This Simon now, of whom we spoke before, having been a betrayer of the money and of his country, slandered Onias as if he had provoked Heliodorus and been the worker of these evils.
Thus was he bold to call him a traitor who had served well the city and protected his own nation, and was so zealous for the laws.
But when their hatred went so far that murders were committed by one of Simon's faction,
Onias, seeing the danger of this contention and that Apollonius, being the governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, raged and increased Simon's malice,
he went to the king, not to be an accuser of his countrymen, but seeking the good of all, both public and private.
For he saw that it was impossible that the state should continue in peace and Simon leave his folly, unless the king looked thereunto.
But after the death of Seleucus when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias labored underhandedly to be high priest,
promising unto the king by intercession three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and from another revenue eighty talents.
Beside this, he promised to assign a hundred and fifty more if he might have license to set up a place for exercise and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to designate them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians;
which, when the king had granted and he had gotten into his hand the rule, he forthwith brought his own nation to Greek fashion.
And the royal privileges granted of special favor to the Jews by the means of John the father of Eupolemus, who went as ambassador to Rome for amity and aid, he took away; and, putting down the governments which were according to the law, he brought up new customs against the law.
For he gladly built a place of exercise under the tower itself, and brought the chief young men under his subjection, and made them wear a hat.
Now such was the height of Greek fashion and increase of heathen manners through the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly wretch and no high priest, that
the priests had no courage to serve any more at the altar, but, despising the temple and neglecting the sacrifices, they hastened to be partakers of the unlawful allowance in the place of exercise after the game of discus called them forth,
not standing by the honors of their fathers, but liking the glory of the Grecians best of all.
By reason thereof sore calamity came upon them; for they held them to be their enemies and avengers whose custom they followed so earnestly and unto whom they desired to be like in all things.
For it is not a light thing to do wickedly against the laws of God, but the time followig shall declare these things.
Now when the game that was held every fifth year was kept at Tyre, the king being present,
this ungracious Jason sent special messengers from Jerusalem, who were Antiochians, to carry three hundred drachmas of silver for the sacrifice to Hercules, which even the bearers thereof thought not fit to bestow upon the sacrifice because it was not proper, but to be reserved for other charges.
This money then, as intended by the sender, was appointed for Hercules' sacrifice; but because of the bearers thereof, it was employed in the making of galleys.
Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of King Ptolemy Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him not to be well-disposed to his affairs, provided for his own safety. Thereupon he came to Joppa and from thence to Jerusalem,
where he was honorably received by Jason and by the city, and was brought in with torchlight and with great shoutings; and so afterward went with his host into Phoenicia.
Three years afterward, Jason sent Menelaus, the aforesaid Simon's brother, to bear the money unto the king, and to put him in mind of certain necessary matters.
But he, being brought to the presence of the king, when he had magnified him for the glorious appearance of his power, got the priesthood for himself, offering more than Jason by three hundred talents of silver.
So he came with the king's mandate, bringing nothing worthy of the high priesthood, but having the fury of a cruel tyrant and the rage of a savage beast.
Then Jason, who had undermined his own brother, being undermined by another, was compelled to flee into the country of the Ammonites.
So Menelaus got the principality; but as for the money that he had promised unto the king, he failed to deal with it accordingly, albeit Sostratus the ruler of the castle required it,
for unto him appertained the gathering of the customs. Therefore they were both called before the king.
Now Menelaus left his brother Lysimachus in his stead in the priesthood; and Sostratus left Crates, who was governor of the Cyprians.
While those things were being done, those of Tarsus and Mallus made insurrection, because they were given to the king's concubine, called Antiochis.
Then came the king in all haste to appease matters, leaving Andronicus, a man in authority, for his deputy.
Now Menelaus, supposing that he had gotten a suitable time, stole certain vessels of gold out of the temple, and gave some of them to Andronicus, and some he sold into Tyre and the cities round about.
When Onias knew assuredly of this, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lieth by Antioch.
Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, prayed him to get Onias into his hands. Andronicus, being persuaded thereunto and coming to Onias in deceit, gave him his right hand with oaths; and though he was suspected by him, yet he persuaded him to come forth from the sanctuary, whom he shut up forthwith without regard for justice.
For this cause not only the Jews, but many also of other nations, felt great indignation, and were much grieved for the unjust murder of the man.
And when the king had come back from the places about Cilicia, the Jews who were in the city, and certain of the Greeks who abhorred the fact also, complained because Onias was slain without cause.
Therefore Antiochus was heartily sorry and moved to pity, and wept because of the sober and modest behavior of him that was dead.
And, being kindled with anger, forthwith he took away Andronicus' purple and rent off his clothes and, leading him through the whole city unto that very place where he had committed impiety against Onias, there slew he the cursed murderer. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment as he had deserved.
Now when many sacrileges had been committed in the city by Lysimachus with the consent of Menelaus, and the report thereof had spread abroad, the multitude gathered themselves together against Lysimachus, many vessels of gold being already carried away.
Thereupon, the common people rising and being filled with rage, Lysimachus armed about three thousand men, and began first to do violence, one Auranus being the leader, a man far gone in years and no less in folly.
Then, seeing the attempt of Lysimachus, some of them caught stones, some clubs, others taking handfuls of dust that was near at hand, cast them all together upon Lysimachus and those who set upon them.
Thus many of them they wounded, and some they struck to the ground, and all of them they forced to flee; but as for the church robber himself, him they killed beside the treasury.
For these matters, therefore, there was an accusation laid against Menelaus.
Now when the king came to Tyre, three men who were sent from the senate pleaded the cause before him.
But Menelaus, being now convicted, promised Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes to give him much money if he would pacify the king toward him.
Thereupon Ptolemy, taking the king aside into a certain gallery as if it were to take the air, brought him to be of another mind,
insomuch that he discharged Menelaus from the accusations who, notwithstanding, was cause of all the mischief. And those poor men, who, if they had told their cause, yea, before the Scythians, should have been judged innocent; them he condemned to death.
Thus those who pursued the matter for the city, and for the people, and for the holy vessels, did soon suffer unjust punishment.
Therefore even they of Tyre, moved with hatred of that wicked deed, caused them to be honorably buried.
And so, through the covetousness of those who were in power, Menelaus remained still in authority, increasing in malice and being a great traitor to the citizens.