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Gebal

A city of Phenicia, on the Mediterranean, and under Mount Lebanon. It was the Byblos of the Greeks, where the worship of Adonis, the Syrian Thammuz, was celebrated. The inhabitants, who were Giblites or, in Masonic language, Giblemites, are said to have been distinguished for the art of stone-carving and are called in the First Book of Kings (v, 18) stone-squarers (see Giblim).

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GEDALIAH

The second officer in a Council of Super-Excellent Masters represents Gedaliah the son of Pashur. A historical error has crept into the ritual of this degree in reference to the Gedaliah who is represented in it. Brother Mackey sought to elucidate the question in his work on Cryptic Masonry in the following manner:

There are five persons of the name of Gedaliah who are mentioned in Scripture but only two of them were contemporary with the destruction of the Temple.

Gedaliah the son of Pashur is mentioned by the Prophet Jeremiah (xxxviii, 1) as a prince of the court of Zedekiah. He was present at its destruction and is known to have been one of the advisers of the King. It novas through his counsels, and those of his colleagues, that Zedekiah was persuaded to deliver up the Prophet Jeremiah to death, from which he was rescued only by the intercession of a eunuch of the palace.

The other Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam. He seems to have been greatly in favor with Nebuchadnezzar, for after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the deportation of Zedekiah, he was appointed by the Chaldean monarch as his Satap or Governor over Judea. He took up his residence at Mizpah, where he was shortly afterward murdered by Ishmael, one of the descendants of the house of David.

The question now arises, which of these two is the one referred to in the ceremonies of a Council of Super Excellent Masters? I think there can be no doubt that the founders of the Degree intended the second officer of the Council to represent the former, and not the latter Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and not Gedaliah the son of Ahikam; the Prince of Judah, and not the Governor of Judea. We are forced to this conclusion, continues Brother Mackey, by various reasons. The Gedaliah represented in the Degree must have been a resident of Jerusalem during the siege, and at the very time of the assault, which immediately preceded the destruction of the Temple and the city. Now, we know that Gedaliah the son of Pashur was with Hezekiah as one of his advisers. On the other hand, it is most likely that Gedaliah the son of Ahikam could have been a resident of Jerusalem, for it is not at all probable that Nebuchadnezzar would have selected such a one for the important and confidential office of a Satrap or Governor. We should rather suppose that Gedaliah the son of Ahikam had been carried away to Babylon after one of the former sieges; that he had there, like Daniel, gained by his good conduct the esteem and respect of the Chaldean monarch; that he had come back to Judea with the army; and that, on the taking of the city, he had been appointed Governor by Nebuchadnezzar. Such being the facts, it is evident that he could not have been in the Council of King Zedekiah, advising and directing his attempted escape. The modern revivers of the Degree of Super-Excellent Master have, therefore, been wrong in supposing that Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, and afterward Governor of Judea, was the person represented by the second officer of the Council. He was Gedaliah the son of Pashur, a wicked man, one of Zedekiah's princes, and was most probably put to death by Nebuchadnezzar, with the other princes and nobles whom he captured in the plains of Jericho.

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