The Fall of Solomon

the fall of Solomon, king solomon, temple builder, 1 kingsKing Solomon of Israel is referred to in Masonic tradition as being the fraternity’s first Most Excellent Grand Master. He is championed as the man who constructed the magnificent temple for Jehovah and is heralded as the personification of wisdom. However, a closer look at the life of King Solomon shows that he wasn’t always worthy of emulation.

It is true that Solomon had multitudes of wives and concubines, but that will not be the source of any criticism in this article. Many Biblical kings had large harems, including Solomon’s father David. No, Solomon would be condemned for the very sin which had plagued his people for centuries: putting other gods before Jehovah.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.
1 Kings 11:4-7

The Hebrews could be a strange people. God parted the Red Sea and freed the Israelites from slavery. Then he gave them a pillar of clouds by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them. Then he provided them with manna to nourish them. Yet, the Hebrews worshiped other Gods. In Solomon’s case, he was allowed to complete the Lord’s temple and was blessed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. Still, he decided to disobey the First Commandment.

Like many main characters in the Old Testament, Solomon’s place of prominence came only through special circumstances. When David was old and frail, Bathsheba convinced him to place Solomon on the throne of Israel (indeed, the influence of women can be great). Solomon was certainly not David’s first choice for his heir. Joseph Heller’s God Knows gives a fictional account of the events surrounding the elderly King David. Heller portrays Solomon in a less than flattering manner in this humorous work. In the story, King David says of his son:

And I was smart enough to appreciate that for Solomon you had to spell everything out. I’ll let you in on a secret about my son Solomon: he was dead serious when he proposed cutting the baby in half, that putz. I swear to God.

While this portrayal may have no real historical basis, this much is true: Solomon was made king only through the unfortunate deaths of David’s older sons, he built his temple only through a blessing secured by his father, and he managed to nearly destroy the promising future which God had given David’s offspring. Nevertheless, 1 Kings 4:29 says that “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.”

Through this knowledge he was able to secure his place in history as the builder of the Lord’s temple and has been given the honor of being a prominent figure in Masonic tradition. Like all men, Solomon may have had faults, but some of his actions have earned him respect. This is a lesson that can benefit all Masons. Masons must recognize that all men have their redeeming qualities as well as their imperfections. The Mason should never hesitate to clearly identify these qualities in the men that they have identified as being worthy of emulation.

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  1. The higher Lodge of Perfection degrees of the Scottish Rite cover this. They lament that Solomon did not live up to his early faithfulness, and use that as the reason why the Temple was destroyed. It makes for a nice thematic segue to the Prince of Jerusalem degrees.

  2. Well, for me, just ‘cuz it says something in the bible doesn’t make it so.
    The Anti Solomon passages are for me clearly transpearant that there is a jealosy issue amoung those who were not in power, and coming up with any occasion that Solomon was out of favor with Diety is easily the first shot is Monothiest Supremists.

    I have spent too much time defending Solomon. Especially his marriage practices. If one studied the actuall reasons for the destruction of the First Temple, one find the accounts in the bible to be far and away off base, at the very least.

    Solomon didn’t fall. And Nebuchadnezzar would not have destroyed the Temple if Israel and Judah had lived up the the Treaty called “The New and Everlasting Covenant”, instead of listening to the minority Jahwist Radical Separatists, and asked Egypt to help them Overthrow the Babylonian Vassal/Susarain relationship they had.


  3. The history of man is filled with tales, myths, exaggerations, allegories, and even a few true stories which are designed to teach truths about life and God. In this case, we are discussing King Solomon of Israel and the story found in the Hebrew scriptures which show the repercussions of putting other gods before the on Almighty Father. It doesn’t matter if King Solomon existed or if he worshiped another God or not, what is important here is the lesson.

    In this article I made the point in the last paragraph that “This is a lesson that can benefit all Masons. Masons must recognize that all men have their redeeming qualities as well as their imperfections.” Is this not a true statement?

    Similarly, we can examine modern cases of men that have worshiped other gods. Do you think Bernie Madoff could possibly worship the Almighty while stealing from charities? Or was he really worshiping the dollar? Look at his fall from grace. Indeed, the Bible also seems to teach the King Solomon chose to worship the female form which led him to honor other gods. Is this not also the plight of certain Governors from New York and South Carolina?

    I do not believe in a literal translation of the Old Testament. For instance, I do not believe that the creation story in Genesis is historically accurate. However, I do believe that we would all be daft to ignore the allegorical lessons in that legend which can bring us spiritual enlightenment.

    Now, can we focus on what’s really important here? Let’s discuss the lesson of King Solomon’s fall as portrayed in the Hebrew scriptures.

  4. Is there a reason that someone couldn’t “worship” the female form and not live a well respected and good life? I see no reason why being a fan of the female form would drive someone to commit stupid acts. Perhaps the worship of the female form plus extreme impulsivness does lead off the primrose path.

