4 Maccabees Chapter 17 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 270 – 273 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 320/323 of p.524]

CHAPTER 17

(i) The praises of’ the mother continued.

1 Moreover, some of the guards related, that when she herself was about to be seized and put to death, in order that nobody might touch[1]P. 271 Foot Note a. So in the Hecuba of Euripides, when Polyxena, the daughter of Priam, is about to be offered as a sacrifice, she desires the surrounding guards to retire, and not venture to touch … Continue reading her person, she threw herself[2]P. 271 Foot Note b. The author of the preceding book gives no particulars of the death of the mother; but merely says, ” Last of all, after the sons, the mother died.” Later … Continue reading upon the pile. 2 O mother, who with thy seven sons hast overthrown the tyrant’s violence, and defeated his wicked devices ; and hast demonstrated the nobleness of p. 271 3 Faith! For thou, as a house[3]P. 271 Foot Note c. Josephus differs here slightly from the text; and his reading gives a less perplexed construction, though the meaning is evidently alike in both. firmly supported on the pillar of thy children, didst bear without bending 4 the shock of the tyrant’s tortures. Be of good cheer, therefore, O holy-minded mother, having a firm hope[4]P. 271 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] [var. lect. Gr. [ https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-d-02-00-20mm-h.fw_-269x20.png 269w" sizes="(max-width: 272px) 100vw, 272px" /> click on image to enlarge]. in God of a reward for thy endurance. 5 Not so majestic stands the moon in heaven, surrounded by the stars ; as thou, having robed in the light[5]P. 271 Foot Note e. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x11.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x19.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" /> click on image to enlarge]. of religion thy seven sons, equal to stars, art become honourable in God’s sight, and 6 with them art fixed in heaven. For the generation of thy family was truly from the son[6]P. 271 Foot Note f. The Greek text varies between Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-f-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-50x20.png 50w" sizes="(max-width: 53px) 100vw, 53px" /> click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]. of Abraham.

7 Now if it were in my power to pourtray[7]P. 271 Foot Note g. details here Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x9.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x15.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-640x20.png 640w" sizes="(max-width: 655px) 100vw, 655px" /> click on image to enlarge] The edition of 1817 is defective here., as in a picture, thy religious story, would not men shudder at beholding the mother of seven children undergoing in the cause of religion various 8 tortures even unto death ? And indeed it would be right moreover to inscribe upon the tomb itself these words, which are set down for a memorial 9 to those of our nation : ” Here are entombed an aged priest, and an aged woman, and seven sons, through the violence of a tyrant, who wished to 10 destroy the civil polity of the Hebrews. Who also have avenged[8]P. 271 Foot Note h. Or, have vindicated the character of their nation. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare ver. 19, below. their nation, looking unto God, and enduring the torments unto death.”

p. 272 11 For in truth the struggle which was made by them was divine. For at that time Virtue 12 directed the games[9]P. 272 Foot Note i. details here Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x10.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x17.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-569x20.png 569w" sizes="(max-width: 596px) 100vw, 596px" /> click on image to enlarge] The entire imagery is taken from the public games of Greece., adjudging the victory by endurance, in immortality, in eternal life. And the 13 first combatant[10]P. 272 Foot Note k. So Gregory Nazianzen expresses himself on the subject : Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-k-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x18.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 337px) 100vw, 337px" /> click on image to enlarge]. was Eleazar : and the mother of the seven children was in the struggle : and the brothers were combatants. Their antagonist was, 14 the tyrant ; and the spectators were, the world and the human race. And religion was declared 15 conqueror, and she crowned her own champions.

16 Who did not admire the champions of divine legislation ? Who were not astonished at them ? The tyrant himself[11]P. 272 Foot Note l. See above, ch. i. 11., at all events, and all his council, most exceedingly wondered at their patient endurance. Through which also they now 17 are standing beside the throne of God, and are leading a life of blessedness. For Moses truly 18 has said[12]P. 272 Foot Note m. At Deuter. xxxiii. 3., “and all his saints are in thy hand.”

19 They, therefore, having been sanctified through God, have been honoured not only with this honour, but also with the additional praise that through their exertions the enemy did not overcome our nation : and that the tyrant was 20 punished, and the country was cleansed from sin ; they having become as it were a devoted offering[13]P. 272 Foot Note n. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] Compare ch. i. 1 1 , and vi. 24; with the note there. for the sin of the nation. And through the blood 21 of those pious men, and their propitiatory death, p. 273 Divine Providence effectually saved Israel, which before was overwhelmed with evils. 22 For the tyrant Antiochus, beholding the bravery of their virtue, and their patience under torments, proclaimed their constancy by a herald, for 23 an example to his own soldiers. And he kept them in his service as noble and brave men, both for pitched battle and for siege of cities : and by their aid he routed and vanquished all his enemies.


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

References
1 P. 271 Foot Note a. So in the Hecuba of Euripides, when Polyxena, the daughter of Priam, is about to be offered as a sacrifice, she desires the surrounding guards to retire, and not venture to touch her : Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-a-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x17.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 347px) 100vw, 347px" /> click on image to enlarge].
2 P. 271 Foot Note b. The author of the preceding book gives no particulars of the death of the mother; but merely says, ” Last of all, after the sons, the mother died.” Later writers have asserted that she underwent the same or even greater torments.
3 P. 271 Foot Note c. Josephus differs here slightly from the text; and his reading gives a less perplexed construction, though the meaning is evidently alike in both.
4 P. 271 Foot Note d. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] [var. lect. Gr. [ https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-d-02-00-20mm-h.fw_-269x20.png 269w" sizes="(max-width: 272px) 100vw, 272px" /> click on image to enlarge].
5 P. 271 Foot Note e. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x11.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x19.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" /> click on image to enlarge].
6 P. 271 Foot Note f. The Greek text varies between Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-f-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-50x20.png 50w" sizes="(max-width: 53px) 100vw, 53px" /> click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
7 P. 271 Foot Note g. details here Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x9.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x15.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.271-4.Macca_.17-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-640x20.png 640w" sizes="(max-width: 655px) 100vw, 655px" /> click on image to enlarge] The edition of 1817 is defective here.
8 P. 271 Foot Note h. Or, have vindicated the character of their nation. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Compare ver. 19, below.
9 P. 272 Foot Note i. details here Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x10.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x17.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-i-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-569x20.png 569w" sizes="(max-width: 596px) 100vw, 596px" /> click on image to enlarge] The entire imagery is taken from the public games of Greece.
10 P. 272 Foot Note k. So Gregory Nazianzen expresses himself on the subject : Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.272-4.Macca_.17-FN-k-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x18.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 337px) 100vw, 337px" /> click on image to enlarge].
11 P. 272 Foot Note l. See above, ch. i. 11.
12 P. 272 Foot Note m. At Deuter. xxxiii. 3.
13 P. 272 Foot Note n. Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] Compare ch. i. 1 1 , and vi. 24; with the note there.

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