4 Maccabees 11 (The torture and death of the sixth son)

4 Maccabees Chapter 11

The torture and death of the sixth son
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1 And when he had died, disfigured in his torments, the fifth leaped forward, and said,

2 I intend not, O tyrant, to get excused from the torment which is in behalf of virtue. 3 But I have come of my own accord, that by the death of me, you may owe heavenly vengeance a punishment for more crimes. 4 O thou hater of virtue and of men, what have we done that thou thus revellest in our blood? 5 Does it seem evil to thee that we worship the Founder of all things, and live according to his surpassing law? 6 But this is worthy of honours, not of torments; 7 hadst thou been capable of the higher feelings of men, and possessed the hope of salvation from God. 8 Behold, now, being alien from God, thou makest war against those who are religious toward God.

9 As he said this, the spearbearers bound him, and drew him to the catapelt: 10 to which binding him at the knees, and fastening them with iron fetters, they bent down his loins upon the wedge of the wheel; and his body was then dismembered, scorpion fashion. 11 With his breath thus confined, and his body strangled, he said, 12 A great favour thou bestowest upon us, O tyrant, by enabling us to manifest our adherence to the law by means of nobler sufferings.

13 He also being dead, the sixth, quite a youth, was brought out; and on the tyrant asking him whether he would eat and be delivered, he said,

14 I am indeed younger than my brothers, but in understanding I am as old; 15 for having been born and reared unto the same end, we are bound to die also in behalf of the same cause. 16 So that if you think proper to torment us for not eating the unclean; — torment!

17 As he said this, they brought him to the wheel. 18 Extended upon which, with limbs racked and dislocated, he was gradually roasted from beneath. 19 And having heated sharp spits, they approached them to his back; and having transfixed his sides, they burned away his entrails.

20 And he, while tormented, said, O period good and holy, in which, for the sake of religion, we brothers have been called to the contest of pain, and have not been conquered. 21 For religious understanding O tyrant, is unconquered. 22 Armed with upright virtue, I also shall depart with my brethren. 23 I, too, bearing with me a great avenger, O deviser of tortures, and enemy of the truly pious.

24 We six youths have destroyed thy tyranny. 25 For is not your inability to overrule our reasoning, thy destruction? 26 Your fire is cold to us, your catapelts are painless, and your violence harmless. 27 For the guards not of a tyrant but of a divine law are our defenders: through this we keep our reasoning unconquered.

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