Time Lines in this Order
Time Lines in this Order – V. Wthy Bro W.H. Whitford, Grand Lecturer- Southern Australia
TIME LINES – the order in which things happened” A The first time line is titled “Chronology”. It comes from Jonathan Kirsch’s book “King David”, published by Allen and Unwin in 2000, and covers the Traditional History of the Order of the Secret Monitor. All the brethren would have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and know of their importance ro Judaism and Christianity.
Kirsch refers to the discovery at TEL DAN, something entirely new. The discovery confirms the historicity of King David. On a fragment of a stela- an upright stone pillar bearing a written inscription- was found the three early Aramaic consonants that make up David’s name. The stela is of native basalt, and was incised as long ago as early eighth century Before the Christian Era. The stela also contains a further reference to the House of David (Bet David). “King David” is an easily obtained book. B The second, much longer time line is taken from “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible- the Old and New Testaments”.
It was written by the famous SciFi author and scientist, Isaac Asimov, published by Avenel in 1981, and is now only available from America. This time line covers 8 500 BCE to St. Jerome’s translation of the canonical Bible in 400 AD.. Asimov’s “Dates of Interest in Biblical History” is a useful, general reference, especially for those brethren reading up on the Traditional Histories of most Masonic orders.. These Time Lines should be referred to when reading other OSM literature to gain a better understanding of where our exemplars and their actions stand in history. General Note The WSR of a constituent conclave may decide that the “work” for the meeting will be a discussion/talk, or that a short presentation will be given at the second
1. osmeductaion12002 and third time of rising, using the TIME LINE info.. The brother chosen to present a short talk based on some of the information from the TIME LINES is asked to put the info. into STORY form. Questions and discussion should be allowed after the story is presented.
Please do not just give the brethren a lot of dry dates and facts; that’s when they go to sleep! If a short amount of info. is given during the second and third time of rising, lasting not more than 5 minutes, questions and discussion should NOT occur. It is emphasized that the dates and facts presented in the TIME LINES is best used in conjunction with OSM lectures.
W.H. Whitford, Grand Lecturer,
PWSR Kingscott Conclave No 7.
THE ORDER IN WHICH THINGS HAPPENED
A The first time line is titled “Chronology”. It comes from Jonathan Kirsch’s book “King David”, published by Allen and Unwin in 2000, and covers the Traditional History of the Order of the Secret Monitor. All the brethren would have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and know of their importance to Judaism and Christianity. Kirsch refers to the discovery at TEL DAN, something entirely new. The discovery confirms the historicity of King David. On a fragment of a stela- an upright stone pillar bearing a written inscription- was found the three early Aramaic consonants that make up David’s name.
The stela is of native basalt, and was incised as long ago as early eighth century Before the Christian Era. The stela also contains a further reference to the House of David (Bet David). “King David” is an easily obtained book. B The second, much longer time line is taken from “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible- the Old and New Testaments”. It was written by the famous Sci-Fi author and scientist, Isaac Asimov, published by Avenel in 1981, and is now only available from America. This time line covers 8 500 BCE to St. Jerome’s translation of the canonical Bible in 400 AD.. Asimov’s “Dates of Interest in Biblical History” is a useful, general reference, especially for those brethren reading up on the Traditional Histories of most Masonic orders..
These Time Lines should be referred to when reading other OSM literature to gain a better understanding of where our exemplars and their actions stand in history. General Note The WSR of a constituent conclave may decide that the “work” for the meeting will be a discussion/talk, or that a short presentation will be given at the second
1. osmeductaion12002 and third time of rising, using the TIME LINE info.. The brother chosen to present a short talk based on some of the information from the TIME LINES is asked to put the info. into STORY form. Questions and discussion should be allowed after the story is presented. Please do not just give the brethren a lot of dry dates and facts; that’s when they go to sleep! If a short amount of info. is given during the second and third time of rising, lasting not more than 5 minutes, questions and discussion should NOT occur. It is emphasized that the dates and facts presented in the TIME LINES is best used in conjunction with OSM lectures.
V Wthy Bro W H. Whitford,
Grand Lecturer, Grand Conclave for Southern Australia.
Officers in the Prince's Degree
Officers in the Prince’s Degree – M Wthy Bro J.W. Dann P G S R
The word means “source of wealth or gift”.
Abishai was the eldest son of Zeruiah, King David’s step-sister, and the brother of David’s tough commander, Joab, and of Asahel. He was a daring and ruthless soldier utterly loyal to David and to Joab.
