2 Maccabees 7:20


18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Although she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors. Filled with a noble spirit, she reinforced her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws."

Ambrose On the Duty of the Clergy 1.203


203 What shall I say of the mother who with joy looked on the corpses of her children as so many trophies, and found delight in the voices of her dying sons, as though in the songs of singers, noting in her children the tones of the glorious harp of her own heart, and a sweeter harmony of love than any strain of the lute could give?

 Notes and References

"... The Christian reception of 2 Maccabees is appropriated to changing needs and contexts, which already started in the New Testament with the list of witnesses in Hebrews 11 and Paul’s notion of martyrdom. Besides, its impact on early Christianity cannot be underestimated as the Seven Maccabean Brothers were believed to suffer in their martyrdom for the sins of those who made concessions during times of persecution. Considering that 2 Maccabees stressed strict observance of the Jewish dietary laws, this book is unique in its Christian reception. Aside from glorifying the deeds of Judas Maccabeus, 2 Maccabees adds an interlude about the martyrdom of the seven Maccabean brothers, whose relics were supposedly buried in the Jewish district of Antioch with the tombs located in a synagogue or in a cave commonly visited by Jews and Christians. The veneration of these tombs in Antioch led to a unique local reception of 2 Maccabees and makes Antioch its most probable place of origin ..."

Kreinath, Jens "Second Book of Maccabees" in Klauck, Hans-Josef (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (pp. 324-332) Walter de Gruyter, 2019

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