    I am a Mason wothout any worship. I am a fan of many things, including money and women. I would not say I worship either of them as I am a pragmatic realist by nature.

    The worship of Gods I feel is a human failing that we as society would be much better off if we disguarded it. To learn, to grow through myth and allegory is one thing, but to worship (and even worse compel others to worship) is a whole different manner.

    Love and Light,

  5. One could worship an eggplant if they felt compelled, and live a blemish less life. The compelling idea is that the belief system puts the object or idea of veneration above ones self and that it exists beyond pale of the mundane.

  6. Perhaps placing such things ahead of themselves has lead to a large scale devaluation of human life?
    Love and Light,

  7. Quoting james staples VI:

    Solomon a myth? Kinda like Jesus?

    No mason would say such things. It doesn’t matter if a man has taken the three Blue Lodge degrees. If he says such things, he’s not a mason. To quote Albert Pike, from “What Masonry Is and Its Objects”:

    We do not undervalue the importance of any Truth. We utter no word that can be deemed irreverent by any one of any faith. We do not tell the Muslim that it is only important for him to believe that there is but one God, and wholly unessential whether Mohammed was his prophet. We do not tell the Hebrew that the Messiah whom he expects was born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago, and substituted a better faith in the place of the Law of Moses. And as little do we tell the sincere Christian that Jesus of Nazareth was but a man like us, or his history the unreal revival of an older legend. To do either, is beyond our jurisdiction. Masonry, of no one age, belongs to all time; of no one religion, it finds great truths in all.

    No ad hominem attack on Pike or on me diminishes the truth of what he says in the above paragraph.

  8. Maybe it’s a bit harsh to say that james is not a mason. That’s for his blue lodge and grand lodge to decide, and not for me. But I do believe his statement as I have quoted above is unmasonic. If he feels otherwise, and the Worshipful Master of his lodge and the Grand Master of his grand lodge back him up, then so be it. I know that some of the readers of this blog do not belong to grand lodges recognized by the UGLE, and I’m tolerant of other forms of masonry as long as these people hold virtues that compliment that of regular masonry. I don’t recognize a racist or a bigot as a mason, and anti-religious bigotry is as offensive to me as religious bigotry. The anti-masons read this blog and quote from it. james’ statement, uncontested, does not represent any Freemasonry I recognize. You know me. You know I’m not a Christian. But I will not have my Christian brothers insulted this way.

  9. But I will not have my Christian brothers insulted this way.

    How is it an insult?

    Objectively, the figures of almost every religion are myths.

    And, as far as Masons go, either we see them all as myths, or none of them, or we fail in our tolerance for the religion of every brother.

  10. I guess we’re using two different definitions of myth, one anthropological, and one as a synonym for falsehood. Solomon and Jesus are mythical figures from an anthropological standpoint, but Raum wasn’t using this version of myth. He writes “We do all know that Solomon is simple [sic] a myth right? :)” This does not suggest he meant the anthropological definition of the word. No anthropological myth is “simply a myth”. Anthropological myths are not simple. He meant an untruth. By his pithy response, James was using the same meaning of the verb.

    While there are minority opinions among archaeologists that neither man actually existed historically, neither opinion can be said to be definitively backed by fact. To state that either man definitely did not exist is unscientific, and because it mocks the faiths of others, I would regard it as insulting as well.

    Reread the Pike quote. I know that Pike is not your favorite mason, but even if you disagree with him, it’s not hard to see that violating his premise might cause insult.

  11. Actually, my only issue with Pike is his opposition to a group doing something similar to what Morin and his immediate successors did in founding the AASR.

    I think Pike has some great concepts and understanding of comparative religion, mythology and philosophy.

    I saw James’ comment as being tongue in cheek, and also looking at the ideas of all religious figures as being myths to someone.

    Having had a sitting GM say that practitioners of my faith lie at the altar when they take Masonic Obligations, I myself am very sensitive to how outsiders view a religion, and recognize that, essentially, Pike’s quote is agreeing with my point, above: none are myths.

    However, I have seen a very huge tendency in American Masonry to treat Christianity as the primary “real” religion, Judaism as its older, more primitive, brother, and Islam as “maybe” a religion … everybody else can pack sand.

  12. Bro. MP,

    What you said about your GM’s comment on other than his own religion is the basic flaw in the study of “Comparative Religions.” A lot of people look at studying religion as “Comparative.” Comparative implies a hierarchy. Something is the standard upon which the others are compared. Often it’s truth compared to myth (these folks inevitably think myth means lie). The more sophisticated see it as a comparison between simple and complex or naive and primitive with sophisticated and modern. All are bad ways to approach the study of religion. All are self limiting.