During David’s outlaw days he went with him stealthily into the camp of King Saul at Hachilah. When they reached the sleeping King, Abishai urged David to kill him but David refused to raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed. When David became king, Abishai was one of the thirty mighty men who formed David’s bodyguard and was second – in – command to Joab. He aided Joab in the ruthless slaying of Abner in revenge for the death of their brother, Asahel, and commanded a part of Joab’s army in the victorious battle against the Ammonites who had insulted King David’s messengers of goodwill. He saved the King’s life when David joined his men in battle against the Philistines and
Ishbi-benob, the giant, tried to kill him with his great spear.
Adino was chief of the Mighty Men of David. In one battle Adino is credited with having killed single-handedly 300 of the enemy. Apparently his real name was Joshabe-am which means “the lift of his spear” or “he shook it even his spear”.
The word means “my God is helper” or “God has helped”
Eleazar was the son of Dodo, the Ahohite. He is identified as one of the Mighty Men of David and as such was one of the three chief captains of David’s army. He was a man of great personal courage.
The word means “hear, fame or renown”.
Shammah was the third son of Jesse. He was one of David’s Mighty Men and is said to have held the field alone against the Philistines during one of the battles.
(Prepared by Most Worthy Bro John DANN P G S R from various sources.)
A Brief History
A Brief History – M Wthy Bro J.W. Dann P G S R
The Order of the Secret Monitor in Australia owes its origins to the Order in England, and its development, constitutions and practices are actually based on those existing at that time in the Order in Britain.
What then are the origins of the Order of the Secret Monitor?
A generally held view is that the Order came to England from the U.S.A. However, there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the Order of David and Jonathan arose in Holland at least two centuries earlier than its establishment in England in 1887. The friendship of David and Jonathan has been assumed to have formed the basis of a brotherhood with modes of recognition by day and by night in the Netherlands about 1571 –1581 when several Provinces were declaring their independence from the Spanish Rule. It is also maintained that these modes of recognition were revived a century later in France as a means of bringing together patriots and Protestants who wished to resist the foreign religious invaders.
To escape religious intolerance, many Dutch Protestants emigrated to America. There they found a new life with greater liberty. It is quite understandable that they would have taken their Freemasonry with them. There are rituals of the “Order of Brotherly Love”, “Order of Jonathan and David”, “Order of the Secret Monitor” being worked in the 19th Century. Records in the 1830s in America mention the Secret Monitor being bracketed with the Knights of Constantinople as two Orders of Masonry.
As the Order grew in America it became absorbed as one of the Degrees of the “Allied Degrees” and when these Degrees came to England in the 1870s they contained the Degree of a “Secret Monitor”. The Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor in England came into being in 1887.
The growth of the Order in Britain was accompanied by a similar growth in its overseas Colonies and Dependencies. Victoria was the first Australian State to establish a Conclave – Southern Cross Conclave, No. 27, which was consecrated in London on 8 January, 1896, and was to meet in Geelong.
By 1924, James Laurenson, a member of the Order had moved to Ipswich from New Zealand and was keen to establish a Conclave in Queensland. In 1926, Friendship Conclave, No. 56, was consecrated in Ipswich.
From this time on progress of the Order in Australia was accelerated and in 1930 a District – Southern District – was formed. In 1938, the Southern District was divided into two Districts – Northern and Southern. Our present Grand Conclave became autonomous and was inaugurated on 31 May, 1969.
(Prepared by Most Worthy Brother John DANN PGSR from various sources.)
David and Jonathan
In 1037, B.C., in Canaan, Samuel, the reigning judge, choose Saul and anointed him to be king over Israel. Saul, at first, was a good leader but in time fell a victim to the corruption of absolute power and also became quite irrational in his thinking. David was a skilled performer on the harp and when it was realized that music had a soothing effect on the king, David was appointed by the king as Court Musician. On joining the royal household, David became a firm friend of Jonathan, the king’s son. As time passed, David distinguished himself, not only as a musician, but as a warrior. You will recall his successful encounter with Goliath, the Philistine giant. This inspired the king to give David greater responsibility and, as the leader of men, David became famous throughout the land. His success brought so much public adulation however, that Saul became jealous and but for the help of Michal ( Saul’s daughter and David’s wife) and his friend, Jonathan, David would have been assassinated.
The ritual work in the Degrees of the Order of the Secret Monitor relates to this latter situation and you can read it in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel XX.
David’s position as potential successor to the kingship seems to have become an open secret. Saul, aware of this, vindictively pursued David. Eventually, Saul and David were reconciled.
Shortly afterwards (1018 B.C.) Jonathan and his two brothers were killed in a disastrous battle against the Philistines, near Mount Gilboa. In despair, Saul committed suicide.
