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2 Macabees 6


1 Not long after this the king sent an old man of Athens to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God:

2 And to pollute also the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius; and that in Garizim, of Jupiter the Defender of strangers, as they did desire that dwelt in the place.

3 The coming in of this mischief was sore and grievous to the people:

4 For the temple was filled with riot and revelling by the Gentiles, who dallied with harlots, and had to do with women within the circuit of the holy places, and besides that brought in things that were not lawful.

5 The altar also was filled with profane things, which the law forbiddeth.

6 Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath days or ancient fasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Jew.

7 And in the day of the king's birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices; and when the fast of Bacchus was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in procession to Bacchus, carrying ivy.

8 Moreover there went out a decree to the neighbour cities of the heathen, by the suggestion of Ptolemee, against the Jews, that they should observe the same fashions, and be partakers of their sacrifices:

9 And whoso would not conform themselves to the manners of the Gentiles should be put to death. Then might a man have seen the present misery.

10 For there were two women brought, who had circumcised their children; whom when they had openly led round about the city, the babes handing at their breasts, they cast them down headlong from the wall.

11 And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honour of the most sacred day.

12 Now I beseech those that read this book, that they be not discouraged for these calamities, but that they judge those punishments not to be for destruction, but for a chastening of our nation.

13 For it is a token of his great goodness, when wicked doers are not suffered any long time, but forthwith punished.

14 For not as with other nations, whom the Lord patiently forbeareth to punish, till they be come to the fulness of their sins, so dealeth he with us,

15 Lest that, being come to the height of sin, afterwards he should take vengeance of us.

16 And therefore he never withdraweth his mercy from us: and though he punish with adversity, yet doth he never forsake his people.

17 But let this that we at spoken be for a warning unto us. And now will we come to the declaring of the matter in a few words.

18 Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a well favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine's flesh.

19 But he, choosing rather to die gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment,

20 As it behoved them to come, that are resolute to stand out against such things, as are not lawful for love of life to be tasted.

21 But they that had the charge of that wicked feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of his own provision, such as was lawful for him to use, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king;

22 That in so doing he might be delivered from death, and for the old friendship with them find favour.

23 But he began to consider discreetly, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his gray head, whereon was come, and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God: therefore he answered accordingly, and willed them straightways to send him to the grave.

24 For it becometh not our age, said he, in any wise to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and ten, were now gone to a strange religion;

25 And so they through mine hypocrisy, and desire to live a little time and a moment longer, should be deceived by me, and I get a stain to mine old age, and make it abominable.

26 For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men: yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive, nor dead.

27 Wherefore now, manfully changing this life, I will shew myself such an one as mine age requireth,

28 And leave a notable example to such as be young to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws. And when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment:

29 They that led him changing the good will they bare him a little before into hatred, because the foresaid speeches proceeded, as they thought, from a desperate mind.

30 But when he was ready to die with stripes, he groaned, and said, It is manifest unto the Lord, that hath the holy knowledge, that whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body by being beaten: but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear him.

31 And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all his nation.


1 μετ᾽ οὐ πολὺν δὲ χρόνον ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ βασιλεὺς γέροντα Ἀθηναῖον ἀναγκάζειν τοὺς Ιουδαίους μεταβαίνειν ἀπὸ τῶν πατρίων νόμων καὶ τοῖς τοῦ θεοῦ νόμοις μὴ πολιτεύεσθαι

2 μολῦναι δὲ καὶ τὸν ἐν Ιεροσολύμοις νεὼ καὶ προσονομάσαι Διὸς Ὀλυμπίου καὶ τὸν ἐν Γαριζιν καθὼς ἐτύγχανον οἱ τὸν τόπον οἰκοῦντες Διὸς Ξενίου

3 χαλεπὴ δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὅλοις ἦν δυσχερὴς ἡ ἐπίτασις τῆς κακίας

4 τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἱερὸν ἀσωτίας καὶ κώμων ὑπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐπεπληροῦτο ῥᾳθυμούντων μεθ᾽ ἑταιρῶν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς περιβόλοις γυναιξὶ πλησιαζόντων ἔτι δὲ τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα ἔνδον εἰσφερόντων

5 τὸ δὲ θυσιαστήριον τοῖς ἀποδιεσταλμένοις ἀπὸ τῶν νόμων ἀθεμίτοις ἐπεπλήρωτο

6 ἦν δ᾽ οὔτε σαββατίζειν οὔτε πατρῴους ἑορτὰς διαφυλάττειν οὔτε ἁπλῶς Ιουδαῖον ὁμολογεῖν εἶναι

