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Workmen At the Temple

We have no historical book, except the meager details in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, of the number or classification of the workmen at the Temple of Solomon. The subject has, however, afforded a fertile theme for the exercise of the inventive genius of the ritualists. Although devoid of interest as a historical study, an acquaintance with these traditions, especially the English and American ones, and a comparison of them with the Scriptural account and with that given by Josephus, are necessary as a part of the education of a Masonic student. Doctor Mackey furnished the legends, therefore, simply as a matter of curiosity, without the slightest intention to vouch for their authenticity, at the same time trusting that the good sense and common fairness of the reader will prevent him from including such unauthenticated matter in lectures usually given in the Third Degree and often with much pretense to learning. In the Second Book of Chronicles (ii 17 and 18) we read as follows:

And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering where with David his father had numbered them, and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred. And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a-work.

The same numerical details are given in the second verse of the same chapter. Again, in the First Book of Kings (v 13 and 14) it is said:

And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel- and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

The succeeding verses make the same enumeration of workmen as that contained in the Book of Chronicles quoted above, with the exception that, by omitting the three hundred Harodim, or rulers over all, the number of overseers is stated in the Book of Kings to be only three thousand three hundred. With these authorities, and the assistance of Masonic traditions, Doctor Anderson, in the Book of Constitutions (second edition, page 11) constructs the following table of the Craftsmen at the Temple: Harodim, Princes, Rulers, or Provosts...... .................................... 300 Menatzchim, Overseers, or Master Masons................................. 3.300 Ghiblim Stone-Squarers Ischotzei, Hewers All Fellow Crafts........................................... 80.000 Benai, Builders The Levy out of Israel, who were timber cutters........................ 30.000

All the Freemasons employed in the work of the Temple, exclusive of the two Grand Wardens ........................................113.600

Besides the Ish Sabal, or men of burden, the remains of the old Canaanites, amounting to 70,000, who are not numbered among the Freemasons. In relation to the classification of these workmen, Doctor Anderson says: "Solomon partitioned the Fellow Crafts into certain Lodges, with a Master and Wardens in each, that they might receive commands in a regular manner, might take care of their tools and jewels, might be paid regularly every week, and be duly fed and clothed; and the Fellow Crafts took care of their succession by educating Entered Apprentices. "

Josephus makes a different estimate. He includes the 3,300 Overseers in the 80,000 Fellow Crafts, and makes the number of Freemasons, exclusive of the 70,000 bearers of burden, amount to only 110,000.

A work published in 1764, entitled The Masonic Pocket-Book, gives a still different classification. The number, according to this authority, was as follows:

Harodim ....................... 300 Monatzohkn .............. 3,300 Ghiblim ................... 83,000 Adoniram's men ...... 30,000 Total ...................... 116,600

These, together with the 70,000 Ish Sabal, or laborers, make a grand total of 186,600 workmen. According to the statement of Webb, which has been generally adopted by the Fraternity in the United States, there were:

Grand Masters ..................... 3 Overseers ....................... 3,300 Fellow Crafts ............... 80,000 Entered Apprentices .... 70,000

This account makes no allusion to the 300 Harodim, nor to the levy of 30,000, it is, therefore, manifestly incorrect. Indeed, no certain authority can be found for the complete classification of the workmen, since neither the Bible nor Josephus gives any account of the number of Tyrians employed. Doctor Oliver, however, in his Historical Landmarks, has collected from the Masonic traditions an account of the classifications of the workmen, which we shall insert, with a few additional facts taken from other authorities. According to these traditions, the following was the classification of the Freemasons who wrought in the Quarries of Tyre:

Super-Excellent Masons...................... 6 Excellent Masons.............................. 48 Grand Architects................................. 8 Architects ......................................... 16 Master Masons............................. 2,376 Mark Masters................................... 700 Mark Men .................................... 1,400 Fellow Crafts.............................. 53,900 These were arranged as follows: The six Supers Excellent Masons were divided into two Grand Lodges, with three Brethren in each to superintend the work. The Excellent Masons were divided into six Lodges of nine each, including one of the Super-Excellent Masons, who presided as Master.

