And it came to pass that seven brethren also with their mother were at the king’s command taken and shamefully handled with scourges and cords, to compel them to taste of the abominable swine’s flesh. 2
But one of them made himself the spokesman and said, What wouldest thou ask and learn of us? for we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers. 3
And the king fell into a rage, and commanded to heat pans and caldrons: 4
and when these forthwith were heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that had been their spokesman, and to scalp him, and to cut off his extremities, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. 5
And when he was utterly *
maimed, the king
commanded to bring him to the fire, being yet alive, and to fry him in the pan. And as the vapour of the pan spread far, they and their mother also exhorted one another to die nobly, saying thus: 6
The Lord God beholdeth, and in truth is †
intreated for us, as Moses declared in ‡
his song, which witnesseth against the people
to their faces, saying, And he shall be §
intreated for his servants.
7 And when the first had died after this manner, they brought the second to the mocking; and they pulled off the skin of his head with the hair and asked him, Wilt thou eat, before thy body be punished in every limb? 8 But he answered in the language of his fathers and said to them, No. Wherefore he also underwent the next torture in succession, as the first had done. 9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou, miscreant, dost release us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise up us, who have died for his laws, unto an eternal renewal of life.
10 And after him was the third made a mocking-stock. And when he was required, he quickly put out his tongue, and stretched forth his hands courageously, 11 and nobly said, From heaven I possess these; and for his laws’ sake I contemn these; and from him I hope to receive these back again: 12 insomuch that the king himself and they that were with him were astonished at the young man’s soul, for that he nothing regarded the pains.
13 And when he too was dead, they shamefully handled and tortured the fourth in like manner. 14 And being come near unto death he said thus: It is good to die at the hands of men and look for the hopes which are given by God, that we shall be raised up again by him; for as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection unto life.
And next after him they brought the fifth, and shamefully handled him. 16
But he looked toward **
the king and said, Because thou hast authority among men, though thou art thyself
corruptible, thou doest what thou wilt; yet think not that our race hath been forsaken of God; 17
but hold thou on thy way, and behold his sovereign majesty, how it will torture thee and thy seed.
18 And after him they brought the sixth. And when he was at the point to die he said, Be not vainly deceived, for we suffer these things for our own doings, as sinning against our own God: marvellous things are come to pass; 19 but think not thou that thou shalt be unpunished, having assayed to fight against God.
But above all was the mother marvellous and worthy of honourable memory; for when she looked on seven sons perishing within the space of one day, she bare the sight
with a good courage for the hopes that she had set
on the Lord. 21
And she exhorted each one of them in the language of their fathers, filled with a noble temper and stirring up her womanish thought with manly passion, saying unto them, 22
I know not how ye came into my womb, neither was it I that bestowed on you your ††
spirit and your life, and it was not I that brought into order the first elements of each one of you. 23
Therefore the Creator of the world, who fashioned the ‡‡
generation of man and devised the §§
generation of all things, in mercy giveth back to you again both your ***
spirit and your life, as ye now contemn your own selves for his laws’ sake. 24
But Antiochus, thinking himself to be despised, and suspecting the reproachful voice, whilst the youngest was yet alive did not only make his appeal to him
by words, but also at the same time promised with oaths that he would enrich him and †††
raise him to high estate, if he would turn from the customs
of his fathers, and that he would take him for his ‡‡‡
Friend and intrust him with affairs. 25
But when the young man would in no wise give heed, the king called unto him his mother, and exhorted her that she would counsel the lad to save himself. 26
And when he had exhorted her with many words, she undertook to persuade her son. 27
But bending toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, she spoke thus in the language of her fathers: My son, have pity upon me that carried thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished and brought thee up unto this age, and sustained thee. 28
I beseech thee, my child, to lift thine eyes unto the heaven and the earth, and to see all things that are therein, and thus to recognise that God made them not of things that were, and that
the race of men in this wise cometh into being. 29
Fear not this butcher, but, proving thyself worthy of thy brethren, accept thy death, that in the mercy of God
I may receive thee again with thy brethren.
But before she had yet ended speaking, the young man said, Whom wait ye for? I obey not the commandment of the king, but I hearken to the commandment of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31
But thou, that hast devised all manner of evil against the Hebrews, shalt in no wise escape the hands of God. 32
For we are suffering because of our own sins; 33
and if for rebuke and chastening our living Lord hath been angered a little while, yet shall he again be reconciled with his own servants. 34
But thou, O unholy man and of all most vile, be not vainly lifted up in thy wild pride with uncertain hopes, raising thy hand against the heavenly children; 35
For not yet hast thou escaped the judgement of the Almighty God that seeth all things. 36
For these our brethren, having endured a §§§
short pain that bringeth everlasting life, have now *
died under God’s covenant; But thou, through the judgement of God, shalt receive in just measure the penalties of thine arrogancy. 37
But I, as my brethren, give up both body and soul for the laws of our fathers, calling upon God that he may speedily become †
gracious to the nation; and that thou amidst trials and plagues mayest confess that he alone is God; 38
and that in me and my brethren ‡
thou mayest stay the wrath of the Almighty, which hath been justly brought upon our whole race. 39
But the king, falling into a rage, handled him worse than all the rest, being exasperated at his mocking. 40
So he also died pure from pollution,
putting his whole trust in the Lord.
41 And last of all after her sons the mother died.
42 Let it then suffice to have said thus much concerning the enforcement of sacrificial feasts and the king’s exceeding barbarities.