Old age (Wis 4:7-4:9)

“But the righteous,

Even though they die early,

Will be at rest.

Old age is not honored for length of time.

Old age is not measured

By the number of years.

But understanding is gray hair for anyone.

A blameless life is a ripe old age.”

Even if the righteous ones (δίκαιος) die early, they will rest. After all, old age is not honored for just the years that one has lived. However, gray hairs are a sign of understanding. A blameless life is really a ripe old age.

Eleazar is urged to eat (2 Macc 6:21-6:23)

“Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside because of their long acquaintance with him. They privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use. Then he could pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king. Thus, by doing this he might be saved from death. He was treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. However, he made a high resolve. This was worthy of his years, the dignity of his old age, and the gray hairs that he had reached with distinction. Due to his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly. He told them to send him to Hades.”

His executioners liked Eleazar. They told him privately just to pretend to eat the meat as the king had commanded. That way, he would be able to save his life. He responded no. He had spent his entire life with dignity and excellence. He had followed the holy God given laws his entire life. He told his executioners to send him to Hades. Hades was the Greek god of the underworld that had become known as the place of the dead people. Many of the Jews often referred to this in Hebrew as Sheol.