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Algoma District Travelling Square

 

SOLOMON, KING OF ISRAEL - January 11, 1961

 

 PRESENTED TO: FORT WILLIAM LODGE A.F. & A.M. No. 415 BY KAMINISTIQUIA LODGE A.F. & A.M. No. 584

 THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO

      

True to the symbol for which it stands the Travelling Square moves on carrying with it farther light in Masonry.

 

Having left Kaministiquia Lodge No. 584, it now enters Port William Lodge No. 415 on this eleventh day of January 1961.

 

Let as for a moment or two look in retrospect end follow the journeys of the Travelling Square by Master Craftsmen it first saw the light of day in Superior Lodge No. 672, Red Rock, Ontario, for the purpose of furthering the work of Masonic Education.

 

This Square started on its way by going to Kenogamisis Lodge No. 656, Geraldton, Ontario, on the 16th of April 1958 bringing with it the Knowledge of  ”The Pour Tassels”.

 

Continuing on its way the Square moved to Hornepayne Lodge No.636 on the 24th of May l958, imparting light on the traditional Masonic colour “Blue”.

 

On the 9th day of June 1958, Port Arthur Lodge No. 499 was visited by the Travelling Square and schooled in the “Wages of an Entered Apprentice”.

 

‘The Ancient Landmarks of Masonry” was the topic presented with the Square at Terrace Bay Lodge No. 662 on June 12th 1958.  After a well earned rest the Travelling Square once more continued on its journey by visiting Royal Lodge No. 453 in Fort William, on the night of October 15th 1958; leaving a message on “An Erring Brother.”  Entering the year 1959, the Square brought a message on “Masonry Building” to Connaught Lodge No. 511 in Port William on January 19th. 1959.

 

November 3rd 1959, saw our Masonic Symbol returned to Port Arthur and Shuniah Lodge No. 287. An educational review entitled “Polishing the Stone” was presented.

 

Returning home after a long absence our Travelling Square carried a message on Liberal Arts and Sciences to Superior Lodge at Red Rock on May 11th 1960.

 

Nearing the comp1etion of its first tour the Square visited Port William at Kaministiquia Lodge No. 584 on October 18th 1960.  Accompanied by several Master Craftsmen of Superior Lodge the Square threw light on the origin of the sacred symbol, The Letter “G”.  Tonight in visiting the Mother Lodge of Fort William No. 415 the Travelling Square brings with it a history of the builder of the Temple -- our Grand Master:

  

 “SOLOMON KING OF ISRAEL”

 

King So1omon was a son of King David and Queen Bathsheila of Israel.  Personal ambition was the keynote of his life.  As his father, King David laid on his death bed, Solomon’s eldest brother Adonich conspired with members of the King’s court to seize the throne for himself.  The plot was discovered and Solomon the rightful heir by his father’s choice ascended the throne at the age of 21 years.  At this time he exhibited the first promise of that wise judgement for which he was ever afterwards distinguished.  Instead of imposing the death penalty on his brother and other conspirators Solomon put them in exile -- warning them that any farther mutinous or heinous acts would bring death, for them.  This penalty was later carried out due to certain members breaking their exile.

 

King Solomon reigned from 976 - 936 B.C. and daring that time made himself famous throughout the then know world for his magnificence.  In fact he was probably the most magnificent king of Biblical times.

 

It was reported that his court was so large that in one day it consumed 335 bushels of flour, 670 bushels of meal, 30 oxen and 100 sheep besides countless fowl.

 

He was fascinated by gold and used it extensively for plating his buildings and furniture, even his stables.  His personal bodyguard of 300 men had shields plated in gold for ceremonial occasions.

 

Solomon’s throne knew no equal, approached by six steps and made of ivory; it was overlaid with gold and embellished with 14 statues of 1ions.  King Solomon introduced horses and chariots into the Israelite army and it was recorded he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen at his disposal.

 

The most signal illustration of his magnificence, and the one great object of his life, the one which most intimately connects him with the history of Masonry was the erection of a Temple to Jehovah.  Between the hills of Zion and Moriah, Solomon had workmen fill in the lowland and surrounded the filled area with huge retaining walls.  This area was so large it was sufficient for three units of buildings.  The first enclosure contained “The House of the Forest of Lebanon” “The Porch of Pillars” and the “Porch of the Throne”.  These served the purposes of government.

 

The next enclosure contained Solomon’s own house.  Near it the house of Pharaoh’s daughter -- his chief Queen.

 

The Third enclosure contained the magnificent Temple and its surrounding Court.