7 ἤγοντο δὲ μετὰ πικρᾶς ἀνάγκης εἰς τὴν κατὰ μῆνα τοῦ βασιλέως γενέθλιον ἡμέραν ἐπὶ σπλαγχνισμόν γενομένης δὲ Διονυσίων ἑορτῆς ἠναγκάζοντο κισσοὺς ἔχοντες πομπεύειν τῷ Διονύσῳ

8 ψήφισμα δὲ ἐξέπεσεν εἰς τὰς ἀστυγείτονας Ἑλληνίδας πόλεις Πτολεμαίου ὑποθεμένου τὴν αὐτὴν ἀγωγὴν κατὰ τῶν Ιουδαίων ἄγειν καὶ σπλαγχνίζειν

9 τοὺς δὲ μὴ προαιρουμένους μεταβαίνειν ἐπὶ τὰ ἑλληνικὰ κατασφάζειν παρῆν οὖν ὁρᾶν τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ταλαιπωρίαν

10 δύο γὰρ γυναῖκες ἀνήχθησαν περιτετμηκυῖαι τὰ τέκνα τούτων δὲ ἐκ τῶν μαστῶν κρεμάσαντες τὰ βρέφη καὶ δημοσίᾳ περιαγαγόντες αὐτὰς τὴν πόλιν κατὰ τοῦ τείχους ἐκρήμνισαν

11 ἕτεροι δὲ πλησίον συνδραμόντες εἰς τὰ σπήλαια λεληθότως ἄγειν τὴν ἑβδομάδα μηνυθέντες τῷ Φιλίππῳ συνεφλογίσθησαν διὰ τὸ εὐλαβῶς ἔχειν βοηθῆσαι ἑαυτοῖς κατὰ τὴν δόξαν τῆς σεμνοτάτης ἡμέρας

12 παρακαλῶ οὖν τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας τῇδε τῇ βίβλῳ μὴ συστέλλεσθαι διὰ τὰς συμφοράς λογίζεσθαι δὲ τὰς τιμωρίας μὴ πρὸς ὄλεθρον ἀλλὰ πρὸς παιδείαν τοῦ γένους ἡμῶν εἶναι

13 καὶ γὰρ τὸ μὴ πολὺν χρόνον ἐᾶσθαι τοὺς δυσσεβοῦντας ἀλλ᾽ εὐθέως περιπίπτειν ἐπιτίμοις μεγάλης εὐεργεσίας σημεῖόν ἐστιν

14 οὐ γὰρ καθάπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἐθνῶν ἀναμένει μακροθυμῶν ὁ δεσπότης μέχρι τοῦ καταντήσαντας αὐτοὺς πρὸς ἐκπλήρωσιν ἁμαρτιῶν κολάσαι οὕτως καὶ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔκρινεν εἶναι

15 ἵνα μὴ πρὸς τέλος ἀφικομένων ἡμῶν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὕστερον ἡμᾶς ἐκδικᾷ

16 διόπερ οὐδέποτε μὲν τὸν ἔλεον ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν ἀφίστησιν παιδεύων δὲ μετὰ συμφορᾶς οὐκ ἐγκαταλείπει τὸν ἑαυτοῦ λαόν

17 πλὴν ἕως ὑπομνήσεως ταῦθ᾽ ἡμῖν εἰρήσθω δι᾽ ὀλίγων δ᾽ ἐλευστέον ἐπὶ τὴν διήγησιν

18 Ελεάζαρός τις τῶν πρωτευόντων γραμματέων ἀνὴρ ἤδη προβεβηκὼς τὴν ἡλικίαν καὶ τὴν πρόσοψιν τοῦ προσώπου κάλλιστος ἀναχανὼν ἠναγκάζετο φαγεῖν ὕειον κρέας

19 ὁ δὲ τὸν μετ᾽ εὐκλείας θάνατον μᾶλλον ἢ τὸν μετὰ μύσους βίον ἀναδεξάμενος αὐθαιρέτως ἐπὶ τὸ τύμπανον προσῆγεν

20 προπτύσας δὲ καθ᾽ ὃν ἔδει τρόπον προσέρχεσθαι τοὺς ὑπομένοντας ἀμύνασθαι ὧν οὐ θέμις γεύσασθαι διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸ ζῆν φιλοστοργίαν

