King Hiram the Historical and Hiram Abiff the Hysterical


Image result for hiram tyre


Damien F. Mackey


When the ancient world conventionally dated to the C18th BC is shunted downwards and re-set in what I consider to be its proper place, at approximately c. 1000 BC (during the United Monarchy period of Israel), then there emerges from the supposedly earlier period of history a whole galaxy of biblical characters, including King Hiram, who were actual contemporaries of Israel’s great kings, Saul, David and Solomon.

But who is Hiram Abiff?





Sufficient compelling biblical characters of the United Monarchy period emerge from the historical records of what convention has estimated as the C18th BC for me to accept that revisionist historian Dean Hickman had got it right when he, finally solving the problem of the ‘liquid’ chronology of king Hammurabi, re-set his era at the time of David and Solomon (“The Dating of Hammurabi”, Proceedings of the 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism and Ancient History, Uni. of Toronto, 1985, pp. 13-28).

A crucial connection in all of this was Hickman’s identification of the powerful king, Shamsi-Adad I, as king David’s Syrian foe, Hadadezer.

Now, according to 2 Samuel 8:3, this Hadadezer was the son of Rekhob (Rehob), and Hickman was able to find that name, Rekhob, embedded in the name of Shamsi-Adad I’s father, Ilu kabkabu, or Uru kabkabu (Rukab = Rekhob).

Given this revised scenario, then Shamsi-Adad I’s younger contemporary, king Hammurabi of Babylon, must now be a close contemporary of the great king Solomon himself.

Other biblical links with history also arise from this revised scenario.

For instance: Zimri-Lim of Mari, a troublesome foe of king Hammurabi’s, can now be recognized as king Solomon’s foe, Rezon [or Rezin]. And once again there is an appropriate match for the father’s name: Iahdulim (or Iahdunlim), the known father of Zimri-Lim, equates with Eliada. 1 Kings 11:23: “And God sent another trouble-maker, Rezon, the son of Eliada, who had gone in flight from his lord, Hadadezer, king of Zobah”.


This series of correspondences has led me to write:


Zimri Lim to be Re-Located to Era of King Solomon


One might also expect, now, that this well-documented era of Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim, revised, could yield up evidence for the great King Hiram of Tyre, a loyal friend of both David’s and Solomon’s.

And that is just what we find.


King Hiram of Tyre


I have previously identified King Hiram with the powerful Amorite king, Iarim-Lim (or Yarim-Lim), whose conventional dates are c. 1780 BC – c. 1764 BC, or, according to a Middle Chronology, c. 1735 BC -?

{The element, -Lim, in the king’s name, may serve the same purpose as it did in the case above of Iahdu-lim, equating to biblical El-iada (Lim = El)}.

The power of Hiram, as Iarim-Lim, extended from Phoenicia (Lebanon) all the way through Babylonia, to Elam. In Chapter Two of my post-graduate thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background


I wrote concerning this:


… what may perhaps help us to gain some real perspective on potential range of rule at this approximate time in ancient history are the geographical terms of a recorded message from Iarim-Lim – whom we met as a powerful (older) contemporary of Hammurabi – to the prince of Dêr in Babylonia, whom, incidentally, Iarim-Lim calls ‘brother’ [cf. 1 Kings 9:13].

Kupper tells of it:


In this message, Iarimlim reminds his ‘brother’ that he had saved his life fifteen years before, at the time when he was coming to the help of Babylon, and that he had also given his support to the king of the town of Diniktum, on the Tigris, to whom he supplied five hundred boats. Outraged by the prince of Dêr’s ingratitude he threatens to come at the head of his troops and exterminate him.

…. Whatever the circumstances of the [Babylon] expedition were, it says a great deal for the military power of Iarimlim, who had led the soldiers of Aleppo as far as the borders of Elam [modern Iran].


According to a report of the day (Mari Letters), Iarim-Lim’s (Yarim-Lim’s) status was greater than that of Hammurabi …:


… there are ten or fifteen kings who follow Hammurabi of Babylon and ten or fifteen who follow Rim-sin of Larsa but twenty kings follow Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad. ….



In the same Chapter Two, I had reproduced [Dr. Donovan] Courville’s argument that Iarim-Lim had conquered Alalakh from the Philistines, and he (his dynasty) had ruled there (Alalakh Level VII) for about half a century, before the Philistines resumed their former occupation there. …. The obvious conclusion was that the people of Iarim-Lim (Amorites) had conquered this city and probably also the surrounding territory, ruling it for a period estimated to have been about 50 years. At the end of this time, the original inhabitants were able to re-conquer the site and reoccupy it.