 

King Solomon’s building program also included extensive fortifications at Jerusalem, and in the regions that commanded his trade routes, which housed his stores and armies.

 

This extensive program changed the face of Palestine from a land of farms and villages to a world nation with a proud capital and far flung strongholds.

 

Solomon was its master planner and builder.

 

As we have been told in our Masonic teachings Solomon’s father, King David, shortly before his death, charged his son to build the Temple of God, as soon as he received the Kingdom.  He gave him directions in relation to the construction of the edifice and also put in his possession ten thousand talents of gold, and ten times that amount of silver which had collected for defraying the expense.  David also informed Solomon of the alliance with Hiram King of Tyre and his arrangement with him to supply men and. materials for the building the Temple.  Prior to the start of the Temple, Solomon entered into a commercial treaty with Hiram, King of Tyre who supplied 33,600 workmen, besides a sufficient quantity of timber and stone.

 

Hiram also supplied a far more important gift than the workmen and materials in the person of a curious and cunning workman -- the architect - Hiram Abiff -- who was to superintend the erection of the temple.

 

In return for his service, Hiram, King of Tyre received from Solomon an annual pay of 220,000 bushels of grain (wheat) and 1,800 gallons of pure oil.  After 20 years Hiram was given 20 cities of Galilee by Solomon to make good a deficit in the account.

 

This relationship between Solomon and Hiram remained mutually profitable for years, but in the end Hiram expressed dissatisfaction over the 20 cities.

 

Evidently King Solomon knew how to come off well in a business deal.

 

History informs us Solomon commenced the temple in April 2992 B.C. and completed it in 2985 B.C. (slightly over seven years in building).  The supreme moment of his life was the dedication of the temple -- for he was a heart and soul believer in what it stood for.

 

King Solomon was also cosmopolitan by nature; in fact he almost carried it to excess.  He aimed at surpassing all the kings of the surrounding countries, end to do this he entered into relations with them.  Early in his reign he gained the hand of Pharaoh’s daughter and as a result this relationship with Egypt remained very close throughout his lifetime.  He also formed marriage alliances with surrounding countries namely; Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonlans, and Hittites.  His court contained 700 wives mainly princesses, 300 concubines.  These alliances added to his cosmopolitanism by opening for commercialism between Israel and its neighbours, but as a result of these alliances Solomon undermined the one thing Israel stood for - a nation separated from all other peoples and belonging specially to God.

 

His marriages tended to adopt foreign customs, dress, and ways of thinking. This lessened Israel’s isolation and dilated its flavour.  One could say that Solomon deflected his people from the path of destiny. Because of his desire to do right by his foreign wives he erected chapels to various deities, which conflicted with the religious views of the Israelites.  It is believed however that before his death he deeply repented this aberration from virtue.

 

As an organizer and administrator he was probably one of the greatest, but his gigantic building program impoverished his people.  Palestine was a small country and he relied mainly on the taxes for his income--the country’s productivity was unable to support his program. He did not, during his reign, increase the agricultural output and the various buildings throughout the kingdom were not built with the idea of providing revenue.

 

You will remember that 20 years after his commercial agreement with Hiram, King of Tyre, and Solomon had to make up a trade deficit by giving away part of his Kingdom -- the 20 cities of Galilee.

 

His royal program had a serious effect on the social aspect of his people.  It destroyed their happiness through heavy taxation, the forced removal of men to work on his building projects and the handing over of Israelite cities to a foreign master.

 

These are the kind of things that, in all ages, have wrought misery wherever they have been put into practice.

 

That King Solomon was the wisest monarch of Israel has been the unanimous opinion of posterity.

 

As a naturalist it was said he wrote a paper on animals which equalled any writings then known.

 

As a poet he wrote over a thousand poems, some of which we know today as the Songs of Solomon.

 

His writings also included the Book of Ecclesiastes and the Book of Proverbs, although of the latter, some of the historians differ in their views.

 

In the centuries to follow, this Wisdom of Solomon enlisted the service of earnest thinkers and developed a noble teaching literature based on the volume of the Sacred Law.

 

The Temple of Solomon crowded out the other shrines of the land and the priests of the temple were to make their influence increasingly felt in the direction of a lofty and imageless worship, as against the worship of idols.

 

After a reign of forty years he died and with him ended forever the glory and the power of the Hebrew empire.

 

“Solomon King of Israel”

 

And so the Travelling Square moves on, and moving, leaves behind some food for thought.  Are we as Masons, the type of Mason that is sought or are we actors playing roles, within these Hallowed Halls but once outside and on our way, forget the teachings on the scrolls.

 

Presented by W. Bro. F.D. Gerrie