This Short Talk Bulletin has been adapted from a paper presented at the Southern Arizona Research Lodge in 1982 by Bro. Paul T. Hughes and is published with the gracious permission of Southern Arizona Research Lodge.

According to an ancient Greek historian, Hiram Abif was "a son of a man of Tyre and whose mother was a Jewess of the House of David" -- that is, of Judah. I Kings, Vll, 13-14, tells us that he was a "widow's son of the Tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre." In 11 Chron., 11, 13-14, he is described as the son of a "woman of the daughters of Dan." The stories of his skill and "cunning" as an artificer and metal worker are told in scrip- ture, as well as Masonic lore, and myth and legend.

The central character which he plays in Masonic teaching and ritual needs no repeating. The legends which exist about him, but which are not incorporated into Masonic work, form a fascinating and illuminating picture of a man about whom little factual knowledge exists.
He may have been a member of the cult of Dionysian Artificers. (1) One old legend tells that prior to the start of construction of the Temple, King Solomon held a contest and of- fered a prize for the best design which could be drawn by any of the prospective workman. It was Hiram who drew the figure which we know as an illustration of the forty-seventh problem of Euclid.
He displayed and used the trestle board about which we hear in our ritual. It was a table of wood coated with wax. On this he drew his designs with a stylus of iron. Upon seeing the figure of the 47th problem and recognizing its significance, Solomon, with joy, laid the foun- dation stone of the Temple.(2)
There is a Moslem account that the jewel worn about the neck of Hiram Abif was in- scribed with the "word." He wore this jewel on a chain of gold; and when he was attacked, he threw it down a well to prevent his assassins from obtaining it. It was later recovered from the well, which gives us yet another version of the "recovery of the word."(3)
Part of the credit for obtaining materials to enrich and adorn the Temple is given to Hiram Abif according to another old legend. Four years before construction of the Temple began, he purchased some curious and precious stones from an Arabian merchant. He was told that they had been found on an island in the Red Sea. He traveled there to investigate and was able to discover great quantities of topaz, which later was imported by ships of Hiram of Tyre in the service of King Solomon.(4)
There is an interesting legend of a Temple workman whose name was Cavelum. He was kinsman of King Solomon and was the house of David; thus he had high status among the other workmen. In the process of inspection of work in progress on the north wall of the Temple at a place where the north gate was to be, Hiram Abif accidentally dislodged a stone. It fell and struck Cavelum, who was killed. Hiram Abif was so overcome by grief that he ordered the north gate sealed and closed forever. (5)
This legend was once used as the basis for a degree called Fellow Craft Mark. Dr. Albert Mackey has stated that this was an early trace of the present Mark
1. Dionysian Artificers, Hippolyte Joseph da Costa
2. George Oliver, The Antiquities of Freemasonry
3. Author Unknown, Fire and Sword
4. Alex Horne, King Solomon's Temple in the Masonic Tradition
5. Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey, Rev. Hawkins and Hughan
6. 11 Chron. IV, 11, King James Version
7. Josephus, Antiquities, Vlll, 3:4
8. Arabian Nights, Unabridged, Translated by Pror. Honus Watmer, Oxford U.

Bro. Paul T. Hughes is a member o~ Union l.odge
~31, New London, Conn.
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