This is an expert from the Fourth Book of Maccabees, a Jewish work written in Greek around the beginning or the middle of the first century CE. The NT authors present Yeshua’s death as atonement and sacrifice (e.g. Mark 10:45; Matt 20:28; Heb 9:12; Rom 5; 1 Tim 2:6). And some critics have noted that this is not a Jewish theological idea. It is interesting to note how the author of 4 Maccabees does something very similar to the NT writers. In 4 Maccabees the blood of Eliazar and other martyrs quite literally atones for the land of Israel.
“Truly the contest in which they were engaged was divine, for on that day virtue gave the awards and tested them for their endurance. The prize was immortality in endless life. Eleazar was the first contestant, the mother of the seven sons entered the competition, and the brothers contended. The tyrant was the antagonist, and the world and the human race were the spectators. Reverence for God was victor and gave the crown to its own athletes. Who did not admire the athletes of the divine legislation? Who were not amazed?
The tyrant himself and all his council marveled at their endurance, because of which they now stand before the divine throne and live the life of eternal blessedness. For Moses says, “All who are consecrated are under your hands.” These, then, who have been consecrated for the sake of God, are honored, not only with this honor, but also by the fact that because of them our enemies did not rule over our nation, the tyrant was punished, and the homeland purified—they having become, as it were, a ransom for the sin of our nation. And through the blood of those devout ones and their death as an atoning sacrifice, divine Providence preserved Israel that previously had been mistreated.
For the tyrant Antiochus, when he saw the courage of their virtue and their endurance under the tortures, proclaimed them to his soldiers as an example for their own endurance, and this made them brave and courageous for infantry battle and siege, and he ravaged and conquered all his enemies. O Israelite children, offspring of the seed of Abraham, obey this law and exercise piety in every way, knowing that devout reason is master of all emotions, not only of sufferings from within, but also of those from without.
Therefore those who gave over their bodies in suffering for the sake of religion were not only admired by mortals, but also were deemed worthy to share in a divine inheritance. Because of them the nation gained peace, and by reviving observance of the law in the homeland they ravaged the enemy. The tyrant Antiochus was both punished on earth and is being chastised after his death. Since in no way whatever was he able to compel the Israelites to become pagans and to abandon their ancestral customs, he left Jerusalem and marched against the Persians.” (4 Mac 17:11–18:5 NRSV)