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Jason Introduces Greek Customs

(A)Later, when King Seleucus died and Antiochus (known as Epiphanes) became king, Jason the brother of Onias became High Priest by corrupt means. He went to see[a] the king and offered him 27,000 pounds of silver with 6,000 more pounds to be paid later. Jason also offered him an additional 11,250 pounds of silver for the authority to establish a stadium where young men could train and to enroll the people of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch.[b]

10 The king gave his approval, and just as soon as Jason took over the office of High Priest, he made the people of Jerusalem change to the Greek way of life. 11 (B)He began by abolishing the favors that John had secured for the Jews from previous Syrian kings. (John was the father of the Eupolemus who later went to Rome to make an alliance and to establish ties of friendship.) Jason also did away with our Jewish customs and introduced new customs that were contrary to our Law. 12 With great enthusiasm he built a stadium near the Temple hill and led our finest young men to adopt the Greek custom of participating in athletic events. 13 Because of the unrivaled wickedness of Jason, that ungodly and illegitimate High Priest, the craze for the Greek way of life and for foreign customs reached such a point 14 that even the priests lost all interest in their sacred duties. They lost interest in the Temple services and neglected the sacrifices. Just as soon as the signal was given, they would rush off to take part in the games that were forbidden by our Law. 15 They did not care about anything their ancestors had valued; they prized only Greek honors. 16 And this turned out to be the source of all their troubles, for the very people whose ways they admired and whose customs they tried to imitate became their enemies and oppressed them. 17 It is a serious thing to disregard God's Law, as you will see from the following events.

Jerusalem under Syrian Influence

18 Once when the king was present for the athletic games that were held every five[c] years in the city of Tyre, 19 that worthless Jason sent some men there from Jerusalem, who were also enrolled as citizens of Antioch, to take 22,500 pounds of silver to pay for a sacrifice to the god Hercules. But even these men did not think it was fitting to use such a large sum of money for a sacrifice, and 20 so the money originally intended as a sacrifice to Hercules was used for the construction of warships.

21 When Apollonius son of Menestheus was sent to Egypt to attend the crowning of Philometor as king, Antiochus learned that Philometor was opposed to his policies. Antiochus became concerned about the security of his own kingdom, so he went to Joppa and then on to Jerusalem. 22 There he was welcomed with great splendor by Jason and the people of the city who went out to greet him, shouting and carrying torches. From Jerusalem Antiochus led his army to Phoenicia.

Menelaus Becomes High Priest

23 Three years later, Jason sent Menelaus (brother of the Simon[d] mentioned earlier) to take some money to the king and to get his decision on several important matters. 24 But when he stood before the king, Menelaus impressed him with his show of authority and offered 22,500 pounds of silver more than Jason had offered for his appointment to the office of High Priest. 25 As a result Menelaus returned to Jerusalem with papers from the king, confirming him as High Priest. But he possessed no other qualifications; he had the temper of a cruel tyrant and could be as fierce as a wild animal.

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  1. 2 Maccabees 4:8 went to see; or wrote to.
  2. 2 Maccabees 4:9 the people...Antioch; or the men of Jerusalem as supporters of King Antiochus.
  3. 2 Maccabees 4:18 five; or four.
  4. 2 Maccabees 4:23 simon: See 3.4.

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