Psalm 3:2-7 and 2 Maccabees 6:18-31
2 Lord, why have those who trouble me been multiplied? Many rise up against me.
3 Many say to my soul, "There is no salvation for him in his God."
4 But you, Lord, are my supporter, my glory, and the one who raises up my head.
5 I have cried out to the Lord with my voice, and he has heard me from his holy mountain.
6 I have slept, and I have been stupefied. But I awakened because the Lord has taken me up.
7 I will not fear the thousands of people surrounding me. Rise up, Lord. Save me, my God.
2 Maccabees 6:18-31
18 And so, Eleazar, one of the chief scribes, a man advanced in years and of stately countenance, was compelled to open his mouth wide to consume the flesh of swine.
19 Yet he, embracing a most glorious death as greater than a detestable life, went forward voluntarily to the torments.
20 And so, thinking over the manner by which he ought to approach it, enduring patiently, he was determined not to permit, due to a love for life, any unlawful things.
21 Yet those who stood near, being moved by an iniquitous pity because of long friendship with the man, taking him aside privately, asked that flesh be brought which was lawful for him to eat, so that he could pretend to have eaten, just as the king had commanded, from the flesh of the sacrifice.
22 So then, by doing this, he might be freed from death. And it was because of their old friendship with the man that they performed this kindness for him.
23 But he began to consider the eminent dignity of his stage of life and old age, and the natural honor of gray hair, as well as his exemplary words and deeds from childhood. And he responded quickly, according also to the ordinances of the sacred law preserved by God, saying, that he would first be sent to the underworld.
24 "For it is not worthy for those of our age," he said, "to deceive, so that many adolescents might think that Eleazar, at ninety years, had converted to the life of the foreigners.
25 And so, they, because of my pretense and for the sake of a brief time of a corruptible life, would be misled, and, through this stain and desecration, I would defile my last years.
26 But if, in the present time, I were rescued from the torments of men, I would then not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither in life, nor in death.
27 For this reason, by departing life with fortitude, I will show myself to be clearly worthy of my long life.
28 And so, I will bequeath an example of fortitude to youths, if, with a ready soul and constancy, I carry out an honest death, for the sake of the most serious and most holy laws." And having said this, he was immediately dragged away to execution.
29 But those who led him, and who were more mild a little before, were turned to anger because of the words spoken by him, which they considered to have been brought forth by way of arrogance.
30 But when he was ready to perish by the scourges, he groaned, and he said: "O Lord, who holds all holy knowledge, you clearly understand that, although I could be freed from death, I suffer grievous pains in body. Truly, according to the soul, I willingly endure these things, because of your fear."
31 And the way in which this man passed from this life, bequeathed, not only to youths, but also to the entire people, the memory of his death as an example of virtue and fortitude.
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