4 Maccabees Chapter 18 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 273 – 276 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 323/326 of p.524]

CHAPTER 18

(i) The victorious result of their constancy. The mother’s speech to her children. 

1 O ye Israelites, descendants of the seed of Abraham, obey this law, and in every way 2 observe religion. Knowing that religious Principle , is lord over the passions : and not only over troubles from within, but likewise over those which are from without.

3 By which means those youths, exposing their lives to sufferings for religion, not only were admired by men, but also were deemed worthy of a 4 divine inheritance. And through them the nation obtained peace; and having reestablished in the country the wholesome observance of the laws, it 5 effectually dislodged its enemies. And the tyrant Antiochus was both punished on earth, and now 6 after his death is still enduring punishment. For, when he could by no means prevail so far as to compel the inhabitants of Jerusalem to adopt Gentile customs[1]P. 273 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]., and to live in a manner strange[2]P. 273 Foot Note b. Compare book II. cli. i. 44. to 7 the usages of their country : he forthwith p. 274 departed from Jerusalem[3]P. 274 Foot Note c. Compare 2 Mace. iii. 27 – 31. 3 Mace. ix. 1, 2., and led his army against the Persians. [B. C. 166.] 

[4]P. 274 Foot Note d. All which follows after the seventh verse is believed to have been written by a different author.That righteous woman, the mother of the 8 seven young men, said thus also to her children : I formerly was a pure virgin, and did not go 9 out from my father’s house ; but kept within[5]P. 274 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] the meaning of which expression is ambiguous. the walled building. No ravisher, the despoiler 10 of unprotected innocence, ruined me in the field[6]P. 274 Foot Note f. See Deut. xxii. 25. nor did the seducer, the deceitful serpent[7]P. 274/275 Foot Note g. Is this merely a metaphorical expression ? or does it cover a less obvious meaning? Can it allude to any of those strange opinions concerning the serpent in Paradise, … Continue reading, p. 275 corrupt my virginity: but I remained with a 11 husband during the flower of my age. And when these my children had grown up, their father died: happy indeed was he: for having passed a life of abundance of fine children, he escaped the painful period of being deprived((P. 275 Foot Note h. The Greek text has here two elegant and concise expressions, put in opposition to each other ; Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which we are compelled to paraphrase, our language not furnishing a literal translation of them.)) of them.

12 Who, while he was yet with you, used to teach 13 you the law and the prophets. And he read to us of Abel, who was murdered by Cain : and of Isaac, who was offered for a burnt-offering : and 14 of Joseph, who was in prison. He told us also of the zealous Phineas : and he taught you the story of Ananias, Azarias, and Misael. And he used to glorify Daniel, who was in the den of 15 lions ; whom also he pronounced blessed. And he reminded you of the scripture of Esaias[8]P. 275 Foot Note i. Namely, at ch. xliii. 2., which says, ‘ When thou walkest through the 16 fire, the flame shall not burn thee.’ He chanted to you David[9]P. 275 Foot Note k. In Psalm xxxiv. 19., the writer of the hymns, who says, ‘ Many are the afflictions of the righteous, 17 and the Lord shall deliver him out of all.’ He recited to us the Proverbs of Solomon, who saith[10]P. 275 Foot Note l. Viz. at Prow iii. 18., p. 276 ‘ He is a tree of life to all those who do his will.’ He bare witness to Ezechiel[11]P. 276 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] See Ezech. xxxvii. 3., who saith, ‘ Shall 18 these dry bones live?’ For he did not forget 19 the song which Moses taught[12]P. 276 Foot Note n. Namely, at Deut. xxxii. 39, 47., which teacheth and saith ; ‘ I will kill, and I will make alive. This is your life, and the prolonging[13]P. 276 Foot Note o. The Greek varies, between Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but the former agrees with the passage as it stands in the book of Deuteronomy. of your days.’ “

20 O ! bitter was that day, yet not really bitter[14]P. 276 Foot Note p. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.276-4.Macca_.18-FN-p-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x20.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 319px) 100vw, 319px" /> click on image to enlarge] a mode of  expression familiarly used by the Greek dramatic writers., when the bitter tyrant of the Gentiles kindled the fire under his savage caldrons, and with boiling fury brought to the catapelta and to all his torments the seven sons of the daughter of Abraham. Their eyeballs he blinded ; and their tongues he 21 cut out ; and he slew them with various torments. For which deeds Divine Justice pursued, and will 22 pursue, the accursed sinner. But the sons of 23 Abraham, with their victorious mother, are gathered together to the land of their fathers, having received again pure and immortal souls from God. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 24

END OF BOOK IV.


