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2 Maccabees 7-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 7

Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons. It also happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law. One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to learn by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”

At that the king, in a fury, gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. These were quickly heated, and he gave the order to cut out the tongue of the one who had spoken for the others, to scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of his brothers and his mother looked on. When he was completely maimed but still breathing, the king ordered them to carry him to the fire and fry him. As a cloud of smoke spread from the pan, the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, with these words: “The Lord God is looking on and truly has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song, when he openly bore witness, saying, ‘And God will have compassion on his servants.’”

After the first brother had died in this manner, they brought the second to be made sport of. After tearing off the skin and hair of his head, they asked him, “Will you eat the pork rather than have your body tortured limb by limb?” Answering in the language of his ancestors, he said, “Never!” So he in turn suffered the same tortures as the first. With his last breath he said: “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up[a] to live again forever, because we are dying for his laws.”

10 After him the third suffered their cruel sport. He put forth his tongue at once when told to do so, and bravely stretched out his hands, 11 as he spoke these noble words: “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again.” 12 Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s spirit, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

13 After he had died, they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way. 14 When he was near death, he said, “It is my choice to die at the hands of mortals with the hope that God will restore me to life; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”

15 They next brought forward the fifth brother and maltreated him. 16 Looking at the king, he said: “Mortal though you are, you have power over human beings, so you do what you please. But do not think that our nation is forsaken by God. 17 Only wait, and you will see how his great power will torment you and your descendants.”

18 After him they brought the sixth brother. When he was about to die, he said: “Have no vain illusions. We suffer these things on our own account, because we have sinned against our God; that is why such shocking things have happened. 19 Do not think, then, that you will go unpunished for having dared to fight against God.”

20 Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother who, seeing her seven sons perish in a single day, bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord. 21 Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly reason with manly emotion, she exhorted each of them in the language of their ancestors with these words: 22 “I do not know how you came to be in my womb; it was not I who gave you breath and life, nor was it I who arranged the elements you are made of. 23 Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shaped the beginning of humankind and brought about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”

24 Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words, thought he was being ridiculed. As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him, not with mere words, but with promises on oath, to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs: he would make him his Friend and entrust him with high office. 25 When the youth paid no attention to him at all, the king appealed to the mother, urging her to advise her boy to save his life. 26 After he had urged her for a long time, she agreed to persuade her son. 27 She leaned over close to him and, in derision of the cruel tyrant, said in their native language: “Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three years, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age. 28 I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things.[b] In the same way humankind came into existence. 29 Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with your brothers.”

30 She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said: “What is the delay? I will not obey the king’s command. I obey the command of the law given to our ancestors through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived every kind of evil for the Hebrews, will not escape the hands of God. 32 We, indeed, are suffering because of our sins. 33 Though for a little while our living Lord has been angry, correcting and chastising us, he will again be reconciled with his servants. 34 But you, wretch, most vile of mortals, do not, in your insolence, buoy yourself up with unfounded hopes, as you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty and all-seeing God. 36 Our brothers, after enduring brief pain, have drunk of never-failing life, under God’s covenant. But you, by the judgment of God, shall receive just punishments for your arrogance. 37 Like my brothers, I offer up my body and my life for our ancestral laws, imploring God to show mercy soon to our nation, and by afflictions and blows to make you confess that he alone is God. 38 Through me and my brothers, may there be an end to the wrath of the Almighty that has justly fallen on our whole nation.”

39 At that, the king became enraged and treated him even worse than the others, since he bitterly resented the boy’s contempt. 40 Thus he too died undefiled, putting all his trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, after her sons, the mother was put to death. 42 Enough has been said about the sacrificial meals and the excessive cruelties.

V. Victories of Judas and Purification of the Temple

Chapter 8

Resistance from Judas Maccabeus. Judas Maccabeus and his companions entered the villages secretly, summoned their kindred, and enlisted others who had remained faithful to Judaism. Thus they assembled about six thousand men. They implored the Lord to look kindly upon this people, who were being oppressed by all; to have pity on the sanctuary, which was profaned by renegades; to have mercy on the city, which was being destroyed and was about to be leveled to the ground; to listen to the blood that cried out to him; to remember the criminal slaughter of innocent children and the blasphemies uttered against his name; and to manifest his hatred of evil.

Once Maccabeus got his men organized, the Gentiles could not withstand him, for the Lord’s wrath had now changed to mercy. Coming by surprise upon towns and villages, he set them on fire. He captured strategic positions, and put to flight not a few of the enemy. He preferred the nights as being especially favorable for such attacks. Soon talk of his valor spread everywhere.

