The Web of Hiram

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Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

4. Secret Master

5. Perfect Master

6. Intimate Secretary

7. Provost and Judge

8. Intendant of Buildings

9. Master Elect of Nine

10. Master Elect of Fifteen

11. Sublime Master Elected

12. Grand Master Architect

13. Royal Arch of Enoch

14. Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Master Mason

15. Knight of the East or Sword

16. Prince of Jerusalem

17. Knights of the East and West

18. Knight of the Rose-Croix de Heredom

19. Grand Pontiff

20. Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges

21. Noachite or Prussian Knight

22. Knight of the Royal Axe

23. Chief of the Tabernacle

24. Prince of the Tabernacle

25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent

26. Prince of Mercy

27 Commander of the Temple

28. Knight of the Sun

29. Knight of St Andrew, or Patriarch of the Crusades

30. Knight Kadosh

31. Grand Inspector Commander

32. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.

33. Inspector-General




The Sixth Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the Third Degree of the Ineffable Series


The legend of this degree relates to an incident which occurred in King Solomon's Audience Chamber, upon the supposition of the King of Tyre that a spy or eaves-dropper had been stationed to watch his movements at the time of his complaint that the King of Israel had violated his promise. The life of the supposed spy was demanded, but saved by the intercession of King Solomon, and his zeal and trustworthiness, upon examination, rewarded by his becoming the witness to a new compact.

It is in nowise connected with the degree preceding or succeeding it, and is the mere enactment of an episode occurring pending the period of mourning over the loss of the great builder Hiram.

The ceremony or drama is exciting, and impressive of the lesson intended to be taught, viz. that we should be ever careful never to offend a brother by prying into his secrets, that the Masonic term eaves-dropping is criminal, and "a soft answer turneth away wrath".

The Apartment and its Decorations

The Lodge-room represents the audience-chamber of King Solomon's Temple. It is hung with black, strewed with silver tears. It has twenty-seven lights, nine toward the East, nine toward the West, and nine toward the South. Upon the table east of the centre of the chamber, are two cross-swords, an hour-glass, a large scroll with seals, a skull, book of the Testimony, and book of the Constitutions.

Officers, and their Costumes

King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre, are styled Thrice Illustrious, and are seated near the East, by the table; the only other officer, the Captain of the Guard - representing Zerbal - is stationed in the West. The two kings are robed as in the Degree of Perfection. The brethren are termed Perfect Masters, and during a reception are stationed without the chamber, as guards, with drawn swords, under the charge of Zerbal.

Apron - Triangular, of white lambskin, lined, bordered, and trimmed with bright crimson; on the flap is an equilateral triangle; in the angle of the apex the letter B; and in the one on the left, N; in the right, SH; on the centre of the area of the apron, IH.

Collar - White, bordered and trimmed with crimson, suspended from which is the -

Jewel - A golden triangle, similar to that mentioned on the flap of the apron.

Gloves - White, bordered with crimson.

Battery - ********-*; thrice repeated.


I honour Joabert for his fidelity and attachment, I gladly acquit him of any intention other than zealous faithfulness. Your friendship, and that of those you govern, I would gladly cultivate; and in accordance with our promise, let the new treaty of alliance be drawn, and Joabert be admitted as our intimate or Confidential Secretary and Witness, in lieu of our lost friend, whom we now so deeply mourn.


I will now proceed to invest you with the insignia of this degree. The colour of your ribbon and apron. May you be equally faithful to your engagement but now contracted.

Your Jewel - a solid triangle - is emblematical of law and justice, truth and peace, without which no compact can exist: also of the wisdom, strength, and beauty which should characterise all alliances; and of the three virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, or Love. It is also said to be emblematical of those Masons who were present at the opening of the first Lodge of Intimate Secretaries, King Solomon, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Joabert, whom you have represented. It has many allusions, with which a knowledge of our Kabala will make you acquainted

I also present you with a sword of defence against any attacks which may be made on your integrity and honour as a Mason. As a Confidential Secretary you are intrusted with an especial confidence, and a full proof of it, we accept you as our Intimate Secretary and a witness to our new alliance.

