Hiram Abiff and Freemasonry
One of Freemasonry’s founding legends involves Hiram Abiff and King Solomon, of the Old Testament. According to this legend, Hiram Abiff was the Master Mason in charge of building King Solomon’s Temple. Hiram Abiff’s subsequent murder features in Masonic lore.
Who was Hiram Abiff and what’s his relation to Freemasonry?
According to the Old Testament, Hiram Abiff was an expert builder for the wise King Solomon in biblical times. Part of the lore of the origin of Freemasonry involves the legend of Hiram Abiff, which we’ll discuss later.
Although the Old Testament doesn’t go into much detail, Hiram Abiff plays a significant role in our origin stories and goes into a more detailed account.
As the legend goes…
We go back to the reign of King Solomon, the wise king of Ancient Israel. Solomon, having commissioned the building of the Temple, hires Hiram Abiff, the son of a widow, as the chief Architect. It is said that Hiram was an expert architect who possessed intricate and secret knowledge of stone working (i.e. masonry).
Such secrets alerted the eyes of envious “Fellows of the Craft”; a more junior stone mason position and also the name of the 2nd Degree in Freemasonry. Three such Fellow Craft individuals, anxious to possess Hiram’s secret knowledge, approached him demanding the secrets.
Angered by Hiram’s refusal to divulge these secrets, they strike and kill him. The story continues, but we’ll leave it at that, as the rest is taught during the 3rd and final Masonic Degree initiation, when the initiate finally becomes a Master Mason.
Hiram Abiff is a figure from the Old Testament who holds a special place in Masonic origin theory and in our Masonic rituals. The murder of this Master Mason by three envious stonemasons gives rise to one of our central themes in Freemasonry.
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