David was accepted as King by the people of Judah. David reigned over Judah for seven years and over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years. He died in 978 B.C. and was succeeded by his son, Solomon.
(Prepared by Most Worthy Brother John DANN PGSR from various sources.)
THE PRINCES DEGREE OTHER NAMES & PLACES
The word means “ my brother is goodness or a good brother”.
Ahitub was a son of Phinehas and grandson of Eli.
Nob was a city near Jerusalem. It was a “Priest City” and David called in to Nob to get food and a weapon from the Priest, Ahimelech, while escaping from Saul.
The word means “brother of a king”.
Ahimelech was the son of Ahitub and the father of Abiathar. He was the head Priest at Nob, a priestly sanctuary outside Jerusalem. When David became a fugitive from King Saul, destitute and unarmed, he took refuge at the sanctuary. Pretending that he was on a secret mission for King Saul, David persuaded the head Priest to give him some of the hallowed bread as provisions together with the sword of Goliath which had been preserved at the sanctuary.
The kingly priest was to pay a cruel price for his help to the fugitive. Beside himself with fury at David’s escape, the King had all the Priests rounded up and brought before him. Ahimelech protested that he had done nothing wrong as David was Saul’s son-in-law and captain over the King’s bodyguard.
Saul would not hear any excuses and ordered his servants to kill Ahimelech and the other eighty-five Priests. The servants refused and the grim execution was carried out by King’s Edomite herdsman, Doeg; only Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, escaped to join David in the mountains.
The word means “ fearful, anxious or concerned”.
Doeg was an Edomite and chief of Saul’s herdsmen. When David fled to Nob, Doeg was there and he reported to King Saul how Ahimelech had helped David. It was Doeg who carried out the execution of the Priests when the King’s guards refused to do so.
The word means “ father of abundance or the great one is father”.
biathar was the son of Ahimelech. In the days of King Saul his family were Priests of the Shrine of Nob and in charge of the Ephod and was the eleventh High Priest in succession from Aron. When the Priests were murdered at Saul’s command, Abiathar fled to David at Keilah taking the Ephod with him.
The word means “beloved”.
Hobab was the son of Ruel and the father-in-law of Moses. It is believed that Jethro and Hobab are the names of the same person mentioned in the Bible.
The word means “full of caverns or wilderness”.
Paran is a desert region traversed by the Israelites after escaping from Egypt and is the inland part of the North Sinai Desert. David fled Paran after the death of Samuel.
Joshua was the successor of Moses as leader of the Israelites. He led them into the Promised Land and is credited with the consolidation of the occupation. The Book of Joshua recounts his exploits in detail.
The word means “ bold or impetuous”.
Caleb was a prince of the tribe of Judah. He was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to spy out the land of Cannan. Only he and Joshua were in favour of proceeding. He was given Hebron as a reward for his services.
The word means “utterance of Baal”.
Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan. He was five years old when his father and grandfather died on Mt. Gilboa. He suffered an accident and became permanently lame. David restored to him all his father’s estate and let him live with him. When David handed Saul’s descendants to the Gibeonites for execution, he spared Mephiboseth because of his oath to Jonathan.
(Prepared by Most Worthy Brother John DANN PGSR from various sources.)
Explanation of the Ceremony
Explanation of the Ceremony of Conclave of Remembrance – V. Wthy Bro W.H. Whitford, Grand Lecturer- Southern Australia
Most Worthy Grand Supreme Ruler, Ladies, Gentlemen and Brethren,
Tonight we will all be part of a unique ceremony in freemasonry to celebrate the lives of our brethren who have passed to a higher life during the last two years. Besides the ceremonial and beautiful singing by the soloists and choir, all of us have the opportunity to sing the ‘odes’ appropriate to the occasion, having already sung “Praise my Soul the King of Heaven”.
Freemasonry is a FRATERNITY of MEN who BELIEVE in a DIVINE BEING. Freemasons are TOLERANT men, who accept as members men from every faith and religion. Freemasonry has NO DOGMA. It is not a religion, and is definitely not a substitute for religious activities.
We are in a Temple of the Order of the Secret Monitor or Brotherhood of David and Jonathan, where temple means a place of learning. The red central carpet represents Holy Ground. The central two interlaced, equilateral triangles symbolically represent characteristics of God. The coffin symbolises our mortality!
Four lights, emblematical of lighting the pathway to wisdom, stand at the four corners of the holy Ground. A Bible rests open on the pedestal in front of the Grand Supreme Ruler together with a principal symbol of Monitor Masonry, the bow and arrow.
The column, or altar, in the centre of the Holy Ground represents a natural stone, or pile of stones, somewhere in the desert south of Jerusalem. Monitor Masons consider the temple oriented with the four principal points of the compass.
