Day 303: eleazar's martyrdom

2 Maccabees 6:1-11 The worst profanation occurred when Antiochus ordered a statue of Zeus to be displayed in both the Temple in Jerusalem and the temple at Gerizim, which was a secondary site of worship for the ten northern tribes during the Divided Kingdom and was by the time of the Maccabees the center of worship for the Samaritans. Profane sacrifices of unclean animals further desecrated the Temple. In an attempt to destroy the culture completely, Antiochus outlawed the practice of the Jewish religion,

Ch 6:12-17 God often allowed evil to befall Israel as a means of purifying them and prompting them to find their help in God. As witnessed in the struggle against their pagan adversaries, God revealed to the Jewish people his unfailing love and fidelity to them. (CCC 311)

Ch 6:18-31 As was recounted in the First Book of Maccabees, Eleazar, a prominent scribe, was aware of the ramifications of his actions. To pretend, as he was urged, to eat meat used in pagan sacrifice while in reality consuming meat he had brought himself would cause great scandal and would encourage others to break the Jewish Law; therefore, he accepted death in defense of the Law and Commandments. (CCC 2284-2286)

Ch 6:30 In my soul: In Scripture, this refers to the complete person with an implicit emphasis on the capacity to know and love. The concept of the soul would be fully developed in the New Testament after Christ’s Redemption. (CCC 363, 365)

The Wisdom of Solomon

Author and Date:


Main Themes:

Wisdom 1-19 While this book is attributed to Solomon, it was written long after his death, no earlier than the second century before Christ. It likely originated in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, which was a major center of intellectual discourse. The large Jewish community residing in Alexandria suffered from the pressures of Hellenization. This book tries to instill prudential judgment in applying God’s Law and at the same time to combat possible corruption through pagan influences. 

Ch 1:1-16 Righteousness in action rests on the habitual practice of wisdom in the form of prudence. Though a clear idea of the afterlife is not profoundly developed, the Book of Wisdom delves into the eternal reward for living virtuously in this life as well as the punishment due to sin.

Ch 1:4 The body and soul are a unity that together comprise the whole human person; the soul animates the body. (CCC 365)

Ch 1:6-11 All human wisdom is a participation in the eternal wisdom of God. Wisdom can be associated with the  Holy Spirit. God the Son is also identified as the begotten wisdom of the Father since he is described as the “Word” of the Father. (CCC 290-292)

Ch 1:7 Despite the temptation to pursue inordinate pleasure and be dominated by pride, it is possible to lead a life worthy of a child of God. With the grace of God, every person can reflect the goodness of Christ himself. (CSDC 578)

Ch 1:13 Death was not part of God’s original plan for humanity. In the beginning, our first parents enjoyed the gifts of absence of death, communion with God, and harmony with all of creation. Because of Original Sin, however, these gifts were lost, and, as a result, everyone is destined to undergo death, which consists in the separation of the body and the soul. Nevertheless, even after death, the soul remains immortal. (CCC 413, 1008)

Ch 2:1-9 Foolishness is an absence of wisdom that ignores God and seeks the finite goods of this world as absolutes. A fool’s mentality views the present life as short without the prospect of an afterlife and, therefore, holds that the pleasures and thrills of the here and now should be the ultimate goal. Divine Revelation teaches that after death a person will be rewarded according to the good works performed in the present life. On the other hand, punishment is always to those who lead sinful lives. 

Ch 2:10-20 The impious, who sought the present good things, ridiculed the Jews and urged them mockingly to seek the protection of their God. This foreshadows the curses of those bystanders at the foot of the Cross who challenged Christ to save himself from death if he was truly the Son of God (cf. Lk 23:35-37). The use of the term “child of God” to apply to an individual rather than to an entire people was a new development at this stage in the history of Jewish thought. The Greek pais (“child”) can also mean “servant,” which would link the Only-Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, to the image of the Suffering Servant described by the prophet Isaiah (cf. 52:13-53:12).

Ch 2:21-24 The sin of Adam and Eve is linked to Satan, the angel who led a rebellion against God. The fallen angels continue to tempt everyone with their intent of leading them to sin and ultimately eternal damnation. Those who resist the deceitful promises of the Evil One will be rewarded in Heaven, while those who embrace Satan’s empty and false promises consign themselves to eternal punishment. 

Through the devil’s envy: Envy is often attributed as the root cause of the demons’ decisions to reject God. It is an offense against the Tenth Commandment. (CCC 282, 391, 413, 1008, 2538)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


“Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life,” [Eleazar] said, “lest many of the young should suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hand of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.” … When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said: “It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.” (2 Mc 6:24-30) 


(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you so much. Thank you for this day and thank you so much for hiding your Gospel, hiding your goodness and truth in the Old Testament, in the Old Covenant. Lord God, for those of us who are going through Wisdom for the very first time in our lives, we thank you for this book. This book that has been a mystery unknown to so many for so long. And thank you, Lord, for this book and thank you for the truth that you reveal to us through this book but also through your entire Word, especially through the Word made Flesh, your Son our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.”