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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ONIAS . Four high priests bore this name. Onias I . was son of Jaddua and father of Simon the Just ( Sir 50:1 , where, however, the Heb. reads John in place of Onias ). In his time a letter was said to have come from the Spartan king Areus I. claiming kinship and suggesting alliance ( 1Ma 12:7 f. [RV [Note: Revised Version.] . Arius ]; cf. Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XII. iv. 10). Onias II . was son of Simon the Just. His reluctance to pay the tribute of 20 talents to Egypt would have led to great trouble if his shrewd and self-seeking nephew Joseph had not conciliated Ptolemy ( Ant . XII. vi. 1). Onias III. was son of Simon II., and entered on his office about b.c. 198. According to 2M Malachi 3:1 to 2Ma 4:38 , he ruled the city well. A dispute arose between him and a man named Simon. The latter persuaded king Scleucus to send Heliodorus ( 4Ma 4:1-14 substitutes Apollonius ) to seize the Temple treasury. Heliodorus being supernaturally repulsed, Onias went to Antioch to defend himself. He was deposed from his office. In b.c. 175 he was murdered ( Daniel 9:26 ). The esteem in which his memory was held appears from 2Ma 15:12-14 . His son Onias IV. fled to Egypt and was welcomed by Ptolemy Philometor, who gave him a disused temple in Leontopolis, which he re-built after the model of the one in Jerusalem, to serve as a centre of unity for the Hellenistic Jews ( Ant . XIII. iii. 1, 3, BJ I. i. 1, VII. x. 2).

J. Taylor.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Onias'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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