21 οἱ δὲ πρὸς τῷ παρανόμῳ σπλαγχνισμῷ τεταγμένοι διὰ τὴν ἐκ τῶν παλαιῶν χρόνων πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα γνῶσιν ἀπολαβόντες αὐτὸν κατ᾽ ἰδίαν παρεκάλουν ἐνέγκαντα κρέα οἷς καθῆκον αὐτῷ χρᾶσθαι δι᾽ αὐτοῦ παρασκευασθέντα ὑποκριθῆναι δὲ ὡς ἐσθίοντα τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως προστεταγμένα τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς θυσίας κρεῶν

22 ἵνα τοῦτο πράξας ἀπολυθῇ τοῦ θανάτου καὶ διὰ τὴν ἀρχαίαν πρὸς αὐτοὺς φιλίαν τύχῃ φιλανθρωπίας

23 ὁ δὲ λογισμὸν ἀστεῖον ἀναλαβὼν καὶ ἄξιον τῆς ἡλικίας καὶ τῆς τοῦ γήρως ὑπεροχῆς καὶ τῆς ἐπικτήτου καὶ ἐπιφανοῦς πολιᾶς καὶ τῆς ἐκ παιδὸς καλλίστης ἀναστροφῆς μᾶλλον δὲ τῆς ἁγίας καὶ θεοκτίστου νομοθεσίας ἀκολούθως ἀπεφήνατο ταχέως λέγων προπέμπειν εἰς τὸν ᾅδην

24 οὐ γὰρ τῆς ἡμετέρας ἡλικίας ἄξιόν ἐστιν ὑποκριθῆναι ἵνα πολλοὶ τῶν νέων ὑπολαβόντες Ελεαζαρον τὸν ἐνενηκονταετῆ μεταβεβηκέναι εἰς ἀλλοφυλισμὸν

25 καὶ αὐτοὶ διὰ τὴν ἐμὴν ὑπόκρισιν καὶ διὰ τὸ μικρὸν καὶ ἀκαριαῖον ζῆν πλανηθῶσιν δι᾽ ἐμέ καὶ μύσος καὶ κηλῖδα τοῦ γήρως κατακτήσωμαι

26 εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος ἐξελοῦμαι τὴν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων τιμωρίαν ἀλλὰ τὰς τοῦ παντοκράτορος χεῖρας οὔτε ζῶν οὔτε ἀποθανὼν ἐκφεύξομαι

27 διόπερ ἀνδρείως μὲν νῦν διαλλάξας τὸν βίον τοῦ μὲν γήρως ἄξιος φανήσομαι

28 τοῖς δὲ νέοις ὑπόδειγμα γενναῖον καταλελοιπὼς εἰς τὸ προθύμως καὶ γενναίως ὑπὲρ τῶν σεμνῶν καὶ ἁγίων νόμων ἀπευθανατίζειν τοσαῦτα δὲ εἰπὼν ἐπὶ τὸ τύμπανον εὐθέως ἦλθεν

29 τῶν δὲ ἀγόντων πρὸς αὐτὸν τὴν μικρῷ πρότερον εὐμένειαν εἰς δυσμένειαν μεταβαλόντων διὰ τὸ τοὺς προειρημένους λόγους ὡς αὐτοὶ διελάμβανον ἀπόνοιαν εἶναι

30 μέλλων δὲ ταῖς πληγαῖς τελευτᾶν ἀναστενάξας εἶπεν τῷ κυρίῳ τῷ τὴν ἁγίαν γνῶσιν ἔχοντι φανερόν ἐστιν ὅτι δυνάμενος ἀπολυθῆναι τοῦ θανάτου σκληρὰς ὑποφέρω κατὰ τὸ σῶμα ἀλγηδόνας μαστιγούμενος κατὰ ψυχὴν δὲ ἡδέως διὰ τὸν αὐτοῦ φόβον ταῦτα πάσχω

31 καὶ οὗτος οὖν τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον μετήλλαξεν οὐ μόνον τοῖς νέοις ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς πλείστοις τοῦ ἔθνους τὸν ἑαυτοῦ θάνατον ὑπόδειγμα γενναιότητος καὶ μνημόσυνον ἀρετῆς καταλιπών


1 Sed non post multum temporis, misit rex senem quemdam Antiochenum, qui compelleret Judæos ut se transferrent a patriis et Dei legibus:

2 contaminare etiam quod in Jerosolymis erat templum, et cognominare Jovis Olympii: et in Garizim, prout erant hi qui locum inhabitabant, Jovis hospitalis.

3 Pessima autem et universis gravis erat malorum incursio:

4 nam templum luxuria et comessationibus gentium erat plenum, et scortantium cum meretricibus: sacratisque ædibus mulieres se ultro ingerebant, intro ferentes ea quæ non licebat.