Our leader, deputy leader and chaplain sit in the East and our good organist is in the West. Sitting in front in the West are six brethren, the two Directors of the Ceremony and four Emblem Guards. I am speaking to you from the North-east part of the temple.
The moral teaching of the Brotherhood of David and Jonathan is based on the Old Testament story of the outstanding friendship between Prince Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and David, who rose from shepherd boy to King of Israel. We place great emphasis on an active concern for all our brethren. The four men seated at the corners of the Holy Ground are called Visiting Deacons, and are responsible to search out and visit all brethren (in their conclave).
In a Conclave of Remembrance, our leader represents David, who is very concerned for the ailing health of his ‘brother’ Jonathan. Naturally, his questions are directed to the Visiting Deacons. The ceremonial in basically processional.
Jonathan’s position is in the South East., but his chair is vacant! You see a cushion on the chair supporting emblems of mortality- a sprig of Acacia, together with a mason’s apron and a Brotherhood of David and Jonathan jewel, both tied with red ribbon.
We Australians, with our mostly arid continent, can empathize with the ancient brethren from the Middle East who looked on the evergreen acacia, or wattle, plant as an emblem of immortality.
The first procession is by the Emblem Guards who will escort the Grand Chaplain to the column or altar in the centre of the Holy Ground, where he places the cushion bearing the three emblems.
After prayer, the three mourners are escorted to stand around the Holy Ground. They are then joined by the four Visiting Deacons. Finally, our leader stands in the East at the head of the coffin, and asks the whereabouts of Brother Jonathan.
Then the first of four perambulations occurs. During each circuit a Visiting Deacon, who carries the lighted censor, gives a quotation from the bible, after which the Grand Supreme Ruler summarises the worsening situation in verse, finally mourning the loss of Brother Jonathan.
The smoke of the incense rising from the Thurible represents our prayers rising to God. All then sit.
After prayer, the four Visiting Deacons in turn express the results of our belief in eternal life. The Grand Chaplain will then deliver an Oration, followed by the deputy leader addressing us on the mercy and care of God, looking to that life which is to come.
With the Grand Supreme Ruler leading our meditations from the head of the coffin, and the Guards and Visiting Deacons reversing swords and arrows, the solemn moment arrives when the Grand Guarder breaks an arrow to symbolize the end of life. He then covers the emblems on the altar.
The Last Post then sounds, followed by Reveille. This completes a sincere and impressive ceremony to mark the passing of our brethren.
Very Worthy Brother W. H. Whitford, G.Lectr.- Southern Australia
Melaveh Malka – Wthy Bro Walter Goldsmith P G St. B
THIS is the Supper of King David
These words are spoken by the Commissioning Officer after the installation of a Supreme Ruler in our Order and it has been suggested by our Rt Wty. Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler that there are probably many brethren who do not appreciate or understand the significance of these words or why they are used in our Order. He suggests that some explanation should be given here today and I will attempt to do just that.
Let us start by considering the literal translation of those two Hebrew words Melaveh Malka.
Malka means Queen. Melaveh loosely means to accompany or to celebrate or perhaps to welcome……….
Melaveh Malka – To celebrate or welcome the Queen.- but which Queen?
Now you all know that there are several important Jewish Holidays each year. Passover, which is celebrated round about Easter time, The New Year and Day of Atonement around Harvest time, Chanukah, the Feast of Lights, at about Christmas time and there are many others.
There is however one Holiday that takes preference over all others. One all important Holy Day and that is the Sabbath. The day of rest and re-charge given to all creatures by the Almighty. A God-given day to be welcomed each week as one would welcome a Bride or a Queen and this indeed is the Queen of the Melaveh Malka. The celebration of the Sabbath but paradoxically it means the celebration of the ending of the Sabbath or the completion of the whole Sabbath day. You may well ask-Why celebrate the completion of the Sabbath Day?
The reason for this has to do with King David, hence its connection with our Order. The Bible tells us that as a young man David’s victory over Goliath so endeared him to the population that he was showered with gifts of ,jewellery, gold and silver especially by the ladies of the land. David decreed that ail these treasures should be collected and held in a special reserve account to be used only for the construction of a magnificent temple to be built to the honour and glory of the Most High. However we are also told that because of the great sin of King David in not using this wealth to buy food from the surrounding nations during the three year famine that followed some time later but instead allowing many of his people to die from hunger thus wasting God’s gift of life, he would not be allowed to build such a temple and only after David’s death would his illustrious son be allowed such an honour.