The eight Grand Architects constituted one Lodge, and the sixteen Architects another. The Grand Architects were the Masters, and the Architects the Wardens, of the Lodges of Master Masons, which were eight in number, and consisted, with their officers, of three hundred in each. The Mark Masters were divided into fourteen Lodges of fifty in each, and the Mark Men in fourteen Lodges also, of one hundred in each. The Mark Masters were the Masters, and the Mark Men the Wardens, of the Lodges of Fellow Crafts, which were seven hundred in number, and with their officers consisted of eighty in each.

The classification of the workmen in the Forest of Lebanon was as follows:

Super-Excellent Masons.......................... 3 Excellent Masons.................................. 24 Grand Architeets.................................... 4 Architects .............................................. 8 Master Masons................................ 1,188 Mark Masters..................................... 300 Mark Men.......................................... 600 Fellow Crafts.................................. 23,100 Entered Apprentices....................... 10,000 Total ............................................. 35,227

These were arranged as follows: The three Super Excellent Masons formed one Lodge. The Excellent Masons were divided into three Lodges of nine each, including one of the Super- Excellent Masons as Master. The four Grand Architects constituted one Lodge and the eight Architects another, the former acting as Masters and the latter as Wardens of the Lodges of Master Masons, which were four in number, and consisted, with their officers, of three hundred in each. The Mark Masters were divided into six Lodges of fifty in each, and the Mark Men into six Lodges also, of one hundred in each. These two classes presided, the former as Masters and the latter as Wardens, over the Lodges of Fellow Crafts, which were three hundred in number, and were composed of eighty in each, including their officers.

After three years had been occupied in "hewing, squaring, and numbering" the stones, and in "felling and preparing" the timbers, these two Bodies of Freemasons, from the Quarries and the Forest, united for the purpose of properly arranging and fitting the materials, so that no metallic tool might be required in putting them up, and they were then carried up to Jerusalem Here the whole body was congregated ,under the superintending care of Hiram Abif, and to them were added four hundred and twenty Lodges of Tyrian and Sidonian Fellow Crafts, having eighty in each, and the twenty thousand Entered Apprentices of the Levy from Israel, who had heretofore been at rest, and who were added to the Lodges of their Degree, making them now consist of three hundred in each, so that the whole number then engaged at Jerusalem amounted to two hundred and seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty-one, who were arranged as follows:

9 Lodges of Excellent Masons, 9 in each, were..........................................81 12 Lodges of Master Masons, 300 in each, were ................................. 3,600 1,000 Lodges of Fellow Crafts 80 in each, were ................................. 80,000 420 Lodges of Tyrian Fellow Crafts, 80 in each, were......................... 33,600 100 Lodges of Entered Apprentices, 300 in each were..........................30 000 70,000 Ish Sabal, or laborers...............................................................70 000 Total .................................................................................................217,281

Such is the system adopted by our English Brethren. The American ritual has greatly simplified the arrangement. According to the system now generally adopted in the United States, the workmen engaged in building King Solomon's Temple are supposed to have been classified as follows:

3 Grand Masters. 300 Harodim, or Chief Superintendents, who were Past Masters. 3,300 Overseers, er Master Masons, divided into Lodges of three in each. 80,000 Fellow Crafts, divided into Lodges of five in each. 70 000 Entered Apprentices, divided into Lodges of seven in each.

According to this account, there must have been eleven hundred Lodges of Master Masons; sixteen thousand of Fellow Crafts; and ten thousand of Entered Apprentices. No account is here taken of the levy of thirty thousand who are supposed not to have been Freemasons, nor of the builders sent by Hiram, King of Tyre whom the English lectures place at thirty-three thousand six hundred, and most of whom some may suppose to have been members of the Dionysiac Fraternity of Artificers, the institution from which Freemasonry, according to legendary authority, took its origin.

On the whole, the American system seems too defective to meet all the demands of the inquirer into this subject--an objection to which the English is not so obnoxious. But, Doctor Mackey again observes the whole account is mythical, and is to he viewed rather as a curiosity than as having any historical value.

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