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Brother Hawkins was of the opinion that the word is really an incorrect transliteration of the Hebrew word for builders, which should be Bonim; the construct form of which Bonai is used in 1 Kings (v, 18), to designate a portion of the workmen on the Temple: "And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them." Brother Hawkins continues to the effect that Oliver, in his Dictionary and in his Landmarks (1, 402), gives a mythical account of them as Fellow Crafts, divided into Lodges by King Solomon, but, by a slip in his grammar he calls them Benai, substituting the Hebrew construct for the absolute case, and changing the participial o into e. The Bonaim seem to be distinguished, by the author of the Book of Kings, from the Gibalim, and the translators of the authorized version have called the former builders and the latter stone-squarers. It is probable that the Bonaim were an order of workmen inferior to the Gibalim. Anderson, in both of his editions of the Book of Constitutions, errs like Oliver, and calls them Bonai, saying that they were "setters, layers, or .builders, or light Fellow Crafts, in number 80,000.''

This idea seems to have been perpetuated in the modern rituals. From this construct plural form Bonai some one has formed the slightly incorrect form Bonaim.



Brother of Napoleon I. Born November 15, 1784, and died June 24, 1860. King of Westphalia from 1807 to 1813 and afterwards known as the Duc de Montfort. Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Westphalia. After 1847 he became successively Governor of the Invalides, Marshal of France and President of the Senate (see also Histoire de la Franc-Maonnerie, Albert Lantoine, 1925, Paris). Jerome, son of the above, also given as a Freemason.

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