The room with black hangings, strewed with tears, represents King Solomon's Hall of Audience, to which he was wont to retire to lament the unhappy fate of Hiram Abif It was in this chamber that King Hiram found him when he came to visit him on the occasion represented at your initiation in this degree. The tears are emblematical of the repentance of Joabert in this chamber, and the grief of Solomon and all true Craftsmen of his day for the loss of Hiram Abif.


Form of the Lodge

This lodge is lighted with twenty-seven lamps, in three branches, nine in each, and placed, as in the third degree, east, west, and south, hung with black, and strewed with tears.

At a reception, there are only two brethren in this lodge, who represent Solomon, King of Israel, and Hiram, King of Tyre. They are dressed in blue robes, lined with ermine, with crowns on their heads, and sceptres in their hands. A table stands between them, on which are placed two swords, a cross, and a roll of parchment. The brethren in this lodge are called Perfect Masters, wear white aprons, lined, bordered, and trimmed with fiery red, a collar of the same to hang round their necks, with a plain triangle painted on the flap of the apron, and white gloves bordered with red.

The room in which this lodge is held represents the Hall of Audience for Masons. It is opened and closed by twenty-seven knocks of a hammer, nine strokes at short intervals, and an interval between the eighth and ninth.

Form of Opening

Solomon strikes his twenty-seven, and Hiram does the same.

The brethren present bend their right knees, cross their hands, and raise them so that their thumbs touch their forehead. Then, altogether, they repeat the word Jova in a low voice. They then draw their swords and retire; Solomon having appointed them guards, with a captain and lieutenant, whose business it is to see that the others behave themselves with decency, to keep the lodge well tiled, and to drive away brethren who would, come near it: thus there remain in the lodge only the two kings.

Form of Reception

The candidate being in the anti-chamber, the Captain of the Guards orders one of the men to take away his hat, sword, gloves, apron, and jewel of a Perfect Master. He is then placed at the lodge-door, which is purposely left on the jar, that he may peep in at the two kings. When he is well fixed, the Guards make a noise, which being heard by Hiram, he looks about, and seeing a man peeping, throws up his hands and cries in a rage: O heavens! We are overheard ! Solomon says, That cannot be, as my guards are at the door. Hiram, without reply, runs to the door, seizes the listener by the hands, and drags him into Solomon's presence, and says, Here, see then!

Solomon asks what shall be done with him. Hiram says we must put him to death, and puts his hand on his sword.

Solomon quits his place, runs to Hiram, lays his hand upon the sword, and says: Stop, my brother. He then strikes hard on the table, on which the Captain and his Guards enter and salute the kings, by drawing their right hands from their left shoulder to their right hip. Solomon says to them: take away this guilty man, and let him be forthcoming when wanted: your lives must answer for him. (They depart with the prisoner.)

Solomon and Hiram remain alone for some time, as if in contemplation, and talking very low. Solomon strikes the table loudly, when the Captain and his guards enter, leading the candidate, and remain with him in the west, till by a sign given by Solomon, they bring him before the throne. The brethren then take their places, and Solomon thus addresses the candidate:

By my treaties and solicitations, I have so for prevailed on my ally, the King of Tyre, whom you by your curiosity, had so offended, as to oblige him to pronounce a sentence of death upon you ; I have so far prevailed on him, as not only to procure his pardon for your offence, but have even obtained his consent to receive you as an Intimate Secretary to the articles of our new alliance. Do you think that you can inviolably keep secret what we are about to communicate to you, and will you bind yourself to do it by an inviolable obligation?

Answer. I do and will.

The penalty of this obligation is to have the body opened, entrails plucked out, heart torn to pieces and the whole thrown to the wild beasts of the forests, guaranteed by three amens.

Solomon then shows the draft of the lodge to the candidate. and thus explains it to him. The window represented in the clouds is, in emblem of the dome of the Temple In the glass of it is the letter J, which is the initial of the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe, Jova. The building at a distance represents Solomon's Palace, with the door and great gate to go in by the mausoleum. The tears marked out represent the mason's audience chamber, hung with black, where Solomon used to shut himself up, when he could spare a minute from business, to lament the unhappy fate of Hiram Abif. It was in this chamber, that Hiram, King of Tyre, found him in a deep meditation, when he came to visit him. The letter A signifies alliance ; the first P to the fight, of the mausoleum promise; the other to the left perfection.

