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MACCABEES IV - APPENDIX / ΜΑΚΑΒΑΙΩΝ Δ - ΠΑΡΑΡΤΗΜΑ

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1 Why delayest thou, O tyrant? for we are readier to die than to transgress the injunctions of our fathers. 2 And we should be disgracing our fathers if we did not obey the law, and take knowledge for our guide. 3 O tyrant, counsellor of law-breaking, do not, hating us as thou dost, pity us more than we pity ourselves. 4 For we account escape to be worse than death. 5 And you think to scare us, by threatening us with death by tortures, as though thou hadst learned nothing by the death of Eleazar. 6 But if aged men of the Hebrews have died in the cause of religion after enduring torture, more rightly should we younger men die, scorning your cruel tortures, which our aged instructor overcame. 7 Make the attempt, then, O tyrant; and if thou puttest us to death for our religion, think not that thou harmest us by torturing us. 8 For we through this ill-treatment and endurance shall bear off the rewards of virtue. 9 But thou, for the wicked and despotic slaughter of us, shalt, from the Divine vengeance, endure eternal torture by fire. 10 When they had thus spoken, the tyrant was not only exasperated against them as being refractory, but enraged with them as being ungrateful. 11 So that, at his bidding, the torturers brought forth the eldest of them, and tearing through his tunic, bound his hands and arms on each side with thongs. 12 And when they had laboured hard without effect in scourging him, they hurled him upon the wheel. 13 And the noble youth, extended upon this, became dislocated. 14 And with every member disjointed, he exclaimed in expostulation, 15 O most accursed tyrant, and enemy of heavenly justice, and cruel-hearted, I am no murderer, nor sacrilegious man, whom thou thus ill-usest; but a defender of the Divine law. 16 And when the spearmen said, Consent to eat, that you may be releasted from your tortures,-- 17 he answered, Not so powerful, O accursed ministers, is your wheel, as to stifle my reasoning; cut my limbs, and burn my flesh, and twist my joints. 18 For through all my torments I will convince you that the children of the Hebrews are alone unconquered in behalf of virtue. 19 While he was saying this, they heaped up fuel, and setting fire to it, strained him upon the wheel still more. 20 And the wheel was defiled all over with blood, and the hot ashes were quenched by the droppings of gore, and pieces of flesh were scattered about the axles of the machine. 21 And although the framework of his bones was now destroyed the high-minded and Abrahamic youth did not groan. 