This Simon now ( of whom we spake afore ) being a betrayer of the money and of his own natural country, reported the worst of Onias: as though he had moved Heliodorus unto this, and as though he had been a bringer up of evil. Thus he was not ashamed to call him an enemy of the realm, that was so faithful an overseer and defender of the city and of his people: yee and so fervent in the law of God. But when the malice of Simon increased so far, that through his friends there were certain manslaughters committed: Onias considered the peril that might come through this strife, and how that Apollonius ( namely the chief lord in Celosyria and Phenices ) was all set up tyranny, and Simons malice increased the same: He gat him to the king, not as an accuser of the citizens, but as one that by himself intended the common wealth of the whole multitude. For he saw it was not possible to live in peace, neither Simon to leave off from his foolishness, except the king did look thereto. But after the death of Seleucus, when *Antiochus ( which is called the noble ) took the kingdom: Jason the brother of Onias labored to be high priest: for he came unto the king, and promised him three hundred and sixty talents of silver, and of the other rents eighty talents. Beside this he promised him yet an hundred and fifty if he might have *the school of the children, and that he might call them of Jerusalem Antiochians. Which when the king had granted, and he had gotten the superiority, he began immediately to draw his kinsmen to the custom of the Heathen, put down the things that the Jews had set up of love, by John the father of Eupolemius, which was sent ambassador unto Rome, for to make the bond of friendship and love. He put down all the Jews and Liberties of the Jews, and set up the wicked statutes. He durst make a frightening school under the castle, and set fair young men to learn the manners of whores and brodels.
This was now the beginning of the Heathenish and strange conversation, brought in through the ungracious and unheard wickedness of Jason, which should not be called a Priest, but an ungodly person. In so much that the priests were now no more occupied about the service of the altar, but despised the temple, regarded not the offerings: yee gave their diligence to learn to fight, to wrestle, to leap, to dance, and to put at the stone: not setting by the honor of the fathers, but liked the glory of the Greeks best of all: for the which they strove perilously, and were greedy to follow their statutes, yee their lust was in all things to be like them, which afore were their enemies and destroyers. How be it to do wickedly against the law of God, shall not escape unpunished: but of this we shall speak here after.
What time as the Olympiades sports were played at Tyrus ( the king himself being present ) this ungracious Jason sent *wicked men bearing from them of Jerusalem ( which were now called Antiochians ) three hundred drachmas of silver for an offering to Hercules. These had they that carried them, desired under such a fashion, as though they should not have been offered, but bestowed to other uses. Nevertheless he that sent them, sent them to the intent that they should be offered unto Hercules. But because of those that were present, they were given as to the making of ships. And Apollonius the son of Nesteus was sent into Egypt, because of the noble men of king Ptolomy Philometor. Now when Antiochus perceived that he was put out from meddling in the realm, he sought his own profit, departed from thence, came to Joppa, and then to Jerusalem: where he was honorably received of Jason and the city, and was brought in with torch light and with great praise: and so he turned his host unto Phenices.
After three years Jason sent Menelaus, the aforesaid Simons brother, to bear the money unto the king, and to bring him answer of other necessary matters. But he ( when he was praised of the king for magnifying of his power ) turned the priesthood unto himself, laying up three hundred talents of silver for Jason. So when he had gotten the commandments from the king, he came having nothing that becometh a priest, but bearing the stomach of a cruel tyrant, and the wrath of a wild brute beast. Then Jason ( which had deceived his own brother ) seeing that he himself was beguiled also, was *faine to flee into the land of the Ammonites, and Menelaus got the dominion. But as for the money that he had promised unto the king, he did nothing therein, when Sostratus the ruler of the castle required it of him. For Sostratus was the man that gathered the customs: wherefore they were both called before the king. Thus was Menelaus put out of the priesthood, and Lysimachus his brother came in his stead. Sostratus also was made lord of the Cyprians.
It happened in the mean season, that the Tharsians and Mallocians made insurrection, because they were given for a present unto king Antiochus concubine. Then came the king in all haste, to still them again, and to pacify the matter, leaving Andronicus there to be his deputy, as one *mete therefore. Now Menelaus supposing that he had gotten a right convenient time, stole certain vessels of gold out of the temple, and gave them to Andronicus for a present: and some he sold at Tyrus and in the cities thereby.
Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him: but he kept him in a Sanctuary beside Daphnis, that lieth by Antioche. Wherefore Menelaus gat him to Andronicus, and prayed him that he would slay Onias. So when he came to Onias, he counselled him craftily to come out of the Sanctuary, giving him his hand with an oath ( how be it he suspected him ) and then he slew Onias, without any regard of righteousness. For the which cause not only the Jews, but other nations also took indignation, and were displeased for the unrighteous death of so godly a man.
And when the king was come again from Cilicia, the Jews and certain of the Greeks went unto him, complaining for the unrighteous death of Onias. Yee Antiochus himself was sorry in his mind for Onias, so that it pitied him, and he wept, remembering his soberness and mannerly behavior. Wherefore was he so kindled in his mind, that he commanded Andronicus to be stripped out of his purple clothing, and so to be led throughout all the city: yee and the ungracious man to be slain in the same place, where he committed his wickedness upon Onais. Thus the Lord rewarded him his punishment, as he had deserved. Now when Lysimachus had done many wicked deeds in the temple through the counsel of Menelaus, and the voice came abroad: the multitude gathered them together against Lysimachus, for he had carried out now much gold.
So when the people arose, and were full of displeasure, Lysimachus armed three thousand unthirifties to defend him: *a certain tyrant being their captain, which was grown both in age and woodness. But when the people understood the purpose of Lysimachus, some gat stones, some good strong clubs, and some cast ashes upon Lysimachus. Thus there were many of them wounded, some being slain, and all the other chased away. But as for the wicked *churchrobber himself, they killed him beside the treasury. Of these matters therefore there was kept a court against Menelaus. Now when the king came to Tyrus, they made a complaint unto him of Menelaus, concerning this business, and the ambassadors were there. But Menelaus went and promised Ptolomy to give him much money, if he would persuade the king. So Ptolomy went to the king in to a court, ( where as he was set to cool him ) and brought him out of that mind. In so much that he discharged Menelaus from the accusations, that not withstanding was cause of all mischief: and those poor men, which if they had told their cause, yee before the Scythians, they should have been judged innocent, them he condemned to death.
Thus were they soon punished, which followed upon the matter for the city, for the people, and for the holy vessel. Wherefore they of Tyrus took indignation, and buried them honorably. And so through the covetousness of them that were in power Menelaus remained still in authority, increasing in malice, to the hurt of the citizens.