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18

O Israelite children, offspring of the seed of Abraham, obey this law and exercise piety in every way, 2knowing that devout reason is master of all emotions, not only of sufferings from within, but also of those from without.

3 Therefore those who gave over their bodies in suffering for the sake of religion were not only admired by mortals, but also were deemed worthy to share in a divine inheritance. 4Because of them the nation gained peace, and by reviving observance of the law in the homeland they ravaged the enemy. 5The tyrant Antiochus was both punished on earth and is being chastised after his death. Since in no way whatever was he able to compel the Israelites to become pagans and to abandon their ancestral customs, he left Jerusalem and marched against the Persians.

The Mother’s Address to Her Children

6 The mother of seven sons expressed also these principles to her children: 7“I was a pure virgin and did not go outside my father’s house; but I guarded the rib from which woman was made. 8No seducer corrupted me on a desert plain, nor did the destroyer, the deceitful serpent, defile the purity of my virginity. 9In the time of my maturity I remained with my husband, and when these sons had grown up their father died. A happy man was he, who lived out his life with good children, and did not have the grief of bereavement. 10While he was still with you, he taught you the law and the prophets. 11He read to you about Abel slain by Cain, and Isaac who was offered as a burnt offering, and about Joseph in prison. 12He told you of the zeal of Phinehas, and he taught you about Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fire. 13He praised Daniel in the den of the lions and blessed him. 14He reminded you of the scripture of Isaiah, which says, ‘Even though you go through the fire, the flame shall not consume you.’ 15He sang to you songs of the psalmist David, who said, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous.’ 16He recounted to you Solomon’s proverb, ‘There is a tree of life for those who do his will.’ 17He confirmed the query of Ezekiel, ‘Shall these dry bones live?’ 18For he did not forget to teach you the song that Moses taught, which says, 19‘I kill and I make alive: this is your life and the length of your days.’ ”

20 O bitter was that day—and yet not bitter—when that bitter tyrant of the Greeks quenched fire with fire in his cruel caldrons, and in his burning rage brought those seven sons of the daughter of Abraham to the catapult and back again to more tortures, 21pierced the pupils of their eyes and cut out their tongues, and put them to death with various tortures. 22For these crimes divine justice pursued and will pursue the accursed tyrant. 23But the sons of Abraham with their victorious mother are gathered together into the chorus of the fathers, and have received pure and immortal souls from God, 24to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


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The Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary does not cover 4 Maccabees 18.




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