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. 273 Foot Note a. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
2 P. 273 Foot Note b. Compare book II. cli. i. 44.
3 P. 274 Foot Note c. Compare 2 Mace. iii. 27 – 31. 3 Mace. ix. 1, 2.
4 P. 274 Foot Note d. All which follows after the seventh verse is believed to have been written by a different author.
5 P. 274 Foot Note e. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] the meaning of which expression is ambiguous.
6 P. 274 Foot Note f. See Deut. xxii. 25.
7 P. 274/275 Foot Note g. Is this merely a metaphorical expression ? or does it cover a less obvious meaning? Can it allude to any of those strange opinions concerning the serpent in Paradise, which are known to have prevailed in various ages of the world? The heresy of the Ophitæ, who worshipped the serpent as a god, is mentioned by Origen in his sixth book against Celsus, and is described by Epiphanius, (Hæres. 37-) — Tertullian (adversus Valentinianos,cap.2.) calls it,
LATIN: ” Ille a primordio Divinæ imaginis prædo.”
(ENGLISH TRANSLATION: He captured the image from the very beginning.)
Tennison, in his Discourse on Idolatry, (4to. 1678, p. 354,) speaks of ” good angels appearing like the most eminent sort of winged serpents, with beautiful faces, it may he, of men,” &c. And again ; ” If the seraphim had not appeared in some such form, it would be very difficult to give any tolerable account of the temptation of Adam and Eve by a daemon in the shape of a serpent. That serpent is ridiculously painted in the form of a creeping one before the fall : and it is impossible to conceive our first parents so stupid as to have entered into discourse with such a creature without any astonishment.” Ibid. It is well known to those who are conversant in such matters, that in ancient illuminated biblical manuscripts, the serpent, while tempting Eve, is often drawn with the face of a very handsome young man. And there are pictures, by Michael Angelo and others, representing it with a human face, sometimes male, sometimes also female. The same thing is seen on ancient carvings, which decorate both the outsides and insides of our churches. Mercerus, in his Commentary on Genesis, ch. iii. relates p.275 the opinion of some Jewish doctors, (but to which he himself does not assent,) in himself does not assent:
LATIN: ” Hebræorum quidam, quod ego alienum puto, serpentem inquiunt vidisse eos soboli procreandæ operam dantes, et inde eam appetiisse : sed spiritus est Satanas, nee in serpentem ut mulierem appeteret competere poterat.
(ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Of the Hebrews, a certain man, which I, is strange to me, that old serpent, they say, to have seen the work of getting them to her offspring by giving a coveted it, and from thence: but the spirit of it is Satan, the serpent, to a woman, for he would desire this office could belong neither to be at.) Whether there be any connexion between this opinion of the rabbins, and the expression in the text, I do not feel myself able to decide. – Quaere (search for). Will the literature of Holland furnish us with any lights upon this subject?
8 P. 275 Foot Note i. Namely, at ch. xliii. 2.
9 P. 275 Foot Note k. In Psalm xxxiv. 19.
10 P. 275 Foot Note l. Viz. at Prow iii. 18.
11 P. 276 Foot Note m. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] See Ezech. xxxvii. 3.
12 P. 276 Foot Note n. Namely, at Deut. xxxii. 39, 47.
13 P. 276 Foot Note o. The Greek varies, between Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but the former agrees with the passage as it stands in the book of Deuteronomy.
14 P. 276 Foot Note p. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.276-4.Macca_.18-FN-p-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x20.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 319px) 100vw, 319px" /> click on image to enlarge] a mode of  expression familiarly used by the Greek dramatic writers.

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