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CONCERNING THE TEMPLE OF KING SOLOMON.
Mount Moriah-The Temple Area, or Enclosure-Wilson's Arch-Robinson's Arch-Masonic Hall -Foundation Walls of the Temple-South, West, and East Gates-Dome of the Rock-Mosque El Aksa-The great Subterranean Quarry.
THIS spur or plateau is between the valley of Jehoshaphat on the east, and the Tyropoon valley on the west, and is just within the walls of the city on the east. Its hight at the Dome of the Rock above the valley of Jehoshaphat is 140 feet, and above the Mediterranean, 2,436. By reference to No. 58 on the engv. an idea of its original appearance may be formed.
To the Christian world, this is a spot of great interest, for here once stood the magnificent Temple of King Solomon, which was dedicated to the worship of the Most High, and was the favored house of God. In it was the Holy of Holies, and it was the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.
To Masons this is also a place of great importance and interest, as the Temple was erected by the ancient craftsmen, of whom King Solomon and the two Hirams were the first Grand Masters.
The foundation of King Solomon's Temple was laid 1012 B.C. (A. M. 2992), in the month of May (Zif).
The history of this great edifice introduces the three worthies, Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram the builder (Abif), who formed a society for mutual assistance in counsel, skill, and wisdom, that they might the better contrive and execute the designs for the various grand structures proposed by Solomon, including of necessity the management of the large number of mechanics, artisans, overseers, and laborers required to carry on all those enterprises. The peculiar wisdom of these measures will be seen when it is stated that Solomon, at the time of his coronation as king, was but 19 years old.
The writings of Josephus confirm the Scripture account of the friendly relations between Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre, and also between David and Hiram. They exchanged presents, and, according to oriental custom, propounded problems and difficult questions one to the other (see 2 Chron. ix.). The correspondence between the two kings on the building of the Temple was preserved among the Tyrian archives in the days of Josephus (Ant. viii. 2, 8), who gives copies of the letters. Eupolemon also mentions the letters and gives copies of those between Solomon and Hiram, also between Solomon and Apries (see Eusebius, Prae. Evang., ix. 30).
The long peace between the two nations, the Jews and the Phoenicians, which was never really broken by either side, can be safely referred to the influence of the secret and mysterious tie which bound the principal persons of both people into a common brotherhood.
Moses was initiated into the mysteries of the SACRED ORDER OF PRIESTS in Egypt before he was permitted to marry a daughter of a priest. He afterwards transmitted those mysteries to the Jewish people. Joshua continued them; and Solomon, associated with the two Hirams, adapted the whole system to the laws and customs of the people of Palestine.*
Phoenician historians give an account of a marriage between Solomon and a daughter of Hiram, King of Tyre. (See Tatian. Græc. § 37.)
Jewish writers pass lightly over the fact that Hiram the King was not circumcised, and have a tradition that because he was a God-fearing man, and assisted in building the Temple, he was translated alive into Faradise.
Of Hiram Abif it is recorded that he was of a mixed race, Jewish and Phoenician, of the tribe of Naphtali. His father-from whom he inherited his eminent abilities, and learned the details of his call ing-was a Tyrian, skilled in the arts of working metals, wood, and cloth, for ornamentation in architecture, also articles for public and private luxury and display. Hiram was appointed chief architect and engineer by Hiram, King of Tyre, and sent to Jerusalem to assist Solomon. His title of Abif (our father) was given as a recognition of his dignity and
*See Egyptian Mysteries, page 431.