22 But, as though transformed by fire into immortality, he nobly endured the rackings, saying 23 Imitate me, O brethren, nor ever desert your station, nor abjure my brotherhood in courage: fight the holy and honourable fight of religion; 24 by which means our just and paternal Providence, becoming merciful to the nation, will punish the pestilent tyrant. 25 And saying this, the revered youth abruptly closed his life. 26 And when all admired his courageous soul, the spearmen brought forward him who was second in point of age, and having put on iron hands, bound him with pointed hooks to the catapelt. 27 And when, on enquiring whether he would eat before he was tortured, they heard his noble sentiment, 28 after they with the iron hands had violently dragged all the flesh from the neck to the chin, the panther-like beasts tore off the very skin of his head: but he, bearing with firmness this misery, said, 29 How sweet is every form of death for the religion of our fathers! and he said to the tyrant, 30 Thinkest thou not, most cruel of all tyrants, that thou art now tortured more than I, finding thine overweening conception of tyranny conquered by our patience in behalf of our religion? 31 For I lighten my suffering by the pleasures which are connected with virtue. 32 But thou art tortured with threatenings for impiety; and thou shalt not escape, most corrupt tyrant, the vengeance of Divine wrath. Τί μέλλεις, ὦ τύραννε; ἕτοιμοι γάρ ἐσμεν ἀποθνήσκειν ἢ παραβαίνειν τὰς πατρίους ἡμῶν ἐντολάς· 2 αἰσχυνόμεθα γὰρ τοὺς προγόνους ἡμῶν εἰκότως, εἰ μὴ τῇ τοῦ νόμου εὐπειθείᾳ καὶ συμβούλῳ Μωσῇ χρησαίμεθα. 3 σύμβουλε τύραννε παρανομίας, μὴ ἡμᾶς μισῶν ὑπὲρ αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς ἐλέει. 4 χαλεπώτερον γὰρ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θανάτου νομίζομεν εἶναί σου τὸν ἐπὶ τῇ παρανόμῳ σωτηρίᾳ ἡμῶν ἔλεον. 5 ἐκφοβεῖς δὲ ἡμᾶς τὸν διὰ τῶν βασάνων ἡμῖν θάνατον ἀπειλῶν, ὥσπερ οὐχὶ πρὸ βραχέος παρὰ ᾿Ελεαζάρου μαθών. 6 εἰ δ’ οἱ γέροντες τῶν ῾Εβραίων διὰ τὴν εὐσέβειαν καὶ βασανισμοὺς ὑπομείναντες εὐσέβησαν, ἀποθάνοιμεν ἂν δικαιότερον ἡμεῖς οἱ νέοι, τὰς βασάνους τῶν σῶν ἀναγκῶν ὑπεριδόντες, ἃς καὶ ὁ παιδευτὴς ἡμῶν γέρων ἐνίκησε. 7 πείραζε τοιγαροῦν, τύραννε· καὶ τὰς ἡμῶν ψυχὰς εἰ θανατώσεις διὰ τὴν εὐσέβειαν, μὴ νομίσῃς ἡμᾶς βλάπτειν βασανίζων. 8 ἡμεῖς μὲν γὰρ διὰ τῆσδε τῆς κακοπαθείας καὶ ὑπομονῆς τὰ τῆς ἀρετῆς ἆθλα ἕξομεν καὶ ἐσόμεθα παρά Θεῷ, δι’ ὃν καὶ πάσχομεν· 9 σὺ δὲ διὰ τὴν ἡμῶν μιαιφονίαν αὐτάρκη καρτερήσεις ὑπὸ τῆς θείας δίκης αἰώνιον βάσανον διὰ πυρός. - 10 Ταῦτα αὐτῶν εἰπόντων, οὐ μόνον ὡς κατὰ ἀπειθούντων ἐχαλέπαινεν ὁ τύραννος, ἀλλ’ ὡς καὶ κατὰ ἀχαρίστων ὠργίσθη. 11 ὅθεν τὸν πρεσβύτατον αὐτῶν κελευθέντες παρήγαγον οἱ ὑπασπισταὶ καὶ διαρρήξαντες τὸν χιτῶνα διέδησαν τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς βραχίονας ἱμᾶσιν ἑκατέρωθεν. 