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JASON (Gr. Iason, to heal). A believer who sheltered Paul and Silas in Thessalonica (Acts.17.5-Acts.17.9). He was among those who sent greetings from Corinth to Rome (Rom.16.21).

JASON jā’ sən (LXX ̓Ιάσων, G2619, healing; sometimes substituted for Joshua and Jesus, by Gr.-speaking Jews [Jos. Antiq. XII. v. 1]). 1. Son of Eleazer, whom Judas Maccabeus sent to solicit Rom. aid against the Syrians, 161 b.c. (1 Macc 8:17). He (or his son) sought to renew the alliance in 144 b.c. (1 Macc 12:16; 14:22; Jos Antiq. XII. x. 6).

2. Son of Simon II, and brother of the high priest Onias III, who by bribery secured the office for himself. Through his influence, Gr. customs became popularized (2 Macc 4:7-26). He gave large gifts for the sacred games at Tyre honoring Hercules (4:16-20). His tenure was only three years (174-171 b.c.), when he was supplanted by Menelaus, who offered the king a greater bribe Jason fled to the Ammonites.

A false rumor of Antiochus’ death in Egypt brought Jason back to Jerusalem with a large following to overthrow Menelaus. Antiochus returned to wreak vengeance on the Jews; and Jason again fled to Ammon, then to Egypt, and later to Sparta, where he died (5:1-10).

3. A Cyrenian who wrote a history of the Jewish freedom-struggle against Antiochus Epiphanes and his successor Eupator. Second Maccabees is a condensation of this history. Jason’s name and residence indicate that he was Gr. His account ends with the year 160 b.c.; the book was prob. written shortly after that date. The preface of the book tells what is known of Jason.

4. A Jewish Christian (Acts 17:1, 4, 7), who was a relative of Paul (perhaps not by blood, Rom 16:21; cf. 9:3). This man was prob. the Thessalonian host to the missionaries Paul and Silas, and, who with others, was summoned to court on a charge of being hospitable to seditionists. Freedom was obtained by giving security for good conduct (Acts 17:5-9).

5. Another Jason could be the one referred to in Romans 16:21 as the object of Pauline salutation.


N. Snaith, The Jews from Cyrus to Herod (c. 1950), 35f.; S. Tedesche and S. Zeitlin, The Second Book of the Maccabees (1954), 7, 13; J. Bright, History of Israel (1959), 403-405.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A common name among the Hellenizing Jews who used it for Jesus or Joshua, probably connecting it with the Greek verb iashthai ("to heal").

(1) Son of Eleazar, sent (161 BC) by Judas Maccabeus with other deputies to Rome "to make a league of amity and confederacy" (1 Macc 8:17; Josephus, Ant, XII, x, 6), and perhaps to be identified with (2).

(2) The father of Antipater who went as ambassador of Jonathan to Rome in 144 BC (1 Macc 12:16; 14:22; Ant, XIII, v, 8).

(3) Jason of Cyrene, a Jewish historian, who is known only from what is told of him in 2 Macc 2:19-23. 2 Macc is in fact simply an abridgment in one book of the 5 books written by Jason on the Jewish wars of liberation. He must have written after 162 BC, as his books include the wars under Antiochus Eupator.

(4) Jason the high priest, second son of Simon II and brother of Onias III. The change of name from Jesus (Josephus, Ant, XII, v) was part of the Hellenizing policy favored by Antiochus Epiphanes from whom he purchased the high-priesthood by a large bribe, thus excluding his elder brother from the office (2 Macc 4:7-26). He did everything in his power to introduce Greek customs and Greek life among the Jews. He established a gymnasium in Jerusalem, so that even the priests neglected the altars and the sacrifices, and hastened to be partakers of the "unlawful allowance" in the palaestra. The writer of 2 Macc calls him "that ungodly wretch" and "vile" Jason. He even sent deputies from Jerusalem to Tyre to take part in the worship of Hercules; but what he sent for sacrifices, the deputies expended on the "equipment of galleys." After 3 years of this Hellenizing work he was supplanted in 172 BC in the favor of Antiochus by Menelaus who gave a large bribe for the high priest’s office. Jason took refuge with the Ammonites; on hearing that Antiochus was dead he tried with some success to drive out Menelaus, but ultimately failed (2 Macc 5:5 ff). He took refuge with the Ammonites again, and then with Aretas, the Arabian, and finally with the Lacedaemonians, where he hoped for protection "as being connected by race," and there "perished-miserably in a strange land."

(5) A name mentioned in Ac 17:5-9 and in Ro 16:21. See following article.

A Greek name assumed by Jews who bore the Hebrew name Joshua. This name is mentioned twice in the New Testament. (See also preceding article.)

(1) Jason was the host of Paul during his stay in Thessalonica, and, during the uproar organized by the Jews, who were moved to jealousy by the success of Paul and Silas, he and several other "brethren" were severely handled by the mob. When the mob failed to find Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and "certain brethren" before the politarchs, accusing Jason of treason in receiving into his house those who said "There is another king, one Jesus." The magistrates, being troubled, took security from them, and let them go.

There are various explanations of the purpose of this security. "By this expression it is most probably meant that a sum of money was deposited with the magistrates, and that the Christian community of the place made themselves responsible that no attempt should be made against the supremacy of Rome, and that peace should be maintained in Thessalonica itself" (Conybeare and Howson, Paul). Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler) thinks that the security was given to prevent Paul from returning to Thessalonica and that Paul refers to this in 1Th 2:18.

The immediate departure of Paul and Silas seems to show the security was given that the strangers would leave the city and remain absent (Ac 17:5-9).

(2) Jason is one of the companions of Paul who unite with him in sending greetings to the Roman Christians (Ro 16:21). He is probably the same person as (1). Paul calls him a kinsman, which means a Jew (compare Ro 9:3; 16:11,21).