    Pike may have seen his studies as “Comparative,” because that was the vogue at the time, but from his writings, it’s clear that he studied religion from a position of absolute freedom of belief. Each was valuable in their own right. Maybe Judaism wasn’t his religion, but that didn’t make it less valid. Pike looked for the truth within various expressions of belief.

    When you study physics, you don’t compare it to chemistry. Religion should be studied with the same rigor. Look at each expression as itself, don’t ask, “Could I go to that church?” but look to see what’s really being said in both the writings and the practices.

  13. #1- as per my remark about Jesus being a myth; I was being facetious. As a Descendant of his, of course i believe he exsisted, just as i believe Solomon exsisted. However… that does not preclude myths being Grafted to Jesus or Solomon.
    #2- I was kicked off the Masonic Light list because i defended Solomon and his form of marraige.
    I will always maintain that Solomon was righteous before his Deity… although i DO NOT believe Mono-theism… is a higher more refined or Inteeligent form of religious expression. Many wish to write it up , cheer it up, and present it as if it is, but the opening verses of Genesis
    King David, and Jesus plainly stated “Ye are gods…” not figuratively, but in fact.
    As for the bible being an accurate Account of the Dealing of Diety with humankind.. as oppsed to Mankind; the very book itself it rife with its own proof that it is for whatever reason that it is incomplete, and therefore not inerrant.
    At worst, Solomon, much to the ire of the small band of radical monothiest yahwists, was a person who valued Freedom of Religioun and religious expression. Solomon should very well be seen as a person who strived to make the very fabric of his family… a religious United Nations.
    Thus fostering peace amoung his neighbors at the deepest levels.
    And it is very doubtful, that even at the time of his building and dedicating his temple, he had also build structures for other religiouns, so that dignitaries who came to work in his land for any reason would have a place wherein they could retire to ponder the deeper things of their spiritual life, and thus take that spirit of openness and peace to whatever negotiating table they went to. much to the jealous ire of his siblings and earlier dynasties mmembers , who found themselves ‘out of the loop’ power power and politics. And it takes no stretch of the imagination that this radical malcontents would fine high leverage Using their relgioun as a wedge against him to topple his kingdom and inherit the whole shabang for themselves. much to the delight i am sure of the minority radical yahwist priests who clamoured and veid for position in the next political empire.
    Also, as Yahwa publickly appreared to Solomon during his reign and during the time of the building of other edifeces to ‘other gods’, no doubt those left out of the loop would canker at the thought.
    The Real Gods, are not the “Jealous Gods” which the narrow minded would have us believe. If they are indeed the Supreme Beings they claim they are, they would have no need for jealousy, which is easy enough supposed by “the jilted”.

    Solomon was in fine stead with his Deity and i am sure many others. But for those who believe there should only be One Deity; Then they should be Fine with just One Religioun, and One Political position. Therefore, bath the world in blood establishing for your One God his Only True kingdom. As all
    one and Only True Gods and their blind mindless followers have done, cleanse the earth of the Infidel! I look foreward to you coming to my door. Remember, The One and Only True God, Commands Genocide, without question.
    So get to it. But when i call Jews Hypocrites for whining when genocide falls upon them at the behest of the One True God (nice guy isn’t he?)
    grow up and accept your licks.
    Also, btw, Nebocadnezzar would not have sacked Judah or Isreal or the Temples they had were it not for the jealous Yahwaist priest who convinced their king than yahwa was mad therefore Break the New and Everlasting Covenant they had made with Nebo; and go ask Egypt to help you kick his ass thereby securing your ‘Freedom’. Hence the reason the Real prophets begged them to go back to their former treaty with Babylon. ( alittle something you won’t here in lodges or sunday school) They had it good under Babylon, (the peaceful years under the treaty are dilebrately left out of the bible text.
    Nebo was a High Priest long before he became King, and his particular relious persuasion Deeply Inculcated upon him Religious tolerance… (Polytheism kinda does that) and he was actually loathe to do what he did but for the fact the the Temples were where the plots were hatched to break the covenant. Something israel is not known for when it went from land to land committinig genocide claiming God had decreed they could now have the land they were outright stealing.


  14. Are you claiming that modern Judaism is identical to the religion of the Sadducees? Are you claiming that Rabbinical Judaism is identical to the “radical monotheist yahwists” you describe? So nothing changed with the Siege of Titus, the destruction of the Second Temple, and the Jewish Diaspora?

    Your argument that monotheism necessitates genocide is specious. The vast majority of monotheists are not genocidal. Indeed, the majority of Founders of the USA were monotheists who advocated for freedom of religion. Monotheism does not necessarily demand monopraxis, nor a single religion. Your image of monotheists scrambling at your door to murder you is disingenuous, and you know it.