12 ὡς δὲ τύπτοντες ταῖς μάστιξιν ἐκοπίασαν μηδὲν ἀνύοντες, ἀνέβαλον αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸν τροχόν. 13 περὶ ὃν κατατεινόμενος ὁ εὐγενὴς νεανίας ἔξαρθρος ἐγίνετο. 14 καὶ κατὰ πᾶν μέλος κλώμενος ἐκακηγόρει λέγων· 15 τύραννε μιαρώτατε καὶ τῆς οὐρανίου δίκης ἐχθρὲ καὶ ὠμόφρον, οὐκ ἀνδροφονήσαντά με τοῦτον καταικίζεις τὸν τρόπον, οὐδὲ ἀσεβήσαντα, ἀλλὰ θείου νόμου προασπίζοντα. 16 καὶ τῶν δορυφόρων λεγόντων· ὁμολόγησον φαγεῖν, ὅπως ἀπαλλαγῇς τῶν βασάνων, 17 αὐτὸς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐχ οὕτως ἰσχυρὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν ὁ τροχός, ᾦ μιαροὶ διάκονοι, ὥστε μου τὸν λογισμὸν ἄγξαι· τέμνετέ μου τὰ μέλη καὶ πυροῦτε τὰς σάρκας καὶ στρεβλοῦτε τὰ ἄρθρα. 18 διὰ πασῶν γὰρ ὑμᾶς πείσω τῶν βασάνων, ὅτι μόνοι παῖδες ῾Εβραίων ὑπὲρ ἀρετῆς εἰσιν ἀνίκητοι. 19 ταῦτα λέγοντι πῦρ ὑπέστρωσαν καὶ διηρέθισαν τὸν τροχὸν προσεπικατατείνοντες· 20 ἐμολύνετο δὲ πάντοθεν αἵματι ὁ τροχός, καὶ ὁ σωρὸς τῆς ἀνθρακιᾶς τῆς τῶν ἰχώρων ἐσβέννυτο σταλαγμοῖς, καὶ περὶ τοὺς ἄξονας τοῦ ὀργάνου περιέρρεον αἱ σάρκες. 21 καὶ περιτετμημένον ἤδη ἔχων τὸ τῶν ὀστέων πῆγμα ὁ μεγαλόφρων καὶ ῾Αβραμιαῖος νεανίας οὐκ ἐστέναξεν. 22 ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ ἐν πυρὶ μετασχηματιζόμενος εἰς ἀφθαρσίαν, ὑπέμεινεν εὐγενῶς τὰς στρέβλας· 23 μιμήσασθέ με, ἀδελφοί, λέγων, μή μου τὸν αἰῶνα λιποτακτήσητε μηδ’ ἐξομόσησθέ μου τὴν τῆς εὐψυχίας ἀδελφότητα· ἱερὰν καὶ εὐγενῆ στρατείαν στρατεύσασθε ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐσεβείας, 24 δι’ ἧς ἵλεως ἡ δικαία καὶ πάτριος ἡμῶν πρόνοια τῷ ἔθνει γενηθεῖσα τιμωρήσειεν τὸν ἀλάστορα τύραννον· 25 καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν ὁ ἱεροπρεπὴς νεανίας ἀπέρρηξε τὴν ψυχήν. - 26 Θαυμασάντων δὲ πάντων τὴν καρτεροψυχίαν αὐτοῦ, ἦγον οἱ δορυφόροι τὸν καθ’ ἡλικίαν τοῦ προτέρου δεύτερον καὶ σιδηρᾶς ἐναρμοσάμενοι χεῖρας ὀξέσι τοῖς ὄνυξιν ὀργάνῳ καὶ καταπέλτῃ προσέδησαν αὐτόν. 27 ὡς δὲ εἰ φαγεῖν βούλοιτο πρὶν βασανίζεσθαι πυνθανόμενοι τὴν εὐγενῆ γνώμην ἤκουσαν, 28 ἀπὸ τῶν τενόντων ταῖς σιδηραῖς χερσὶν ἐπισπασάμενοι μέχρι γε τῶν γενείων τὴν σάρκα πᾶσαν καὶ τὴν τῆς κεφαλῆς δορὰν οἱ παρδάλειοι θῆρες ἀπέσυραν. 29 ὁ δὲ ταύτην βαρέως τὴν ἀλγηδόνα καρτερῶν ἔλεγεν· ὡς ἡδὺς πᾶς τρόπος θανάτου διὰ τὴν πάτριον ἡμῶν εὐσέβειαν· ἔφη τε πρὸς τὸν τύραννον· 30 οὐ δοκεῖς πάντων ὠμότατε τύραννε, πλεῖον ἐμοῦ σε νῦν βασανίζεσθαι ὁρῶν σου νικώμενον τὸν τῆς τυρανίδος ὑπερήφανον λογισμὸν ὑπὸ τῆς διὰ τὴν εὐσέβειαν ἡμῶν ὑπομονῆς; 31 ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ ταῖς διὰ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἡδοναῖς τὸν πόνον ἐπικουφίζομαι, 32 σὺ δὲ ἐν ταῖς τῆς ἀσεβείας ἀπειλαῖς βασανίζῃ. οὐκ ἐκφεύξῃ δέ, μιαρώτατε τύραννε, τὰς τῆς θείας ὀργῆς δίκας.

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