Menela'ius (Μενέλαος, a common Greek name), a usurping high-priest who obtained the office from Antiochus Epiphanes (BC. cir. 172) by a large bribe (2 Macc. 4:23-25), and drove out Jason, who had obtained it not long before by similar means. When he neglected to pay the sum which he had promised, he was summoned to the king's presence, and by plundering the Temple gained the means of silencing the accusations which were brought against him. By a similar sacrilege he secured himself against the consequences of an insurrection which his tyranny had excited, and also procured the death of Onias (ver. 27-34). He was afterwards hard pressed by Jason, who, taking occasion from his unpopularity, attempted unsuccessfully to recover the high-priesthood (2 Macc. v. 5-10). For a time he then disappears from the history (yet comp. ver. 23), but at last he met with a violent death at the hands of Antiochus Eupator (BC. cir. 163), which seemed in a peculiar manner a providential punishment of his sacrilege. (xiii. 3, 4).

According to Josephus (Ant. sii. 5,1) he was a younger brother of Jason and Onias, and, like Jason, changed his proper name, Onias, for a Greek name. In 2 Macc., on the other hand, he is called a brother of Simon the Benjamite (2 Macc. 4:23), whose treason led to the first attempt to plunder the Temple. If this account be correct, the profanation of the sacred office was the more marked by the fact that it was transferred from the family of Aaron:

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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