7It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and thongs, to partake of unlawful swines flesh. 2One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.
3 The king fell into a rage, and gave orders to have pans and cauldrons heated. 4These were heated immediately, and he commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out and that they scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. 5When he was utterly helpless, the king* ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers* and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, saying, 6The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song that bore witness against the people to their faces, when he said, And he will have compassion on his servants. *
7 After the first brother had died in this way, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore off the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, Will you eat rather than have your body punished limb by limb? 8He replied in the language of his ancestors and said to them, No. Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. 9And when he was at his last breath, he said, You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.
10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11and said nobly, I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again. 12As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young mans spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing.
13 After he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14When he was near death, he said, One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011