Monday, May 29th 2017    |   


Hiram Abiff

Tuesday, May 27, 2008   |   Literature
Hiram Abiff is a character who figures prominently in an allegorical play that is presented during the third degree of Craft Freemasonry. In this play, Hiram is presented as being the chief architect of King Solomon's Temple, who is murdered by three ruffians during an unsuccessful attempt to force him to divulge the secret password of Master Mason. It is explained in the lecture that follows this play that the story is a lesson in fidelity to one's word, and in the brevity of life.

Numerous scholars, both Masonic and non-Masonic, have speculated that the character may have been based upon one or more Hirams that appear in the Bible. For example, in the Masonic ritual Hiram is referred to as 'the Widow's Son', which is similar to a biblical reference to a Hiram found in 1 Kings 7:1314.
In 1 Kings 7:1314, Hiram is described as the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali who was the son of a Tyrian bronze worker, contracted by Solomon to cast the bronze furnishings and ornate decorations for the new temple. From this reference, Freemasons often refer to Hiram (with the added Abiff) as "the widow's son". Hiram lived or at least temporarily worked in clay banks (1 Kings 7:46-47) in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarthan.