35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
Verses 35 through 38 demonstrate how people sustained spiritual stamina, persistence, and endurance through faith. These verses may reference the time of the Maccabean revolt by the Jews against the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes in the early second century BC.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again.
Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath from the dead (1 Kgs 17:17–24). Elisha, Elijah’s successor, raised the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead (2 Kgs 4:17–37).
Others were tortured,
Jeremiah experienced torture (Jer 29:26; 37:15). Maccabean martyrs were tortured (2 Macc 6:18-7:42; 4 Macc 5–18). The torture here is the wheel-rack where they stretched the victim, whereby the ligaments would stretch and the limbs would break.
not accepting deliverance,
Their enemies offered to save them from torture, but they would not compromise their faith. They would not sacrifice their faith at the price of apostasy. They accepted the truth of God’s Word as more important than their own lives. Their orientation was to something far greater than their personal desires.
that they might obtain a better resurrection.
This phrase refers to those who were tortured and did not compromise their faith. They did not ask to be relieved of torture by renouncing their faith. They knew they had a great future at the resurrection. It was a better resurrection than raising a child from the dead; it was a permanent resurrection. It is the final defeat of death.
True faith does not compromise truth.
Some people who walk by faith accept the worst possible situations in their lives as an act of God. Throughout church history, Christians were willing to suffer rather than to deny their Lord. They knew that they had a wonderful future ahead. Faith is a grace that draws from heaven God’s providential help in times of need. Faith gives the believer steadfastness during times of duress. It is essential to face trials calmly. It keeps us oriented to God’s purpose for our lives.