1 The previously mentioned Simon, who had given information about the money against his country, slandered Onias, saying that it was he who had incited Heliodorus and had been the real cause of these evils. 2 He dared to call him a conspirator against the state who was actually the benefactor of the city, the guardian of his fellow countrymen, and a zealot for the laws. 3 When his hatred grew so great that even murders were perpetrated through one of Simon’s approved agents, 4 Onias, seeing the danger of the contention, and that * Compare 2 Maccabees 4:21. See also 2 Maccabees 3:5. The Greek as commonly read means Apollonius, as being the governor...Phoenicia, did rage, and increase etc. Apollonius the son of Menestheus, the governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, was increasing Simon’s malice, 5 appealed to the king, not to be an accuser of his fellow-citizens, but looking to the good of all the† Gr. multitude. people, both public and private; 6 for he saw that without the king’s involvement it was impossible for the state to obtain peace any more, and that Simon would not cease from his madness.
7 When Seleucus was deceased, and Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias supplanted his brother in the high priesthood, 8 having promised to the king at an audience three hundred sixty talents of silver, and out of another fund eighty talents. 9 In addition to this, he undertook to assign one hundred fifty more, if it might be allowed him ‡ Gr. through his. through the king’s authority to set him up a gymnasium and a body of youths to be trained in it, and to register the inhabitants of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch. 10 When the king had assented, and Jason had taken possession of the office, he immediately shifted those of his own race to the Greek way of life. 11 Setting aside the royal ordinances of special favor to the Jews, granted by the means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went on the mission to the Romans to establish friendship and alliance, and seeking to overthrow the lawful ways of living, he brought in new customs forbidden by the law. 12 For he eagerly established a gymnasium under the citadel itself, and caused the noblest of the young men to wear the Greek hat. 13 Thus there was an extreme of hellenization, and an advance of a foreign religion, by reason of the exceeding profaneness of Jason, who was an ungodly man and not a high priest; 14 so that the priests had no more any zeal for the services of the altar; but despising the sanctuary and neglecting the sacrifices, they hastened to enjoy that which was unlawfully provided in the wrestling arena, after the summons to the discus-throwing. 15 They despised the honors of their fathers, and valued the prestige of the Greeks best of all. 16 For this reason, severe calamity overtook them. The men whose ways of living they earnestly followed, and to whom they desired to be made like in all things, these became their enemies and punished them. 17 For it is not a light thing to show irreverence to God’s laws, but later events will make this clear.
18 Now when certain games that came every fifth year were kept at Tyre, and the king was present, 19 the vile Jason sent sacred envoys,§ See ver. 9. as being Antiochians of Jerusalem, bearing three hundred drachmas of silver to the sacrifice of Hercules, which even the bearers thereof thought not right to use for any sacrifice, because it was not fit, but to spend it for another purpose. 20 Although the intended purpose of the sender this money was for the sacrifice of Hercules, yet on account of * Some authorities read the bearers. present circumstances it went to the construction of trireme warships.
21 Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the † The exact meaning of the Greek word is uncertain. enthronement of Philometor as king, Antiochus, learning that Philometor had shown himself hostile toward the government, took precautions for the security of his realm. Therefore, going to Joppa, he travelled on to Jerusalem. 22 Being magnificently received by Jason and the city, he was brought in with torches and shouting. Then he led his army down into Phoenicia.
23 Now after a space of three years, Jason sent Menelaus, the previously mentioned Simon’s brother, to carry the money to the king, and to make reports concerning some necessary matters. 24 But he being commended to the king, and having been glorified by the display of his authority, secured the high priesthood for himself, outbidding Jason by three hundred talents of silver. 25 After receiving the royal mandates, he returned bringing nothing worthy of the high priesthood, but having the passion of a cruel tyrant and the rage of a savage animal. 26 So Jason, who had supplanted his own brother, was supplanted by another and driven as a fugitive into the country of the Ammonites, 27 Menelaus had possession of the office; but of the money that had been promised to the king nothing was regularly paid, even though Sostratus the governor of the citadel demanded it— 28 for his job was the gathering of the revenues—so they were both called by the king to his presence. 29 Menelaus left his own brother Lysimachus for his‡ Gr. successor. deputy in the high priesthood; and Sostratus left Crates, who was over the Cyprians.
30 Now while this was the state of things, it came to pass that the people of Tarsus and Mallus revolted because they were to be given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. 31 The king therefore quickly came to settle matters, leaving for his § Gr. successor. deputy Andronicus, a man of high rank. 32 Then Menelaus, supposing that he had gotten a favorable opportunity, presented to Andronicus certain vessels of gold belonging to the temple, which he had stolen. He had already sold others into Tyre and the neighboring cities. 33 When Onias had sure knowledge of this, he sharply reproved him, having withdrawn himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lies by Antioch. 34 Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, asked him to kill Onias. Coming to Onias, and being persuaded to use treachery, and being received as a friend, Andronicus gave him his right hand with oaths and, though he was suspicious, persuaded him to come out of the sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him to death. 35 For this reason not only Jews, but many also of the other nations, had indignation and displeasure at the unjust murder of the man. 36 And when the king had come back from the places in Cilicia, the Jews who were in the city appealed to him against Andronicus (the Greeks also joining with them in hatred of the wickedness), urging that Onias had been wrongfully slain. 37 Antiochus therefore was heartily sorry, and was moved to pity, and wept, because of the sober and well ordered life of him who was dead. 38 Being inflamed with anger, he immediately stripped off Andronicus’s purple robe, and tore off his under garments, and when he had led him round through the whole city to that very place where he had committed the outrage against Onias, there he put the murderer out of the way, the Lord rendering to him the punishment he had deserved.
39 Now when many sacrileges had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the consent of Menelaus, and when the report of them had spread abroad outside, the people gathered themselves together against Lysimachus, after many vessels of gold had already been stolen. 40 When the multitudes were rising against him and were filled with anger, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and with unrighteous violence began the attack under the leadership of Hauran, a man far gone in years and no less also in folly. 41 But when they perceived the assault of Lysimachus, some caught up stones, others logs of wood, and some took handfuls of the ashes that lay near, and they flung them all in wild confusion at Lysimachus and those who were with him. 42 As a result, they wounded many of them, they killed some, and they forced the rest of them to flee, but the author of the sacrilege himself they killed beside the treasury.
43 But about these matters, there was an accusation laid against Menelaus. 44 When the king had come to Tyre, the three men who were sent by the senate pleaded the cause before him. 45 But Menelaus, seeing himself now defeated, promised much money to Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, that he might win over the king. 46 Therefore Ptolemy taking the king aside into a cloister, as if to get some fresh air, convinced him to change his mind. 47 He who was the cause of all the evil, Menelaus, he discharged from the accusations; but these hapless men, who, if they had pleaded even before Scythians, would have been discharged uncondemned, them he sentenced to death. 48 Those who were spokesmen for the city and the families of Israel and the holy vessels soon suffered that unrighteous penalty. 49 Therefore even certain Tyrians, moved with hatred of the wickedness, provided magnificently for their burial. 50 But Menelaus, through the covetous dealings of those who were in power, remained still in his office, growing in wickedness, established as a great conspirator against his fellow-citizens.
†4:5 Gr. multitude.
‡4:9 Gr. through his.
§4:19 See ver. 9.
*4:20 Some authorities read the bearers.
†4:21 The exact meaning of the Greek word is uncertain.
‡4:29 Gr. successor.
§4:31 Gr. successor.