Onias III

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Onias III ( Ḥōniyyō) was a Jewish High Priest, the son of Simon II. He is described as a pious man who, unlike the Hellenizers, fought for Judaism. Seleucus Philopator defrayed all the expenses connected with the sanctuary and was friendly to the Jews. According to 2 Maccabees, a traitorous official of the Temple, however, Simon the Benjamite, induced the king, through his official Heliodorus, to undertake the plunder of the Temple treasury; the attempt was not successful, and the Syrian court never forgave the high priest for its miscarriage. When Antiochus IV Epiphanes became king, Onias was obliged to yield to his own brother Jason., Jason became high priest after the death of Onias, the latter's son, who bore the same name, being then a minor. It is strange that both father and son should have been named Onias, and still more strange is the statement of Josephus that the high priest who succeeded Jason and was the brother of Onias and Jason, likewise was called Onias, and did not assume the name of Menelaus until later; for according to this statement there must have been two brothers of the same name.

While this confusion may be due to the Greek transcription of the related Hebrew names Johanan, Honiyya, and Nehonya, the account of Josephus appears wholly unreliable for this very reason. According to II Macc. iv. 26,...
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