(Hebrew: strength of the Lord)
Name of four Jewish High Priests of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.
Three are mentioned in the Bible:
- Onias I (321-310), mentioned in 1 Machabees 12, as having received a friendly letter from Arius, the Spartan ruler, who claimed kinship and suggested an alliance.
- Onias III (199-175); in 2 Machabees the beginnings of his pontificate are highly praised (2 Machabees 3).
During his rule Heliodorus made his ill-fated expedition to Jerusalem to seize the alleged treasures of the Temple.
- Onias IV was too young to succeed his father in the priesthood which fell into unworthy hands.
He fled into Egypt where he built, near Heliopolis, a new temple for the use of the many Jews in Egypt (160 B.C.).
New Catholic Dictionary