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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

LXXXVIII. (1) The king then returned to Macedonia, and, having left Phillipos in the land of Judah, he (Phillip) acted according to the word of the king, and prohibited the people of Judah from studying the Torah and from performing the service of their God. He supported the wicked and the rebellious of our people, and slew many of the congregation of the Ḥassidim.

(2) At that time two women were discovered who had circumcised their children. They hanged them by their breasts, and hurled them with their children from the top

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of a tower; they burst open and died. (3) After this Eleazar, the chief of the priests, of whom we have spoken as having gone to Egypt in the days of Ptolemy, was captured and brought to Phillip. And Phillip said to him, Eleazar, thou art a wise man and a man of understanding, now, do not transgress the command of the king, but eat of the flesh of his sacrifice.' But Eleazar replied, 'Far be it from me to set aside the command of my God for the performance of the command of the king.' Then did Phillip call him aside and say, 'Thou knowest that I have loved thee now for many years, therefore I have pity for thy soul and for thy old age. Now let a portion of the flesh of your own sacrifices which you are allowed to eat be brought to thee, and eat it before the people so that they will say thou eatest of the flesh of the king's sacrifice. By this means thou canst save thy life and not die.'

(4) When Eleazar heard this he thought of the greatness of his honour and of the sanctity of his glory, and said to Phillip, 'I am now ninety years old, and have never yet served my God with deceit, nor is it meet for me now to do so and to deceive man, for then the young men will say, "Since Eleazar, although ninety years of age, has frustrated the law of his God, we can also do so," and they will thus bring destruction upon themselves. Now, far be it from me to defile my holiness, to taint the purity of my old age, and to cause these young men with me to waver, and give them the pretext for saying, "Eleazar, although ninety years of age, has sinned against his God, and has chosen to serve the vanities of the nations; let us do likewise." For even if I escape from your hands to-day, I cannot escape God, for no man can, either living or dead, since His dominion extends over the living to bring death upon them, and over the dead to quicken them to life. I shall therefore die true to my faith, and shall leave my power behind to my people and my young men, so that when they see me give up my life so readily, they will desire to follow my example, and thus keep their Torah precious, and will choose a worthy death.'

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(5) As soon, however, as Phillipos heard these words, he turned exceedingly cruel, and commanded his men to bind the pious old man and to beat him. They thereupon smote him with all manner of weapons without pity, and he groaned, saying, 'O Lord my God, who hast caused me to reach this old age, Thou knowest that I was able to deliver my soul from such a death, but did not wish to do so on account of my love for Thee. Now they smite so cruelly and fiercely that I would not be able to bear it were it not for my fear of Thee, which renders them as nothing in my eyes, and I suffer them willingly.' While he was still speaking these words his life closed, and he left might to his people and power to his young men.