Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XX.

At that time, Matthathias, the son of John, was high-priest. When he was being forced by the servants of the king to obey the edict, with marvelous courage he set at naught the profane enactments, and slew, in the presence of all, a Hebrew who was publicly performing profane acts. A leader having thus been found, rebellion at once took place. Matthathias left the town; and as many flocked to him, he got up the appearance of a regular army. The object of every man in that host was to defend himself by arms against a profane government, and rather even to fall in war than to take part in impious ceremonies. In the meantime, Antiochus was compelling those Jews who were found in the Greek cities in his dominions to offer sacrifice, and was visiting with unheard-of torments those who refused. At this time, there occurred that well-known and remarkable suffering of the seven brothers and their mother. All of the brothers, when they were being forced to violate the law of God, and the customs of their ancestors, preferred rather to die. At last, their mother, too, accompanied them both in their sufferings and death.

Next: Chapter XXI.