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4 Maccabees 10New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

The Torture of the Third and Fourth Brothers

10 When he too had endured a glorious death, the third was led in, and many repeatedly urged him to save himself by tasting the meat. But he shouted, ‘Do you not know that the same father begot me as well as those who died, and the same mother bore me, and that I was brought up on the same teachings? I do not renounce the noble kinship that binds me to my brothers.’[a] Enraged by the man’s boldness, they disjointed his hands and feet with their instruments, dismembering him by prizing his limbs from their sockets, and breaking his fingers and arms and legs and elbows. Since they were not able in any way to break his spirit,[b] they abandoned the instruments[c] and scalped him with their fingernails in a Scythian fashion. They immediately brought him to the wheel, and while his vertebrae were being dislocated by this, he saw his own flesh torn all around and drops of blood flowing from his entrails. When he was about to die, he said, 10 ‘We, most abominable tyrant, are suffering because of our godly training and virtue, 11 but you, because of your impiety and bloodthirstiness, will undergo unceasing torments.’

12 When he too had died in a manner worthy of his brothers, they dragged in the fourth, saying, 13 ‘As for you, do not give way to the same insanity as your brothers, but obey the king and save yourself.’ 14 But he said to them, ‘You do not have a fire hot enough to make me play the coward. 15 No—by the blessed death of my brothers, by the eternal destruction of the tyrant, and by the everlasting life of the pious, I will not renounce our noble family ties. 16 Contrive tortures, tyrant, so that you may learn from them that I am a brother to those who have just now been tortured.’ 17 When he heard this, the bloodthirsty, murderous, and utterly abominable Antiochus gave orders to cut out his tongue. 18 But he said, ‘Even if you remove my organ of speech, God hears also those who are mute. 19 See, here is my tongue; cut it off, for in spite of this you will not make our reason speechless. 20 Gladly, for the sake of God, we let our bodily members be mutilated. 21 God will visit you swiftly, for you are cutting out a tongue that has been melodious with divine hymns.’


  1. 4 Maccabees 10:3 Other ancient authorities add verse 4, So if you have any instrument of torture, apply it to my body; for you cannot touch my soul, even if you wish.’
  2. 4 Maccabees 10:7 Gk to strangle him
  3. 4 Maccabees 10:7 Other ancient authorities read they tore off his skin
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 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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