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cuted to the point of death and to enter into slavery.11 10 Jealousy forced Moses to flee from the presence of Pharoah, king of Egypt, when he heard from his fellow country­ men, “Who made you an arbitrator or judge over us? Do you want to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”12 11 Because of jealousy Aaron and Mir­ iam had to stay outside the camp.13 12 Jealousy brought Dathan and Abi­ ram down into Hades while still alive because they created a faction against the servant of God, Moses.14 13 Because of jealousy not only did David incur envy from foreigners, but he was even persecuted by Saul, the king of Israel.15


But to stop giving ancient exam­ ples, let us come to those who be­ came athletic contenders in quite recent times. We should consider the noble ex­ amples of our own generation. 2 Because of jealousy and envy the greatest and most upright pillars were persecuted, and they struggled in the con­ test even to death. 3 We should set before our eyes the good apostles. 4 There is Peter, who because of unjust jealousy bore up under hardships not just once or twice, but many times; and having thus borne his witness he went to the place of glory that he deserved. 5 Because of jealousy and strife Paul pointed the way to the prize for en­ durance. 6 Seven times he bore chains; he was sent into exile and stoned; he served as a herald in both the East and the West; and he received the noble reputation for his faith. 7 He taught righteousness to the whole world, and came to the limits of the West,

bearing his witness before the rulers. And so he was set free from this world and transported up to the holy place, having become the greatest example of endur­ ance.


To these men who have conducted themselves in such a holy way there has been added a great multitude of the elect, who have set a superb ex­ ample among us by the numerous tor­ ments and tortures they suffered because of jealousy. 2 Women were persecuted as Danaids and Dircaef and suffered terrifying and profane torments because of jealousy. But they confidently completed the race of faith, and though weak in body, they received a noble reward. 3 Jealousy estranged wives from their husbands and nullified what was spoken by our father Adam, “This now is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh.”16 4 Jealousy and strife overturned great cities and uprooted great nations.


The author’s meaning is unclear. Some scholars have suggested that he is referring to Christian women mar­ tyred under Nero, who was known for his creatively brutal excesses [see Suetonius, Nero 11, 12]. If so, women executed as Dircae may have been dragged to death in the arena, bound to the horns of a bull, like Dirce of Greek myth. The reference to the Danaids is more puzzling. Some scholars have seen it as an allu­ sion to the legend that the daughters of Danaus were taken by men against their will—i.e. that the Christian women were publicly raped before being put to death. Others have thought that it refers to the punishment of Danaus’s daughters in the afterlife, where they were compelled perpetually to fill leaking vessels—i.e., that the Christian women were subject to pointless and seemingly endless torments prior to their deaths. In either event, the text is so difficult that several emen­ dations have been suggested to eliminate the reference to “Danaids and Dircae” altogether, the most popular of which changes the text to read: “persecuted as women, maidens, and slave-girls.”


Genesis 37. 12Exod 2:14. 13Numbers 12. 16:13. 151 Samuel 18ff. 16Gen 2:23.



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