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2 Maccabees 7

2 Maccabees :Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

A Brave Mother
1 King Antiochus once arrested seven Jewish brothers and their mother. He had them beaten with heavy whips and tried to make them eat the meat of pigs, which is against our laws.
7.1-42 He 11.35,36.
1 It came to pass also, that seven brethren with their mother were taken, and compelled by the king against the law to taste swine's flesh, and were tormented with scourges and whips.
2 But one of the brothers spoke up and said, “Why are you torturing us like this? We will die before we disobey the laws of our ancestors!” 2 But one of them that spake first said thus, What wouldest thou ask or learn of us? we are ready to die, rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers.
3 This made the king so angry that he ordered his men to heat up big pots and pans,
3 Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot:
4 and they quickly did this. Meanwhile, the king forced the boy's family to watch him being tortured. Some soldiers cut out his tongue, then scalped him and chopped off his hands and feet, 4 Which forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on.
5 making him completely helpless. While the boy was still alive, the king told his soldiers, “Carry him to one of the big pans on the fire and fry him.”
When smoke from the pan started spreading everywhere, the brothers and their mother each said, “Let's die bravely!
5 Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan: and as the vapour of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus,
6 The Lord God will have pity on us, because he always takes care of his servants, just as Moses said in the song he wrote to correct our rebellious ancestors.”
c 7.6 ancestors: See Deuteronomy 32.36.
7.6 Dt 32.36.
6 The Lord God looketh upon us, and in truth hath comfort in us, as Moses in his song, which witnessed to their faces, declared, saying, And he shall be comforted in his servants.
7 When the first brother was dead, the soldiers grabbed the second brother. They made fun of him and scalped him. Then they asked, “Wouldn't you rather eat some meat from a pig than to be slowly tortured to death?”
7 So when the first was dead after this number, they brought the second to make him a mocking stock: and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him, Wilt thou eat, before thou be punished throughout every member of thy body?
8 In his native language
d 7.8 In ... language: Either Hebrew or Aramaic.
the boy replied, “No!” Then the soldiers tortured him, just as they had done to the first brother.
8 But he answered in his own language, and said, No. Wherefore he also received the next torment in order, as the former did.
9 When the second brother was almost dead, he said to the king, “How can you be so cruel? Even if you kill us, the King of this world will raise us to life. And then we will live forever, because we died, rather than deny our faith.”
9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life.
10 When he died, they started torturing the third brother and shouted, “Stick out your tongue!”
He immediately obeyed and bravely stretched out his arms as well.
10 After him was the third made a mocking stock: and when he was required, he put out his tongue, and that right soon, holding forth his hands manfully.
11 He had a lot of courage and said, “God in heaven gave these to me. But I will give them up to obey his laws, because I know God will give them back.” 11 And said courageously, These I had from heaven; and for his laws I despise them; and from him I hope to receive them again.
12 The king and his troops were amazed at the young man's courage. Here was someone willing to suffer.
12 Insomuch that the king, and they that were with him, marvelled at the young man's courage, for that he nothing regarded the pains.
13 After he was dead, the king's troops beat and tortured the fourth brother in the same way.
13 Now when this man was dead also, they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner.
14 But just before he died, he told them, “God has promised to raise us to life! And so we are willing to die, but you have no hope for life after death.” 14 So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life.
15 As the fifth brother was being tortured,
15 Afterward they brought the fifth also, and mangled him.
16 he looked straight at the king and said, “You order people around and make them obey you. But someday you will die. Don't think God has turned his back on our nation. 16 Then looked he unto the king, and said, Thou hast power over men, thou art corruptible, thou doest what thou wilt; yet think not that our nation is forsaken of God;
17 Just wait! God will use his mighty power to make you and your family suffer.” 17 But abide a while, and behold his great power, how he will torment thee and thy seed.
18 Next, they tortured the sixth brother. He was almost dead when he told the men, “Don't fool yourselves! We're suffering all these terrible things because we have disobeyed our God.
18 After him also they brought the sixth, who being ready to die said, Be not deceived without cause: for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God: therefore marvellous things are done unto us.
19 Now you're fighting against God, so don't think that you won't be punished too.” 19 But think not thou, that takest in hand to strive against God, that thou shalt escape unpunished.
20 The mother of these young men was a wonderful woman, and she deserves to be remembered with praise. She saw all seven of her sons die on the same day, but she was brave and never stopped trusting the Lord.
20 But the mother was marvellous above all, and worthy of honourable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bare it with a good courage, because of the hope that she had in the Lord.
21 She was a very special person, and with the feelings of a woman and the courage of a man, she encouraged each of her sons by telling them in their native language:
e 7.21 native language: See the note at verse 8.
21 Yea, she exhorted every one of them in her own language, filled with courageous spirits; and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly stomach, she said unto them,
