Martyred mother and seven sons
King Antiochos IV Epiphanes of Syria sought to force the Jew to assimilate into Greek ways and persecuted faithful Jews. A mother and her seven sons are arrested and tortured for refusing to abandon God's laws. Their captors tried to forced them to eat pork, and the they refused. One by one, the captors cut off the tongue, hands, and feet of the each son and cooked the remainder of each son over a fire.
The sons remained faithful and each died as a martyr. The sons expressed their faith in God, in the resurrection of the faithful by God, that Israel's misfortunes are the result of sin, and in the punishing of wrongdoers by God. The mother and her sons encouraged each other to remain faithful and accept martyrdom. With his mother's encouragement, the final son rejected Antiochos IV's offers of wealth and accepted martyrdom. Finally, the mother too was put to death.
An account of the martyrdom of the mother and he sons is given in Chapter 7 of the Second Book of Maccabees.
The mother and each of her sons was quoted within 2 and 4 Maccabees. In order to conserve space, we shall only be quoting the mother and the final son.
I do not know how you came to be in my womb; it was not I who gave you breath and life, nor was it I who arranged the elements you are made of. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shaped the beginning of humankind and brought about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.— 2 Maccabees 7:22–7:23 (NABRE)
Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three years, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age. I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things. In the same way humankind came into existence. Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with your brothers.— 2 Maccabees 7:27–7:29 (NABRE)
According to 4 Maccabees, a commentary and thesis that is included as an appendix in Greek Orthodox bibles, the following are also words of the mother:
My sons, noble is the contest to which you are called to bear witness for the nation. Fight zealously for our ancestral law. For it would be shameful if, while an aged man [Eleazar] endures such agonies for the sake of religion, you young men were to be terrified by tortures. Remember that it is through God that you have had a share in the world and have enjoyed life, and therefore you ought to endure any suffering for the sake of God. For his sake also our father Abraham was zealous to sacrifice his son Isaac, the ancestor of our nation; and when Isaac saw his father’s hand wielding a knife and descending upon him, he did not cower. Daniel the righteous was thrown to the lions, and Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael were hurled into the fiery furnace and endured it for the sake of God. You too must have the same faith in God and not be grieved. It is unreasonable for people who have religious knowledge not to withstand pain.— 4 Maccabees 16:16–16:23 (NRSV)
I was a pure virgin and did not go outside my father’s house; but I guarded the rib from which woman was made. No seducer corrupted me on a desert plain, nor did the destroyer, the deceitful serpent, defile the purity of my virginity. In the time of my maturity I remained with my husband, and when these sons had grown up their father died. A happy man was he, who lived out his life with good children, and did not have the grief of bereavement. While he was still with you, he taught you the law and the prophets. He read to you about Abel slain by Cain, and Isaac who was offered as a burnt offering, and about Joseph in prison. He told you of the zeal of Phinehas, and he taught you about Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fire. He praised Daniel in the den of the lions and blessed him. He reminded you of the scripture of Isaiah, which says,Even though you go through the fire, the flame shall not consume you.He sang to you songs of the psalmist David, who said,Many are the afflictions of the righteous.He recounted to you Solomon’s proverb,There is a tree of life for those who do his will.He confirmed the query of Ezekiel,Shall these dry bones live?For he did not forget to teach you the song that Moses taught, which says,I kill and I make alive: this is your life and the length of your days.— 4 Maccabees 18:7–18:19 (NRSV)
What is the delay? I will not obey the king’s command. I obey the command of the law given to our ancestors through Moses. But you, who have contrived every kind of evil for the Hebrews, will not escape the hands of God. We, indeed, are suffering because of our sins. Though for a little while our living Lord has been angry, correcting and chastising us, he will again be reconciled with his servants. But you, wretch, most vile of mortals, do not, in your insolence, buoy yourself up with unfounded hopes, as you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty and all-seeing God. Our brothers, after enduring brief pain, have drunk of never-failing life, under God’s covenant. But you, by the judgment of God, shall receive just punishments for your arrogance. Like my brothers, I offer up my body and my life for our ancestral laws, imploring God to show mercy soon to our nation, and by afflictions and blows to make you confess that he alone is God. Through me and my brothers, may there be an end to the wrath of the Almighty that has justly fallen on our whole nation.— 2 Maccabees 7:30–7:38 (NABRE)