First Victory over Nicanor.[c] When Philip saw that Judas was gaining ground little by little and that his successful advances were becoming more frequent, he wrote to Ptolemy, governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, to come to the aid of the king’s interests. Ptolemy promptly selected Nicanor, son of Patroclus, one of the Chief Friends, and sent him at the head of at least twenty thousand armed men of various nations to wipe out the entire Jewish nation. With him he associated Gorgias, a general, experienced in the art of war. 10 Nicanor planned to raise the two thousand talents of tribute owed by the king to the Romans[d] by selling captured Jews into slavery. 11 So he immediately sent word to the coastal cities, inviting them to buy Jewish slaves and promising to deliver ninety slaves for a talent[e]—little anticipating the punishment that was to fall upon him from the Almighty.

12 When Judas learned of Nicanor’s advance and informed his companions about the approach of the army, 13 those who were fearful and those who lacked faith in God’s justice deserted and got away. 14 But the others sold everything they had left, and at the same time entreated the Lord to deliver those whom the ungodly Nicanor had sold before even capturing them. 15 They entreated the Lord to do this, if not for their sake, at least for the sake of the covenants made with their ancestors, and because they themselves invoked his holy and glorious name. 16 Maccabeus assembled his forces, six thousand strong, and exhorted them not to be panic-stricken before the enemy, nor to fear the very large number of Gentiles unjustly attacking them, but to fight nobly. 17 They were to keep before their eyes the lawless outrage perpetrated by the Gentiles against the holy place and the affliction of the humiliated city, as well as the subversion of their ancestral way of life. 18 He said, “They trust in weapons and acts of daring, but we trust in almighty God, who can by a mere nod destroy not only those who attack us but even the whole world.” 19 He went on to tell them of the times when help had been given their ancestors: both the time of Sennacherib, when a hundred and eighty-five thousand of his men perished, 20 and the time of the battle in Babylonia against the Galatians,[f] when only eight thousand Jews fought along with four thousand Macedonians; yet when the Macedonians were hard pressed, the eight thousand, by the help they received from Heaven, destroyed one hundred and twenty thousand and took a great quantity of spoils. 21 With these words he encouraged them and made them ready to die for their laws and their country.

Then Judas divided his army into four, 22 placing his brothers, Simon, Joseph,[g] and Jonathan, each over a division, assigning them fifteen hundred men apiece. 23 There was also Eleazar.[h] After reading to them from the holy book and giving them the watchword, “The help of God,” Judas himself took charge of the first division and joined in battle with Nicanor. 24 With the Almighty as their ally, they killed more than nine thousand of the enemy, wounded and disabled the greater part of Nicanor’s army, and put all of them to flight. 25 They also seized the money of those who had come to buy them as slaves. When they had pursued the enemy for some time, they were obliged to return by reason of the late hour. 26 It was the day before the sabbath, and for that reason they could not continue the pursuit. 27 They collected the enemy’s weapons and stripped them of their spoils, and then observed the sabbath with fervent praise and thanks to the Lord who kept them safe for that day on which he allotted them the beginning of his mercy. 28 After the sabbath, they gave a share of the spoils to those who were tortured and to widows and orphans; the rest they divided among themselves and their children. 29 When this was done, they made supplication in common, imploring the merciful Lord to be completely reconciled with his servants.

Other Victories. 30 They also challenged the forces of Timothy and Bacchides, killed more than twenty thousand of them, and captured some very high fortresses. They divided the considerable plunder, allotting half to themselves and the rest to victims of torture, orphans, widows, and the aged. 31 They collected the enemies’ weapons and carefully stored them in strategic places; the rest of the spoils they carried to Jerusalem. 32 They also killed the commander of Timothy’s forces, a most wicked man, who had done great harm to the Jews. 33 While celebrating the victory in their ancestral city, they burned both those who had set fire to the sacred gates and Callisthenes, who had taken refuge in a little house; so he received the reward his wicked deeds deserved.

34 The thrice-accursed Nicanor, who had brought the thousand slave dealers to buy the Jews, 35 after being humbled through the Lord’s help by those whom he had thought of no account, laid aside his fine clothes and fled alone across country like a runaway slave, until he reached Antioch. He was eminently successful in destroying his own army. 36 So he who had promised to provide tribute for the Romans by the capture of the people of Jerusalem proclaimed that the Jews had a champion, and that because they followed the laws laid down by him, they were unharmed.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:9 The King of the universe will raise us up: here, and in vv. 11, 14, 23, 29, 36, belief in the future resurrection of the body, at least for the just, is clearly stated; cf. also 12:44; 14:46; Dn 12:2.
  2. 7:28 God did not make them out of existing things: that is, all things were made solely by God’s omnipotent will and creative word; cf. Hb 11:3. This statement has often been taken as a basis for “creation out of nothing” (Latin creatio ex nihilo).
  3. 8:8–29, 34–35 This account of the campaign of Nicanor and Gorgias against Judas is paralleled, with certain differences, in 1 Mc 3:38–4:24.
  4. 8:10 Tribute owed by the king to the Romans: the payment imposed on Antiochus III in 188 B.C. by the treaty of Apamea.
  5. 8:11 Ninety slaves for a talent: a low price for so many slaves, thus expressing the opponents’ contempt for the Jews.
  6. 8:20 Galatians: a mercenary force, defeated by Jews and Macedonians in Babylon. Nothing else is known about this battle.
  7. 8:22 Joseph: called John in 1 Mc 2:2; 9:36, 38. This paragraph interrupts the story of Nicanor’s defeat, which is resumed in v. 34. The purpose of the author apparently is to group together the defeats suffered by the Syrians on various occasions. Battles against Timothy are recounted in 1 Mc 5:37–44 and 2 Mc 12:10–25; against Bacchides, in 1 Mc 7:8–20.
  8. 8:23 Eleazar: this parenthetical reference notes the existence of a fifth brother; cf. 1 Mc 2:5.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wisdom 3:10-19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

