Ver. 1. Scourges, made of leather thongs; taureis. H.
--- These brethren are styled Machabees; as Judas rendered this name so famous, that all who suffered or fought valiantly for religion in those times, went by this appellation. Josephus has much embellished this history, and Erasmus still more. The tombs of these martyrs were shewn at Antioch. C.
--- Their names are not known. H.
--- Those who wish to see more, may consult the large discourse of Josephus on the Machabees, (W.) though this work be contested, and S. Cyp. iv. ep. 6. S. Amb. i. of. 40. S. Chrys. Aug. Leo, &c. W.
Ver. 6. Pleasure. Lit. "be comforted," as the Sept. translate, (H.) Deut. xxxii. 36. It may imply that God will avenge or chastise his servants, and then restore them to favour. This latter sense is here adopted. v. 35.
Ver. 8. Language. The Jews have always been very attentive to their own language, though they be forced to learn others for the sake of commerce, and to hold conversation with those among whom they live. This young man, no doubt, understood Greek, in which language his brother had probably spoken. The mother addressed her children in the Hebrew or Syriac tongue. v. 21. 27. C.
Ver. 9. Most wicked. The martyrs have sometimes been inspired by God to speak in harsh language to magistrates; though their office generally commands respect. H.
--- Life. The resurrection is clearly specified in all these answers. The Redeemer was near at hand. C.
--- Christiani fuerunt...factis. S. Aug. ser. i. 2.
Ver. 16. Power. Nothing could be more free than this answer, which greatly resembles that of Christ. John xix. 11. C.
Ver. 20. Seven. the last was not yet dead: but he was before this was written, so that the mother's praise was perfect. H.
Ver. 22. Womb. This has always astonished the learned, the infant being formed often against the woman's desire. Job x. 10. Wisd. vii. 2. S. Aug. anima i. 15. C.
Ver. 24. Despising. Lit. "despising the voice of the insulter." Gr. "fearing or perceiving that the speech was reproachful." H.
--- Syr. "turned aside not to hear the reproaches," &c. He did not understand Hebrew; but perceiving the constancy of the young men, he thought that their mother exhorted them to refuse compliance. C.
--- Happy. This is beyond the power of riches or of any king. H.
Ver. 26. Promised. A promise regards something good; so that if a person should even bind himself by an oath to do evil, he must refrain, as to comply would he another sin. W.
--- This woman promised to counsel, but not as the king wished, (H.) to gain a prolongation of life and worldly honours for her son. M.
--- Such an equivocation was lawful. W.
--- The king might blame himself if he was deceived. H.
Ver. 27. Three years. So long physicians judged it best for children to suck, till they could take solid meat. Vales. lxxxiii. Gen. xxi. 8. C.
--- "Chrysippus assigns three years for the nurse." Quint. i. 1.
Ver. 28. Nothing, not out of pre-existent and eternal matter. S. Aug. Nat. boni xxvi. Rom. iv. 17.
--- So God can reduce all to nothing. C. viii. 18.
Ver. 29. Mercy, in eternity of bliss. v. 23. Syr. C.
Ver. 36. Life. Gr. "short labour of eternal life, are fallen under the covenant of God." H.
--- They enjoy that life which God promised.
Ver. 37. God. This was accomplished, v. 17. C. ix. 15.
Ver. 38. Cease. The persecution was severe, but short. Judas the next year (A. 3838. C.) began to liberate the nation, (H.) by God's mercy. C. viii. 5, 27.
Ver. 40. Undefiled, by idolatry. We read 4 Mac. that he threw himself into a boiling cauldron; (C.) and Josephus says his mother "jumped into the fire that she might not be touched by any." But this is uncertain. The Church honours S. Apollonia, who acted thus; (Feb. ix.) it is supposed by divine inspiration. H.
Ver. 41. Consumed. Gr. "died" (H.) of joy: (Sixth. Bib. v. Victoria) she place herself amid the dead bodies, and begged of God to release her soul; which was granted. Arab. Gorion.
--- But most believe that she suffered martyrdom immediately after her children. Jos. &c.
--- The Church honoured these martyrs from the earliest ages, and before any other of the Old Testament. We may justly style them the martyrs of the resurrection, as none at that time had spoken of it so distinctly. SS. Naz. Max. of Turin, Gaudentius, &c. have pronounced panegyrics upon them.
Ver. 42. Sacrifices. Gr. splagcnismouV. C. vi. 21. H.
--- Read 1 B. ii. 1. where the wars begun by Mathathias, and persecuted by Judas, are recorded. W.