Chapter 18 (IV. Maccabees)

Israelite children, all you who are descended from Abraham, obey this Law and worship God in every situation. 2 Don't doubt that godly thinking rules over the emotions. This includes not only desires and the feelings that come from the inside but also the suffering that comes from the outside. 3 Because of this, those who gave up their bodies to suffering for the sake of the godly way of life not only won human admiration but were also judged to be worthy of a divine reward. 4 The nation was at peace again because of them. Once obedience to the Law had been revived across the nation, they slaughtered their enemies. 5 The tyrant Antiochus was punished on earth, and he continues to be punished after death. By no means could he force the Israelites to adopt a foreign way of life and to change the customs of their ancestors in any way, and so he left Jerusalem and marched out against Persia.

6 The mother of the seven sons also shared these moral principles with her children: 7 "I was a virgin who was sexually pure: I didn't go outside of my father's house, but I carefully took care of the body that was formed from a rib. 8 No man who takes advantage of women ever tempted me to have sex in an isolated field. The destructive, lying snake didn't ruin my innocence either. 9 When I was in my prime, I lived with my husband. He died when my children had grown up. He was privileged to have lived his life enjoying good children, and to have been spared the pain of losing them. 10 While he was still with you, he used to teach you the Law and the Prophets.

11 He read to you about Abel, who was killed by Cain, and about Isaac, who was offered as an entirely burned sacrifice, and about Joseph in prison. 12 He used to tell you about Phinehas' total commitment, and to teach you about Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fire. 13 He used to praise Daniel in the lions' den—he called Daniel privileged. 14 He kept reminding you about the scripture in Isaiah that says, Even if you go through fire, the flame will not burn you up. 15 He used to sing to you the songs of David the psalmist, who said, The righteous person is bothered by many trials.

16 He used to quote Solomon's proverb: There is a tree that gives life for those who do what God wants. 17 He reinforced the truth of Ezekiel, where it says, Will these dry bones live? 18 And he didn't forget to teach you the song that Moses taught, which says, 19 I kill and I bring things to life: this is your life and the length of your days." 20 How that day was bitter and yet not bitter! That was when the bitter Greek tyrant smothered fire with more fire in his cruel copper pots. That was when he dragged those seven sons of that daughter of Abraham back and forth in his furious anger between the catapult and other torture devices.

21 That was when he skewered their eyes through the pupils, cut out their tongues, and put them to death with all kinds of torture. 22 Because of these acts, divine justice pursued and will pursue the cursed tyrant. 23 The sons of Abraham together with their prizewinning mother have been joined with the chorus of their ancestors and have been given pure and immortal souls by God, 24 to whom belongs the glory forever and always. Amen.

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