    You take a bunch of atrocities from 2500 years ago and claim they are contemporary issues? Why? I would imagine that you were not kicked out for the reasons you claim, but rather your insulting tone. You make libelous charges against a sizable portion of the inhabitants of the earth, and then wonder why you are not well-received?

    There are grounds for charging Moses’ and Joshua’s invading army with genocide. I think you’ll find that the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians and other civilizations were equally horrible. The Persians were a bit more humane, and First Exile Judaism is infused with the humanity of Zoroastrianism (look at Ezekiel and the later Messianic prophets). The crisis of the Second Exile and Diaspora challenged all four major strains of Judaism: Essenism, Zealotry, Sadducean Judaism, and Rabbinic Judaism. Ultimately, most Zealots were killed by Romans, the Essenes converted to Christianity, the Sadducees dissipated with the loss of the Temple, and the Rabbinic Tradition was poured into creating the Talmud and other Rabbinic works. The millennium spent creating the Talmud transformed Judaism beyond recognition, and no longer conforms to your description of it.

    Let me guess: you read an article theorizing about the Yahwist cult and Semitic Paganism, and your current point of view is based on what little you know about Judaism, Christianity, and what you remember about that article, formed not very coherently into a badly-written post on this website. As your Solomon says, אִ֥ם תִּכְתֹּֽושׁ־ אֶת־ הָאֱוִ֨יל בַּֽמַּכְתֵּ֡שׁ בְּתֹ֣וךְ הָ֭רִיפֹות בַּֽעֱלִ֑י לֹא־ תָס֥וּר מֵ֝עָלָ֗יו אִוַּלְתֹּֽו׃ “Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle yet will not his foolishness depart from him.”

  15. A- what article are you referring to?

    B- You went after everything but my defense of Solomons reign and Family status.

    C- OK, chuch all my other statements; that fact that the “Dissing” of Solomon, is stemmed from Jealousy, not that his Deity was Actually displeased with im, but that whoever wrote it was Speaking for Deity without Deity’s Approval, vindicates Solomon. After all, the words against Solomon come in the form of a scribal commentary, not a “Thus Saith the Lord” through many of the Prophets who exsisted at that time. His Polygamist father David screwed up, not by having 6 wives… but by stealing another mans wife… who just happened to give birth to Solomon.
    Fact is, Polygamy IS NOT a No no in the bible. So, Solomon Stands, commentator falls.

    And as for my piss poor writing. NO Duh Chet! That also does not prove Solomons hoped for unworthiness; just the fact i am a shty writer.

    And I was not kicked off for my attitude. The Owner of the list made it abundantly clear. He kicked me off for supporting Solomon Family, and for not being an Anti-Polygamist. Still have the originals, there is no question there.

    Yes, just about any nation has its genocide bloody fingers… The U S has its Policy of Exterminating the Indians, GW was called “The burner of Villages” because when he asked them to help in the Revolution they declined. Blacks in Africa still love going on genocidal campaigns. If the Palestinian ghetto and pogroms and war crimes against them is not easy to see i don’t know what is. I am against genocide. As a Buddhist, (and no i am not a good one) i am generally against kiiling someone, whether the country declares war or not. I do fully suoort my son in afghanistan and his work to wipe out the taliban, which makes me a hypocrit, but so what.

    Bottom line is, “God” did not condemn Solomon, period. Some jealous moron who wrote the commentary did.


  16. James,
    I don’t know if you are a mason or not, but your not doing a very good job of subduing your passion.

    You seem to equate monotheism with religious intolerance. Monotheism, or the believe in one god, doesn’t necessarily translate into intolerance of “other” gods. It is a monotheistic concept that all religions are worshiping the same god in a way that is consistent with their customs and traditions.

    If you look into some polytheistic religions like that of the Yoruba people otherwise known as Santeria or Voodoo, you will find that even though they worship several “gods” in the end they believe them to be all facets of a ineffable being that we as mortals are not yet prepared to deal with directly.

    If their is a tone of religious intolerance anywhere on this thread it is in your condemnation of monotheists which is acerbic to say the least.
    Thanks Brother “47th Problem of Euclid” for demonstrating comportment worthy of a Mason in your replies.

  17. ITS interesting that many people have opinions of what your craft is when thay are not in your craft . I myself am not in this craft but going by the men who I grew UP around IN YOUR CRAFT Ive got to say and be truthfull Ive never seen any reason to worry about the brotherhood my father told me something that his father told him & I think this is true how can you know about somthing that you have not learned . its a wounderfull thing to be in the brotherhood but you dont have to be in the craft to be a good man It just teaches you how to be A BETTER MAN.Also there is a biger brother hood the brotherhood of MAN.With utmost respect thanks for all yall have done for freemen and the people of this GREAT country . MARK KASE KUECHER.

  18. I want to be a Mason. I live in Birmingham, AL. Please show me the way. I believe it is my destiny. What should I do next?

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