Solomon orders the candidate to advance, and says to him, I receive you as Intimate Secretary, on the condition that you will as faithfully fulfil your duty, and be as much attached to this order, as the person was whom you are about to succeed in office. The colour of the ribbon with which I now decorate you must ever bring to your memory the wounds which that great man received from the traitors who so inhumanly murdered him; and, likewise, of the blood which he rather chose to spill than to reveal the secrets with which I am about to entrust you. We expect, my brother, that your fidelity will be proof against all temptations and dangers; and that the sword which I give you will serve to protect you against any villains who shall dare attempt to surprise you into a confession of our mysteries.

The first sign is to draw your right hand from your left shoulder to your right hip, as the penalty of your obligation.

The second sign is to raise both your hands, cross them, and let them fall by your sword, at the same time lifting up your eyes to heaven.

The grip is to take each other's right hand, in the usual manner of saluting.

Traditional History First Version

You will now go to the Grand Orator and learn the history of this degree.

G.: O.: Solomon, in consequence of the treaty established between his ambassadors and Hiram, King of Tyre, solemnly covenanted to furnish a certain number of measures of oil, honey, and wheat, besides the grant of twenty cities, in lieu of the timbers hewn in the forest of Libanus for the building of the Temple, as well as for the stone hewn in the quarries of Tyre. King Hiram went to see the cities so assigned to him, and had the mortification to find them a barren and sandy soil, almost depopulated, and the inhabitants of a rude and uncultivated class, the cities greatly fallen to decay, and that the province in that condition was likely to be a burden rather than an advantage to his treasury.

He determined to go in person to Jerusalem and expostulate with Solomon on his breaking the spirit of his promise; while, in truth, it was the intention of King Solomon, before putting the King of Tyre in possession, to rebuild and adorn the cities, and to change the inhospitable land into cultivated gardens, fields, and meadows.

Arriving at Jerusalem, King Hiram entered the palace, and, without waiting to be announced, went through the court and angrily passed the guard into the audience-chamber, where he found King Solomon alone, mourning over the death of Hiram Abif.

Joabert, the favourite of King Solomon, newly appointed Lieutenant of the Guards - all composed of Perfect Masters - seeing King Hiram enter in such excitement and rage, and not knowing him personally, feared that he intended some violence, and approached the door of the audience-chamber, to be ready to rush in and defend his master if there should be occasion. His zeal and devotion causing him to neglect the precaution which merely curiosity would have observed, he was seen by King Hiram, seized upon by him and dragged into the hall, where he would have been at once slain by the enraged king but for the interference of his own sovereign, who immediately called the guard and ordered them to seize the guilty man and be answerable for his appearance when wanted.

The guards being sent away, King Solomon explained to Hiram that he had intended to rebuild the twenty cities and to furnish the fields with husbandmen before giving them to him: he also assured the king that, of all the favourites and lords of his court, Joabert had always evinced the warmest attachment to his person, and he knew him sufficiently well to be convinced that the indiscretion he had been guilty of was not attributable to the desire to gratify any idle curiosity, but to watch over his safety and interests. He therefore entreated the king to withhold the sentence he had determined to pronounce against him.

The King of Tyre, knowing how gratifying it would be to King Solomon that his favourite should be pardoned, and convinced by the statement of the Captain of the Guard, readily assented, and the two kings renewed their alliance, which was to be perpetual, with mutual promises of fidelity; to which treaty Joabert was selected as the witness or Confidential Secretary - which position had theretofore been filled by the lamented Hiram

In this you are taught to be zealous and faithful to be disinterested and benevolent - to act the peacemaker in case of dissensions, disputes, and quarrels among your brethren and to beware of eaves-dropping.

Traditional History Second Version

Solomon, in consequence of the treaty established between him and the ambassadors of Hiram, King of Tyre, solemnly covenanted to furnish Hiram with a certain number of measures of oil, honey, and wheat, and a grant of province consisting of thirty governments, in exchange for timber, hewn formed, and drawn from the Forest of Lebanon, by King Hiram's people, and hewn stones to be formed in the quarries of Tyre, and fitted for immediate use.

