1 It came to pass that seven brothers and 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 One of them made himself the spokesman and said, “What would you ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”
3 The king fell into a rage, and commanded that pans and caldrons be heated.
4 When these were immediately heated, he gave orders to cut out the tongue of him who had been their spokesman, and to scalp him, and to cut off his extremities, with the rest of his brothers and his mother looking on.
5 And when he was utterly maimed, the king gave orders to bring him to the fire, being yet alive, and to fry him in the pan. And as the smoke from the pan spread far, they and their mother also exhorted one another to die nobly, saying this:
6 “The Lord God sees, and in truth is entreated for us, as Moses declared in his song, which witnesses against the people to their faces, saying, ‘And he will have compassion on his servants.’ ”
7 And when the first had died like this, they brought the second to the mocking; and they pulled off the skin of his head with the hair and asked him, “Will you eat, before your body is punished in every limb?”
8 But he answered in the language of his ancestors and said to them, “No.” Therefore he also underwent the next torture in succession, as the first had done.
9 When he was at the last gasp, he said, “You, miscreant, release us out of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us who have died for his laws up to an everlasting renewal of life.”
10 After him, the third was made a victim of their mocking. When he was required, he quickly put out his tongue, and stretched out his hands courageously,
11 and nobly said, “I got these from heaven. For his laws’ sake I treat these with contempt. From him, I hope to receive these back again.”
12 As a result, the king himself and those who were with him were astonished at the young man’s soul, for he regarded the pains as nothing.
13 When he too was dead, they shamefully handled and tortured the fourth in the same way.
14 Being near to death he said this: “It is good to die at the hands of men and look for the hope which is given by God, that we will be raised up again by him. For as for you, you will have no resurrection to life.”
15 Next after him, they brought the fifth and shamefully handled him.
16 But he looked toward the king and said, “Because you have authority among men, though you are corruptible, you do what you please. But don’t think that our race has been forsaken by God.
17 But hold on to your ways, and see how his sovereign majesty will torture you and your descendants!”
18 After him they brought the sixth. When he was about to die, he said, “Don’t be vainly deceived, for we suffer these things for our own doings, as sinning against our own God. Astounding things have come to pass;
19 but don’t think you that you will be unpunished, having tried to fight against God!”
20 But above all, the mother was marvelous and worthy of honorable memory; for when she watched seven sons perishing within the space of one day, she bore the sight with a good courage because of her hope in the Lord.
21 She exhorted each one of them in the language of their fathers, filled with a noble spirit and stirring up her woman’s thoughts with manly courage, saying to them,
22 “I don’t know how you came into my womb. It wasn’t I who gave you your spirit and your life. It wasn’t I who brought into order the first elements of each one of you.
23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the first origin of man and devised the first origin of all things, in mercy gives back to you again both your spirit and your life, as you now treat yourselves with contempt for his laws’ sake.”
24 But Antiochus, thinking himself to be despised, and suspecting the reproachful voice, while the youngest was yet alive didn’t 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 honor if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs.
25 But when the young man would in no way listen, the king called to him his mother, and urged her to advise the youth to save himself.
26 When he had urged her with many words, she undertook to persuade her son.
27 But bending toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, she spoke this in the language of her fathers: “My son, have pity upon me who carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you three years, and nourished and brought you up to this age, and sustained you.
28 I beg you, my child, to lift your eyes to the sky and the earth, and to see all things that are in it, and thus to recognize that God made them not of things that were, and that the race of men in this way comes into being.
29 Don’t be afraid of this butcher, but, proving yourself worthy of your brothers, accept your death, that in God’s mercy I may receive you again with your brothers.”
30 But before she had finished speaking, the young man said, “What are you all waiting for? I don’t obey the commandment of the king, but I listen to the commandment of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses.
31 But you, who have devised all kinds of evil against the Hebrews, will in no way escape God’s hands.
32 For we are suffering because of our own sins.
33 If for rebuke and chastening, our living Lord has been angered a little while, yet he will again be reconciled with his own servants.
34 But you, O unholy man and of all most vile, don’t be vainly lifted up in your wild pride with uncertain hopes, raising your hand against the heavenly children.
35 For you have not yet escaped the judgment of the Almighty God who sees all things.
36 For these our brothers, having endured a short pain that brings everlasting life, have now died under God’s covenant. But you, through God’s judgment, will receive in just measure the penalties of your arrogance.
37 But I, as my brothers, 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 you, amidst trials and plagues, may confess that he alone is God,
38 and that in me and my brothers you may bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has 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, putting his whole trust in the Lord.
41 Last of all, after her sons, the mother died.
42 Let it then suffice to have said thus much concerning the sacrificial feasts and the extreme tortures.