5 Altare etiam plenum erat illicitis, quæ legibus prohibebantur.

6 Neque autem sabbata custodiebantur, neque dies solemnes patrii servabantur, nec simpliciter Judæum se esse quisquam confitebatur.

7 Ducebantur autem cum amara necessitate in die natalis regis ad sacrificia: et cum Liberi sacra celebrarentur, cogebantur hedera coronati Libero circuire.

8 Decretum autem exiit in proximas gentilium civitates, suggerentibus Ptolemæis, ut pari modo et ipsi adversus Judæos agerent, ut sacrificarent:

9 eos autem qui nollent transire ad instituta gentium, interficerent: erat ergo videre miseriam.

10 Duæ enim mulieres delatæ sunt natos suos circumcidisse: quas, infantibus ad ubera suspensis, cum publice per civitatem circumduxissent, per muros præcipitaverunt.

11 Alii vero, ad proximas coëuntes speluncas, et latenter sabbati diem celebrantes, cum indicati essent Philippo, flammis succensi sunt, eo quod verebantur propter religionem et observantiam manu sibimet auxilium ferre.

12 Obsecro autem eos qui hunc librum lecturi sunt, ne abhorrescant propter adversos casus: sed reputent ea quæ acciderunt, non ad interitum, sed ad correptionem esse generis nostri.

13 Etenim multo tempore non sinere peccatoribus ex sententia agere, sed statim ultiones adhibere, magni beneficii est indicium.

14 Non enim, sicut in aliis nationibus, Dominus patienter exspectat, ut eas cum judicii dies advenerit, in plenitudine peccatorum puniat:

15 ita et in nobis statuit ut, peccatis nostris in finem devolutis, ita demum in nos vindicet.

16 Propter quod numquam quidem a nobis misericordiam suam amovet: corripiens vero in adversis, populum suum non dereliquit.

17 Sed hæc nobis ad commonitionem legentium dicta sint paucis. Jam enim veniendum est ad narrationem.

18 Igitur Eleazarus, unus de primoribus scribarum, vir ætate provectus, et vultu decorus, aperto ore hians compellebatur carnem porcinam manducare.

19 At ille gloriosissimam mortem magis quam odibilem vitam complectens, voluntarie præibat ad supplicium.

20 Intuens autem quemadmodum oporteret accedere, patienter sustinens, destinavit non admittere illicita propter vitæ amorem.

21 Hi autem qui astabant, iniqua miseratione commoti propter antiquam viri amicitiam, tollentes eum secreto rogabant afferri carnes quibus vesci ei licebat, ut simularetur manducasse sicut rex imperaverat de sacrificii carnibus,

22 ut hoc facto, a morte liberaretur: et propter veterem viri amicitiam, hanc in eo faciebant humanitatem.

23 At ille cogitare cœpit ætatis ac senectutis suæ eminentiam dignam, et ingenitæ nobilitatis canitiem, atque a puero optimæ conversationis actus: et secundum sanctæ et a Deo conditæ legis constituta, respondit cito, dicens præmitti se velle in infernum.

24 Non enim ætati nostræ dignum est, inquit, fingere: ut multi adolescentium, arbitrantes Eleazarum nonaginta annorum transisse ad vitam alienigenarum,

25 et ipsi propter meam simulationem, et propter modicum corruptibilis vitæ tempus decipiantur, et per hoc maculam atque execrationem meæ senectuti conquiram.

26 Nam etsi in præsenti tempore suppliciis hominum eripiar, sed manum Omnipotentis nec vivus, nec defunctus, effugiam.

27 Quam ob rem fortiter vita excedendo, senectute quidem dignus apparebo:

28 adolescentibus autem exemplum forte relinquam, si prompto animo ac fortiter pro gravissimis ac sanctissimis legibus honesta morte perfungar. His dictis, confestim ad supplicium trahebatur.

29 Hi autem qui eum ducebant, et paulo ante fuerant mitiores, in iram conversi sunt propter sermones ab eo dictos, quos illi per arrogantiam prolatos arbitrabantur.

30 Sed cum plagis perimeretur, ingemuit, et dixit: Domine, qui habes sanctam scientiam, manifeste tu scis quia cum a morte possem liberari, duros corporis sustineo dolores: secundum animam vero propter timorem tuum libenter hæc patior.

31 Et iste quidem hoc modo vita decessit, non solum juvenibus, sed et universæ genti memoriam mortis suæ ad exemplum virtutis et fortitudinis derelinquens.

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