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4 Maccabees 11

The Torture of the Fifth and Sixth Brothers

11When he too died, after being cruelly tortured, the fifth leapt up, saying, 2‘I will not refuse, tyrant, to be tortured for the sake of virtue. 3I have come of my own accord, so that by murdering me you will incur punishment from the heavenly justice for even more crimes. 4Hater of virtue, hater of humankind, for what act of ours are you destroying us in this way? 5Is it because* we revere the Creator of all things and live according to his virtuous law? 6But these deeds deserve honours, not tortures.’* 9While he was saying these things, the guards bound him and dragged him to the catapult; 10they tied him to it on his knees, and fitting iron clamps on them, they twisted his back* around the wedge on the wheel,* so that he was completely curled back like a scorpion, and all his members were disjointed. 11In this condition, gasping for breath and in anguish of body, 12he said, ‘Tyrant, they are splendid favours that you grant us against your will, because through these noble sufferings you give us an opportunity to show our endurance for the law.’

13 When he too had died, the sixth, a mere boy, was led in. When the tyrant inquired whether he was willing to eat and be released, he said, 14‘I am younger in age than my brothers, but I am their equal in mind. 15Since to this end we were born and bred, we ought likewise to die for the same principles. 16So if you intend to torture me for not eating defiling foods, go on torturing!’ 17When he had said this, they led him to the wheel. 18He was carefully stretched tight upon it, his back was broken, and he was roasted* from underneath. 19To his back they applied sharp spits that had been heated in the fire, and pierced his ribs so that his entrails were burned through. 20While being tortured he said, ‘O contest befitting holiness, in which so many of us brothers have been summoned to an arena of sufferings for religion, and in which we have not been defeated! 21For religious knowledge, O tyrant, is invincible. 22I also, equipped with nobility, will die with my brothers, 23and I myself will bring a great avenger upon you, you inventor of tortures and enemy of those who are truly devout. 24We six boys have paralysed your tyranny. 25Since you have not been able to persuade us to change our mind or to force us to eat defiling foods, is not this your downfall? 26Your fire is cold to us, and the catapults painless, and your violence powerless. 27For it is not the guards of the tyrant but those of the divine law that are set over us; therefore, unconquered, we hold fast to reason.’

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14 July 2018

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.