It is perhaps this half century or so of Amorite dominance, extending as far as Elam, as we saw, that pertains also – at least in part – to the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon. This is such an obscure dynasty prior to Hammurabi that we cannot say very much about its origins. But Herb Storck has helped to ease this situation somewhat in his fine article [“The Early Assyrian King List, The Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty, and the ‘Greater Amorite’ Tradition”, Proc. 3rd Seminar Catastrophism and Ancient History, 1986, Toronto, pp. 43-50] in which Herb is able to show a link between the earliest Assyrian kings and the early Hammurabic dynasty, thus concluding [p. 45]:


Nine of the 17 tent-dwelling [Assyrian King List] kings can reasonably be identified with GHD [Genealogy of the Hammurabi Dynasty] ancestors of Hammurapi.


One of these possibly is Zuabu (Assyrian King List) with Su-abu or Sumu-abum (GHD), the apparent founder of the First Babyonian Dynasty. There is also a Sumu’epuh, very similar to this name, Sumu-abum (Su-abu), preceding Iarim-Lim. …. And, most interestingly, the name Iarim-Lim here is followed by the name, Hammurabi. This may, of course, be a different Hammurabi. {In fact there was at the time of Hiram and Solomon a similarly named Huram-abi, a master-craftsman, 1 Kings 7:13, who has become the key figure in Freemasonry, as Hiram-abiff. See below}.

Whilst Courville’s estimation that the dynasty of Iarim-Lim was chronologically located to “the general era of the Exodus-Conquest” came far closer to reality (about 300 years closer), in my view, than does the conventional estimate, it was still only about halfway right according to this present (Hickman-based) re-setting of it to the time of David and Solomon. My contribution here has been to identify this great Iarim-Lim as the biblical King Hiram. This brings Iarim-Lim about half a millennium later than even Courville’s radical chronological estimation for the king and his archaeological level.

I have discussed the latter in detail in my thesis, how Dr. Courville’s wrong placement of Iarim-Lim, in relation to biblical history, has led him to a degree of misalignment with the Alalakh stratigraphy. Given that Iarim-Lim (Hiram) was an ally of David’s, then we might expect that Iarim-Lim had suppressed (at Alalakh VII) one of David’s major enemies. These were the Syrians (not relevant here) and the Philistines.

This may further support Courville’s conclusion that the majority of Alalakh levels pertain to the Philistine peoples.


Hiram Abiff


The semi-legendary Hiram Abiff (Abif) is loosely based upon a skilful biblical artisan sent by King Hiram to King Solomon, to assist the latter with the building of the Temple of Yahweh. King Hiram tells Solomon about the man (2 Chronicles 2:13-14):


‘I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father’.


The Hebrew words for what is here rendered as Huram-Abi, are:


אבי חורם

חורם אבי


In I Kings 7:13-14, however, the man is simply called “Huram” (Hiram), not Huram-Abi:


King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.


Torrey, long ago, considered that the element, Abi (אבי), was not actually part of the man’s name, but was the Hebrew for a ‘chief counsellor’, hence Huram (Hiram), the king’s “right-hand” man (“Concerning Hiram (“Huram-abi”), the Phœnician Craftsman”, JBL, Vol. 31, No. 4 (1912), pp. 151-155). Torrey would conclude (p. 155):


To be sure, the reading ואבי gives a good deal of trouble, and not a few have preferred to regard this as the original form of the ‘second element’ of the name, and to suppose this founder of the Masonic Order to have been called “Huram abiu” … (or perhaps “Hiram abiu”).

But the accepted translation of the passage is wrong. Here, again, the noun בא has the same meaning as before. He who had been styled (by the Chronicler) “the right-hand man” of the king of Tyre is now, with one of the Chronicler’s own literary touches, termed “the right-hand man of King Solomon”.

[End of quote]


It seems that the so-called Hiram Abiff may be regarded as more allegorical than real anyway According to for instance:


Although the most important element of Masonic symbolism deals with the death, burial and resurrection of Hiram Abiff, there is nothing in Scripture to support it. Masonic Grand Lodges have stated that the account is not based upon fact, but rather is an allegory, used to teach.


The ape of Christ?


Certainly, the Evangelical Truth site regards it as such (“Hiram Abiff – the false christ of Freemasonry”:


Freemasonry substitutes God’s perfect example and man’s only hope of salvation Jesus Christ for a spurious fantasy figure called Hiram Abiff. Instead of using Christ as its model of truth, fidelity and salvation it transfers its loyalty to this phantom figure Hiram. Freemasonry teaches: “If we possess the same painstaking fidelity as our Grand Master did in the hour of tribulation then will our final reward be that which belongs to the just and perfect man.”

