I was reading 2 Maccabees 12:42-46 in the NABRE online at the Vatican website, and got to the well-known section that is always cited to provide support for Jewish and early Christian belief in praying for the dead. I am having trouble understanding the part of Footnote 7 that I bolded below. How, exactly, is Judas Maccabeus’ concept of what happens to his Jewish soldiers who died in a sinful state and thus needed an offering made, different from our later Western Catholic concept of Purgatory? The NABRE footnote does not explain the difference at all. (Yes, I know the NABRE footnotes are poorly written and annoying in general.) I figure there is some Catholic Scripture scholar on here who can enlighten me. Thank you in advance.
42 (*footnote 7) Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; 44 for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. 45 But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. 46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
*footnote 7: [42-45] This is the earliest statement of the doctrine that prayers ( ⇒ 2 Macc 12:42) and sacrifices ( ⇒ 2 Macc 12:43) for the dead are efficacious. The statement is made here, however, only for the purpose of proving that Judas believed in the resurrection of the just ( ⇒ 2 Macc 7:9, ⇒ 14, ⇒ 23, ⇒ 36). That is, he believed that expiation could be made for certain sins of otherwise good men-soldiers who had given their lives for God’s cause. Thus, they could share in the resurrection. His belief was similar to, but not quite the same as, the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.