4 Maccabees 17:14


9 "Here lie buried an aged priest and an aged woman and seven sons, because of the violence of the tyrant who wished to destroy the way of life of the Hebrews. 10 They vindicated their nation, looking to God and enduring torture even to death." 11 Truly the contest in which they were engaged was divine, 12 for on that day virtue gave the awards and tested them for their endurance. The prize was immortality in endless life. 13 Eleazar was the first contestant, the mother of the seven sons entered the competition, and the brothers contended. 14 The tyrant was the antagonist, and the world and the human race were the spectators. 15 Reverence for God was victor and gave the crown to its own athletes.

Hebrews 12:1

New Testament

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you.

 Notes and References

"... Scholars never fail to observe that the Maccabean martyrs stand among the exemplars of faith in the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:35), referring consistently and correctly to 2 Maccabees 6:18–7:42 (resurrection is featured in both, but is absent from 4 Maccabees; the verb used in Hebrews 11:35 for “torture” recalls specifically the τύμπαvov upon which Eleazar is executed in 2 Maccabees 6:19, 28; while “release” from torture is also prominent in 4 Maccabees 6:12–23; 9:16, it is not absent from 2 Maccabees, as in 7:1–2, 7). However, there are numerous connections with the tradition of the martyrs in 4 Maccabees as well throughout the sermon. Both conceive of πίστις in terms of faithfulness toward God and fixedness in regard to God’s promises, and all this specifically within the context of the inviolable obligations of beneficiaries to their benefactor (4 Maccabees 16:18–22; Hebrews 6:4–8, 12; 10:29–31, 39; 11:6; 12:28; 13:17). Hebrews also introduces the categories of “temporary” (πρόσκαιρov) versus “eternal” (usually in terms of “abiding,” “lasting”) throughout his discourse (see especially Hebrews 11:24–27), reflecting the same antithesis that figures so prominently in the martyrs’ deliberations (4 Maccabees 13:14–17; 15:2–8, 27). Pushing beyond conceptual to verbal parallels, the author of Hebrews calls his audience to enhance their endurance by looking away to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1–2), just as the martyrs had endured by looking away to God (εἰς θεòv ἀφoρῶvτες ... ὑπoμείvαvτες, 4 Maccabees 17:10). The example of Jesus, “who endured a cross, despising shame” (ὑπέμειvεv σταύρov αἰσχύvης καταφρovήσας, Hebrews 12:2), parallels Eleazar’s bold stance as he “endured the pains and scorned the compulsions” ..."

DeSilva, David A. 4 Maccabees: Introduction and Commentary on the Greek Text in Codex Sinaiticus (p. xxxiii) Brill, 2006

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