22 My son, I don't understand how you grew inside me. I am not the one who gave you life and breath or shaped your bodies.
22 I cannot tell how ye came into my womb: for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I that formed the members of every one of you;
23 You are sacrificing your life to obey the laws of the God who created this world and all of its people. But God will be merciful and give life and breath back to you. 23 But doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as ye now regard not your own selves for his laws' sake.
24 From the way the mother was talking, King Antiochus could tell that she was insulting him and sneering at him. The youngest son was still alive. So Antiochus made all kinds of promises to the boy and tried to make him change his mind. He said, “If you will forget about the teachings of your ancestors, I will make you rich and respected. You will be one of my trusted friends
f 7.24 trusted friends: See the note at 1.13,14.
and a government official.”
24 Now Antiochus, thinking himself despised, and suspecting it to be a reproachful speech, whilst the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with oaths, that he would make him both a rich and a happy man, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers; and that also he would take him for his friend, and trust him with affairs.
25-26 When the boy refused to listen, the king turned to the mother, urging her to make the boy change his mind. Finally, she agreed
25 But when the young man would in no case hearken unto him, the king called his mother, and exhorted her that she would counsel the young man to save his life.
27 and leaned toward her son. She spoke in her native language and mocked the cruel king:
My son, have pity on me! Even before you were born, you grew inside my body for nine months. Then I nursed you at my breast for three years. And until this very day, I have looked after you and taken care of you.
27 But she bowing herself toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, spake in her country language on this manner; O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee such three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endured the troubles of education.
28 Now, I beg you to look at the heavens and the earth and think about what you see. God made all of this out of nothing, and he made us humans in the same way.
28 I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.
29 Don't be afraid of this butcher! Die willingly and show that you are just like your brothers. Then God will have pity and give you back to me on the day he gives me your brothers.
29 Fear not this tormentor, but, being worthy of thy brethren, take thy death that I may receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.
30 While the mother was still speaking, the boy said to the king:
What are you waiting for? I'm not going to obey your orders! I only obey God's teachings that Moses gave to our ancestors.
30 Whiles she was yet speaking these words, the young man said, Whom wait ye for? I will not obey the king's commandment: but I will obey the commandment of the law that was given unto our fathers by Moses.
31 You have caused terrible troubles for our people, but you won't escape the punishment God will send on you.
31 And thou, that hast been the author of all mischief against the Hebrews, shalt not escape the hands of God.
32-33 We have disobeyed God and made him angry with us. So for a little while the living Lord is letting us suffer because he wants to correct us and teach us to do right. But we are still his servants, and he will soon forgive us. 32 For we suffer because of our sins.
34 King Antiochus, you're the most disgusting and godless creature that ever lived. Stop acting so high and mighty, and stop making foolish promises to yourself as you torture God's people.
34 But thou, O godless man, and of all other most wicked, be not lifted up without a cause, nor puffed up with uncertain hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of God:
35 You will never escape God All-Powerful! He sees everything and will punish you. 35 For thou hast not yet escaped the judgment of Almighty God, who seeth all things.
36 My brothers stayed faithful to our sacred agreement with God. So for a little while they had to suffer. Now, however, they have drunk the water that gives eternal life.
g 7.36 My brothers ... eternal life: Or “My brothers suffered for a little while, then God let them drink the water that gives the eternal life he promised in our agreement with him.”
But because of your pride, God will judge you and punish you as you deserve.
36 For our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God's covenant of everlasting life: but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride.
37 I am willing to die along with my brothers for the laws of our ancestors. Meanwhile, I pray that God will soon forgive our people and show us mercy. I also pray that he will punish you so severely that you will finally confess that the Lord alone is God. 37 But I, as my brethren, offer up my body and life for the laws of our fathers, beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful unto our nation; and that thou by torments and plagues mayest confess, that he alone is God;
38 God All-Powerful was right to be angry with our whole nation. But I pray that his anger will end with the sufferings that my brothers and I are going through.
38 And that in me and my brethren the wrath of the Almighty, which is justly brought upon our nation, may cease.
39 When Antiochus realized that the boy was mocking him, he became more furious than ever and tortured him worse than the others.
39 Than the king' being in a rage, handed him worse than all the rest, and took it grievously that he was mocked.
40 So the boy died, completely trusting the Lord and still faithful to his beliefs. 40 So this man died undefiled, and put his whole trust in the Lord.
41 Last of all, the king put their mother to death.
41 Last of all after the sons the mother died.
42 Enough said about eating sacrifices and being tortured.
42 Let this be enough now to have spoken concerning the idolatrous feasts, and the extreme tortures.

© 1999 American Bible Society

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