Hiram here becomes Masonry’s Saviour and following in his footsteps is said to ensure a glorious “final reward.” Rather than viewing Christ as the way, the truth and the life Freemasonry looks to another – Masonry’s Hiram Abiff. The Lodge practices ultimate deception here eradicating man’s great representative and furnishing a foolish non-existence religious alternative.

Acts 4:12 says: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Jesus Christ is the sinner’s only hope! He is man’s only way.


The Lost Word


According to the teaching of the 3rd Masonic degree (the Master Mason degree) there was a mystical word which was only known to three people. These were King Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre and a fictional Masonic character called Hiram Abiff. These three appointed fifteen craftsmen from among those working on rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem to preside over the rest of the workers. The English working of the lecture explains: “Fifteen Fellow-Crafts of that superior class appointed to preside over the rest, finding that the work was nearly completed, and that they were not in possession of the secrets of the Master’s degree … conspired together to obtain them by any means … At the moment of carrying their conspiracy into execution, twelve of the fifteen recanted” (English ritual p. 68).

The three remaining plotters (not to be confused with the three who know the mystical word) continued undeterred. The degree records how they confronted Hiram Abiff in the Temple and “demanded of our Grand Master the secrets of a Master Mason, declaring to him that his death would be the consequence of a refusal.” The degree continues, “Hiram Abiff, true to his obligation, replied that those secrets were known only to three, and could only be made known by consent of them all.” One of the scheming Craftsmen struck Hiram with “a violent blow full in the middle of the forehead” whereupon he sunk “lifeless at the foot of the murderer” (English ritual p. 69).

In this fable, the Temple in Jerusalem was a temporary resting place for Hiram’s remains after his death, Mount Moriah being his final interment. Hearing of the news, King Solomon is said to have sent out some of his most trusted craftsmen to find the body. In the English working of this Masonic degree there were 15 workmen sent out, in the American version 12 men were sent.





Hiram usurps the place of Christ


Romans 6:3-6 says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

This is the only religious blueprint that God recognises and has ordained. Salvation involves our identification with Christ. Paul here uses metaphors to depict the nature and significance of salvation. Baptism relates to our spiritual burial with Christ in conversion – representing our dying to self; resurrection refers to our rising with Him into newness of life. This passage reveals Christ’s role as man’s sole Representative, and in particular outlines the victory He secured for us through His glorious resurrection over sin, death and the grave. In turn, it shows the Christian’s direct interest and spiritual involvement in this great transaction. It is showing how Christ became our Substitute in His atoning work.

Even though the Lord was sinless, He was condemned on our behalf so that we could be eternally free. He took our sin and guilt in full upon Himself. Finally, when He rose again He did it in our stead. He therefore averted our deserved destiny, which was eternal punishment. Sinners must hence appropriate their part in that central resurrection in order to overcome eternal punishment. The cross is the focal-point of the Christian faith; outside of it there is no salvation. Colossians 2:10-14 and 3:1-4 repeat the great truth we see represented in Romans chapter 6.

It is clear that while Hiram (King of Tyre) assisted King Solomon at the building of the first Temple, there is no mention whatsoever in Scripture of any “Hiram Abiff.” This character is in fact a Masonic invention. Accordingly, there is no teaching in Holy Writ relating to Hiram’s murder and discovery, as these secret societies intimate. The teaching embodied in this story is extra-biblical. Plainly the whole thing is one elaborate Masonic fabrication. This whole secret society fixation with Hiram is a problematic area for evangelicals, as they see Christ as man’s sole Redeemer and only perfect exemplar, whereas secret societies seem to be always promoting Hiram as an alternative Christ.

Jesus cautions us in John 10:1, “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” He then goes on to explain, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). If someone wants to experience the favour of God and one day experience eternal bliss, they must come exclusively through Christ. He is the way – the only way. Christ alone is our access to God.

How true and solemn the words of Scripture are: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Dr. Albert Barnes explains this matter, where he comments that “The word rendered fable means properly ‘speech’ or ‘discourse’, and then fable or fiction, or a mystic discourse. Such things abounded among the Greeks as well as the Jews, but it is probable that the latter here are particularly intended. These were composed of frivolous and unfounded stories, which they regarded as of great importance, and which they seem to have desired to incorporate with the teachings of Christianity … One of the most successful arts of the adversary of souls has been to mingle fable with truth ….


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