This treaty was to have been fulfilled as the Temple should be finished. But Solomon allowed a year to elapse, without paying any regard to its fulfilment: during which, Hiram visited the province, and had the mortification to find it a barren and sandy soil, inhabited by an uncultivated people, so that its possession was rather likely to be a burden than a benefit. Not hearing from Solomon, he determined to go in person to Jerusalem, to expostulate with him for having neglected to comply with the terms of the treaty.

On his arrival, he entered the palace, went through the guard room, where, Solomon's court was assembled, and rushed directly into the king's apartment, who happened to be alone, bemoaning the loss of Hiram Abif. Hiram walked so hastily, and seemingly in so passionate a manner, as to raise the suspicion of Joabert, one of Solomon's favourites. Struck with a notion that Hiram had some evil design on Solomon, Joabert followed to the door to listen, and was discovered there by Hiram, who exclaimed : - "O heavens ! We are discovered !' And running to the door, seized Joabert by the hand and dragged him into Solomon's presence, saying, Here he is ! Solomon, who could not doubt the trespass, said, what shall we do with this criminal ? Hiram replied, we must kill him, and drew his sword for that purpose on which Solomon, rushing from his throne, cried, My Brother, and suspend your wrath awhile. He gave a knock on the table, on which the guards came in. Solomon said to them, Seize that guilty man, and be answerable for his appearance when requested.

The guards retired with the prisoner, and Solomon thus addressed Hiram. This Sir, is the only person among my favourites, and the lords my court, who has zeal and an affectionate attachment to my person. I know him sufficiently to be convinced that his indiscretion is less to be attributed to an imprudent curiosity than to his apprehensions for my safety. Your looks, change of countenance and hasty manner in passing through the guard room, were the causes that exited his curiosity and alarm for my person. I therefore, entreat of you to recall the sentence of death, which you have pronounced against him, and I will be answerable for his zeal and discretions.

Hiram seeing how agreeable it would be to Solomon that his favourite should be pardoned, readily consented, and the two renewed their treaty, which was to be perpetual with different claims, and promises on both sides of lasting friendship to which Joabert was Intimate Secretary. This, my brother, is what is represented to you in your reception Intimate Secretary.


Q. Are you an Intimate Secretary?

A. I am (with the eyes lifted to heaven.)

Q. How were you received?

A. By my curiosity.

Q. Did you run any risk by it?

A. Yes, a risk of losing my life.

Q. What was done to you after you were elected?

A. I was committed to the care of the Guard, and expected to have sentence of death passed upon me.

Q. Were they Intimate Secretaries of Perfect Masters ?

A. I was then ignorant of it, but have since found that my resolution, firmness, and perseverance, procured me the favour of being the first initiated into this degree.

Q. What are the pass-words?

A. These are given.

Q. What do they Signify?

A. Joabert is the name of him that listened at the door, and Zerbel is the name of the captain of the King's Guards.

Q. What is your grand word?

A. It is given.

Q. What were you before you were an Intimate Secretary?

A. A favourite of King Solomon's.

Q. From what country did you come?

A. From Capula.

Q. What is your name?

A. Capulist

Q. How many governments did Solomon give to Hiram, King of Tyre, in return for the work done by his people for the temple?

A. Thirty.

Q. Where was it that you were received?

A. In Solomon's hall hung with black and illuminated with twenty-seven lamps.

A. What signifies the letter J which you saw in the window?

A. Jova.

Q. What does the word signify?

A. It is the third pronunciation of the Grand Architect of the Universe, which in this degree signifies to return thanks to God for the work is complete.

Q. What signify the A and two P's in the triangle?

A. The A means alliance, the first P, promise, the second, perfection.

Q. Why is the lodge lighted with twenty-seven lights?

A. To represent the twenty-seven hundred candlesticks which Solomon ordered to be made for the illumination of the temple.

Q. What does the door in the draft lodge represent?

A. The door of Solomon's palace.

Q. What means the triangle that hangs to your ribbon?

A. The three theological virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity.

Form of Closing the Lodge

Solomon strikes twenty-seven, by three-times nine; which are repeated by Hiram. The brethren bend their right knees, cross their hands, raise them so as to bring their thumbs to their temples, and, in a low voice, pronounce the word Jova.

Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst Preston Illustrations of Masonry Masonic Tutor Support

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