“So in this way he died. He left in his death an example of nobility and a memorial of courage, not only to the young but to the great body of his nation.”
Thus Eleazar was a true Jewish martyr. He set an example of nobility and courage for all to see. For many Christians, he was one of the first martyrs before Christ. For the philosophers, he was a man like Socrates who died for his ideas or beliefs.
‘Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life.
Many of the young should suppose
That Eleazar in his ninetieth year
Has gone over to an alien religion.
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.
Even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of mortals,
Yet whether I live or die
I will not escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by bravely giving up my life now,
I will show myself worthy of my old age.
I will leave to the young
A noble example of how
To die a good death willingly and nobly
For the revered and holy laws.’”
Much like Socrates, Eleazar gave a speech talking about an honorable death. He too was old man in his 90s. He did not have to corrupt the youth by giving the impression that he was worshiping an alien god. What was the use of doing this for a few more moments of life? Why should he disgrace his old age? Whether he lived or died, he could not escape the hands of the Almighty one. He wanted to leave a noble example of following the law for the young people. So he was willing to die for the law.