6:12. Now I beseech those that shall read this book, that they be not shocked at these calamities, but that they consider the things that happened, not as being for the destruction, but for the correction of our nation.
6:13. For it is a token of great goodness, when sinners are not suffered to go on in their ways for a long time, but are presently punished.
6:14. For, not as with other nations, (whom the Lord patiently expecteth, that when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fulness of their sins:)
6:15. Doth he also deal with us, so as to suffer our sins to come to their height, and then take vengeance on us.
6:16. And therefore he never withdraweth his mercy from us: but though he chastise his people with adversity he forsaketh them not.
6:17. But let this suffice in a few words for a warning to the readers.
And now we must come to the narration.
6:18. Eleazar one of the chief of the scribes, a man advanced in years, and of a comely countenance, was pressed to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh.
6:19. But he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment.
6:20. And considering in what manner he was to come to it, patiently bearing, he determined not to do any unlawful things for the love of life.
6:21. But they that stood by, being moved with wicked pity, for the old friendship they had with the man, taking him aside, desired that flesh might be brought which it was lawful for him to eat, that he might make as if he had eaten, as the king had commanded, of the flesh of the sacrifice:
Wicked pity... Their pity was wicked, inasmuch as it suggested that wicked proposal of saving his life by dissimulation.
6:22. That by so doing he might be delivered from death; and for the sake of their old friendship with the man, they did him this courtesy.
6:23. But he began to consider the dignity of his age, and his ancient years, and the inbred honour of his grey head, and his good life and conversation from a child; and he answered without delay, according to the ordinances of the holy law made by God, saying, that he would rather be sent into the other world.
6:24. For it doth not become our age, said he, to dissemble: whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, at the age of fourscore and ten years, was gone over to the life of the heathens:
6:25. And so they, through my dissimulation, and for a little time of a corruptible life, should be deceived, and hereby I should bring a stain and a curse upon my old age.
6:26. For though, for the present time, I should be delivered from the punishments of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty neither alive nor dead.
6:27. Wherefore, by departing manfully out of this life, I shall shew myself worthy of my old age:
6:28. And I shall leave an example of fortitude to young men, if with a ready mind and constancy I suffer an honourable death, for the most venerable and most holy laws. And having spoken thus, he was forthwith carried to execution.
6:29. And they that led him, and had been a little before more mild, were changed to wrath for the words he had spoken, which they thought were uttered out of arrogancy.
6:30. But when he was now ready to die with the stripes, he groaned: and said: O Lord, who hast the holy knowledge, thou knowest manifestly that whereas I might be delivered from death, I suffer grievous pains in body: but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear thee.
6:31. Thus did this man die, leaving not only to young men, but also to the whole nation, the memory of his death, for an example of virtue and fortitude.
2 Machabees Chapter 7
The glorious martyrdom of the seven brethren and their mother.
7:1. It came to pass also, that seven brethren, together with their mother, were apprehended, and compelled by the king to eat swine's flesh against the law, for which end they were tormented with whips and scourges.
7:2. But one of them, who was the eldest, said thus: What wouldst thou ask, or learn of us? we are ready to die, rather than to transgress the laws of God, received from our fathers.
7:3. Then the king being angry, commanded fryingpans and brazen caldrons to be made hot: which forthwith being heated,
7:4. He commanded to cut out the tongue of him that had spoken first: and the skin of his head being drawn off, to chop off also the extremities of his hands and feet, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on.
7:6. And when he was now maimed in all parts, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the fryingpan: and while he was suffering therein long torments, the rest, together with the mother, exhorted one another to die manfully,
7:6. Saying: The Lord God will look upon the truth, and will take pleasure in us, as Moses declared in the profession of the canticle; And in his servants he will take pleasure.
7:7. So when the first was dead after this manner, they brought the next to make him a mocking stock: and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him if he would eat, before he were punished throughout the whole body in every limb. 7:8. But he answered in his own language, and said: I will not do it. Wherefore he also, in the next place, received the torments of the first:
7:9. And when he was at the last gasp, he said thus: Thou indeed, O most wicked man, destroyest us out of this present life: but the King of the world will raise us up, who die for his laws, in the resurrection of eternal life.
7:10. After him the third was made a mocking-stock, and when he was required, he quickly put forth his tongue, and courageously stretched out his hands:
7:11. And said with confidence: These I have from heaven, but for the laws of God I now despise them, because I hope to receive them again from him.
7:12. So that the king, and they that were with him, wondered at the young man's courage, because he esteemed the torments as nothing.
7:13. And after he was thus dead, they tormented the fourth in the like manner.
7:14. And when he was now ready to die, he spoke thus: It is better, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by him; for, as to thee, thou shalt have no resurrection unto life.
7:15. And when they had brought the fifth, they tormented him. But he, looking upon the king, 7:16. Said: Whereas thou hast power among men though thou art corruptible, thou dost what thou wilt but think not that our nation is forsaken by God.
7:17. But stay patiently a while, and thou shalt see his great power, in what manner he will torment thee and thy seed.
7:18. After him they brought the sixth, and he being ready to die, spoke thus: Be not deceived without cause: for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God, and things worthy of admiration are done to us:
7:19. But do not think that thou shalt escape unpunished, for that thou hast attempted to fight against God.
7:20. Now the mother was to be admired above measure, and worthy to be remembered by good men, who beheld her seven sons slain in the space of one day, and bore it with a good courage, for the hope that she had in God:
7:21. And she bravely exhorted every one of them in her own language, being filled with wisdom; and joining a man's heart to a woman's thought,
7:22. She said to them: I know not how you were formed in my womb; for I neither gave you breath, nor soul, nor life, neither did I frame the limbs of every one of you.
7:23. But the Creator of the world, that formed the nativity of man, and that found out the origin of all, he will restore to you again, in his mercy, both breath and life, as now you despise yourselves for the sake of his laws.
7:24. Now Antiochus, thinking himself despised, and withal despising the voice of the upbraider, when the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with an oath, that he would make him a rich and a happy man, and, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers, would take him for a friend, and furnish him with things necessary.
7:25. But when the young man was not moved with these things, the king called the mother, and counselled her to deal with the young man to save his life.
7:26. And when he had exhorted her with many words she promised that she would counsel her son.
7:27. So bending herself towards him, mocking the cruel tyrant, she said in her own language: My son have pity upon me, that bore thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age.
7:28. I beseech thee, my son, look upon heaven and earth, and all that is in them, and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also: