1And 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.
2But 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.
3And the king fell into a rage, and commanded to heat pans and caldrons:
4and 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.
5And 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:
6The 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.
7And 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?
8But 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.
9And 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.
10And 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,
11and 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:
12insomuch 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.
13And when he too was dead, they shamefully handled and tortured the fourth in like manner.
14And 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.
15And next after him they brought the fifth, and shamefully handled him.
16But 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;
17but hold thou on thy way, and behold his sovereign majesty, how it will torture thee and thy seed.
18And 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;
19but think not thou that thou shalt be unpunished, having assayed to fight against God.
20But 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.
21And 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,
22I 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.
23Therefore 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.
24But 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.
25But 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.
26And when he had exhorted her with many words, she undertook to persuade her son.
27But 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.
28I 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.
29Fear 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.
30But 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.
31But thou, that hast devised all manner of evil against the Hebrews, shalt in no wise escape the hands of God.
32For we are suffering because of our own sins;
33and if for rebuke and chastening our living Lord hath been angered a little while, yet shall he again be reconciled with his own servants.
34But 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;
35For not yet hast thou escaped the judgement of the Almighty God that seeth all things.
36For 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.
37But 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;
38and that in me and my brethren thou mayest stay the wrath of the Almighty, which hath been justly brought upon our whole race.
39But the king, falling into a rage, handled him worse than all the rest, being exasperated at his mocking.
40So he also died pure from pollution, putting his whole trust in the Lord.
41And last of all after her sons the mother died.
42Let it then suffice to have said thus much concerning the enforcement of sacrificial feasts and the king’s exceeding barbarities.