10 But the wicked shall receive a punishment to match their thoughts,[a]
    since they neglected righteousness and forsook the Lord.
11 For those who despise wisdom and instruction are doomed.
Vain is their hope, fruitless their labors,
    and worthless their works.
12 Their wives are foolish and their children wicked,
    accursed their brood.

B. On Childlessness[b]

13 Yes, blessed is she who, childless and undefiled,
    never knew transgression of the marriage bed;
    for she shall bear fruit at the judgment of souls.[c]
14 So also the eunuch whose hand wrought no misdeed,
    who held no wicked thoughts against the Lord
For he shall be given fidelity’s choice reward[d]
    and a more gratifying heritage in the Lord’s temple.
15 For the fruit of noble struggles is a glorious one;
    and unfailing is the root of understanding.[e]
16 But the children of adulterers[f] will remain without issue,
    and the progeny of an unlawful bed will disappear.
17 For should they attain long life, they will be held in no esteem,
    and dishonored will their old age be in the end;
18 Should they die abruptly, they will have no hope
    nor comfort in the day of scrutiny;
19     for dire is the end of the wicked generation.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:10 To match their thoughts: a fate as empty as that which they describe in 2:1–5.
  2. 3:13–4:6 The true fruit of life is not children but virtue which leads to immortality. The many children of the wicked will be a disappointing fruit.
  3. 3:13 See vv. 7–9.
  4. 3:14 Fidelity’s choice reward: cf. Is 56:1–8. More gratifying: better than sons and daughters; cf. Is 56:5.
  5. 3:15 Root of understanding: the root that is understanding (wisdom).
  6. 3:16 Adulterers: understood here as a type of sinners in general; cf. Is 57:3–5.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Healing of the Man with Dropsy on the Sabbath.[a] On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.[b] Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them, “Who among you, if your son or ox[c] falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.

Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts.[d] He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. 10 Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12 Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The Parable of the Great Feast.[e] 15 One of his fellow guests on hearing this said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the kingdom of God.” 16 He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. 17 When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ 18 But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ 23 The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. 24 For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”

Sayings on Discipleship.[f] 25 Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, 26 “If any one comes to me without hating his father[g] and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him 30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ 31 Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? 32 But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 33 In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.

The Simile of Salt.[h] 34 “Salt is good, but if salt itself loses its taste, with what can its flavor be restored? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Footnotes:

  1. 14:1–6 See note on Lk 13:10–17.
  2. 14:2 Dropsy: an abnormal swelling of the body because of the retention and accumulation of fluid.
  3. 14:5 Your son or ox: this is the reading of many of the oldest and most important New Testament manuscripts. Because of the strange collocation of son and ox, some copyists have altered it to “your ass or ox,” on the model of the saying in Lk 13:15.
  4. 14:7–14 The banquet scene found only in Luke provides the opportunity for these teachings of Jesus on humility and presents a setting to display Luke’s interest in Jesus’ attitude toward the rich and the poor (see notes on Lk 4:18; 6:20–26; 12:13–34).
  5. 14:15–24 The parable of the great dinner is a further illustration of the rejection by Israel, God’s chosen people, of Jesus’ invitation to share in the banquet in the kingdom and the extension of the invitation to other Jews whose identification as the poor, crippled, blind, and lame (Lk 14:21) classifies them among those who recognize their need for salvation, and to Gentiles (Lk 14:23). A similar parable is found in Mt 22:1–10.
  6. 14:25–33 This collection of sayings, most of which are peculiar to Luke, focuses on the total dedication necessary for the disciple of Jesus. No attachment to family (Lk 14:26) or possessions (Lk 14:33) can stand in the way of the total commitment demanded of the disciple. Also, acceptance of the call to be a disciple demands readiness to accept persecution and suffering (Lk 14:27) and a realistic assessment of the hardships and costs (Lk 14:28–32).
  7. 14:26 Hating his father…: cf. the similar saying in Mt 10:37. The disciple’s family must take second place to the absolute dedication involved in following Jesus (see also Lk 9:59–62).
  8. 14:34–35 The simile of salt follows the sayings of Jesus that demanded of the disciple total dedication and detachment from family and possessions and illustrates the condition of one who does not display this total commitment. The halfhearted disciple is like salt that cannot serve its intended purpose. See the simile of salt in Mt 5:13 and the note there.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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