806px) 100vw, 806px" />
https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.236-4.Macca_.5-FN-g-01-line-2-00-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x17.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 355px) 100vw, 355px" /> 
https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.236-4.Macca_.5-FN-g-01-line-3-00-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x15.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 404px) 100vw, 404px" />
click on image to enlarge] Thus the four parts are complete, and answer to each other.
8 P.237 Foot Note g(ii). See Daniel iii. 19.
9 P. 237 Foot Note h. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] a phrase which scarcely admits a close translation into English; as indeed is frequently the ease throughout this hook.

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