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Tribes of Israel

All the twelve Tribes of Israel were engaged in the construction of the first Temple. But long before its destruction, ten of them revolted, and formed the nation of Israel; while the remaining two, the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, retained possession of the Temple, and of Jerusalem under the name of the Kingdom of Judah. To these two Tribes alone, after the return from the captivity, was entrusted the building of the second Temple. Hence in the advanced Degrees, which, of course are connected for the most part with the Temple of Zerubbabel, or with events that occurred subsequent to the destruction of that of Solomon, the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin only are referred to. But in the primary Degrees, which are based on the first Temple, the Masonic references always are to the twelve Tribes. Hence in the old lectures the twelve original points are explained by a reference to the twelve Tribes (see Twelve Original Points of Freemasonry).

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