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.
20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable memory. Although she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21She encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors. Filled with a noble spirit, she reinforced her womans reasoning with a mans courage, and said to them, 22I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.
24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus* not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors, and that he would take him for his Friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native language as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: My son, have pity on me. I carried you for nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you.* 28I beg you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed.* And in the same way the human race came into being. 29Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in Gods mercy I may get you back again along with your brothers.
30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, What are you* waiting for? I will not obey the kings command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our ancestors through Moses. 31But you,* who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God.
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