David was also told by the Almighty that he would die on a Sabbath day and although he did in fact live to a ripe old age he had to treat every Sabbath as if it could be his last day on earth. As each Sabbath drew to a close at sunset, King David celebrated as he knew that he would live for at least another week. – How many of us can say that?.- The whole population celebrated with him for he was a most popular King and Saturday evening, when the Jewish Sabbath ended, became a time to have parties and to celebrate occasions such as Weddings, Engagements, Bar mitzvahs and the like. These parties became known as Melaveh Malkas – The Sabbath Suppers of King David. These celebrated the fact that his days were not yet over as well as whatever function was also being celebrated that day. A double blessing worthy of rejoicing. The custom of Saturday night parties still exists today, although not everyone knows the origin. It is as a reminder of this custom that the Commissioning Officer, after the distribution of food and wine, says “This is the supper of King David” – and then repeats the words “Melaveh Malka.”
So there you have it -the explanation of the Melaveh Malka. but we cannot leave it there, for it is not quite acceptable to the more orthodox Jewish people .who believe that if on the most Holy day, the Sabbath day, you spend all your time completely immersed in the most Holy occupation, the study of the Holy Law as given to Moses, this would be the most Holy thing that any person could possible do. So Holy is it that not even the Angel of Death could touch you whilst you were so occupied. Hence they reasoned that all King David had to do was to spend every Sabbath Day studying the Holy Law and ,being beyond the reach of the Angel of Death, he could have lived for ever.
They were right of course. King David did indeed know this and he did spend every moment of every Sabbath studying the Holy Law, seated by a window to make the most of the natural light, not even stopping for refreshment. The Almighty eventually decided that David’s allotted time on earth had expired and He detailed the Angel of Death to collect the king on the following Sabbath Day.
The Angel finding David immersed in the study of the law was unable to carry out his task. He tried again on the following Sabbath, again with no success even though he arrived at sunset the previous day (for all Jewish Holidays start at sunset the previous day and he was forced to report his failure to the Almighty who as good as told him that if he wanted to keep his job he would make sure that he did it properly the following Sabbath. Once again he found David occupied in the study of the Holy Law but in desperation the Angel of Death went to the King’s favourite orchard which David could see from the window where he was studying, and chopped down one of the trees. David saw this but continued his studies. It was only after more trees were felled that David went to investigate, for it was not a windy day, and David could not understand why the trees were falling. Everything seemed to be quite normal when David arrived and so he sat down on a nearby seat to watch for a few moments and it was there, in the orchard, that the Angel of Death was able to complete his task.
Now Brethren, there are not a lot of people that know this tale so when you read that at a very advanced age, King David finally died peacefully in his garden, you my Brethren are of the privileged few that now know the whole story.
4th. July 200I.
Walter Goldsmith PGStB.
O.S.M. Provincial Meeting.
Beds. Cambs. & Herts.
David – Shepherd Boy and King -M Wthy Bro I C Wylde G S R
David is a very prominent character in our ceremonies and he is also mentioned in at least one other Order.
This paper has been compiled to present a biography of him.
David was born in 1040 BC, the youngest of eight sons of Jesse of Bethlehem. Nothing is recorded of his early life, and the first reference to him in the VSL is in 1 Samuel 16.
Because of his behaviour and disobedience of the king, Saul, Samuel was commanded by the Most High to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the future king.
Jesse presented his seven eldest sons in turn to Samuel, who rejected them all.
His youngest son, David, was then summoned from the fields where he was tending his father’s sheep.
As soon as Samuel saw him, he was divinely inspired to anoint him in the presence of his brothers.
Soon after this, Saul began to have attacks of madness, and his attendants suggested that if he engaged a harpist to play to him during these attacks it would help to cure him.
One of them recommended David, the son of Jesse, as being suitable in all respects.
David was accordingly summoned to Saul’s presence. The King took a liking to David and appointed him his armour-bearer.
Whenever Saul suffered one of his attacks, David played his harp and Saul found relief.
There then occurred the well-known duel between David and Goliath. While David was minding his father’s sheep, he would have had to use his sling many times to protect his flock from predators, and no doubt he would have whiled away some of the quiet periods by putting in some target practice.
As a result of this he became extremely proficient in the use of this weapon which, in the hands of a skilled man, could be very accurate and lethal at short range.
Therefore, when he heard Goliath’s challenge, David was confident in his ability to defeat him. His confidence was not misplaced. The first stone that he slung hit the giant in the forehead and stunned him.
David at once drew Goliath’s sword and beheaded him with it. When the Philistines saw the death of their champion they fled in disorder, hotly pursued by the Israelites who killed many of them.
It was shortly after this that the friendship between David and Jonathan, the King’s son, developed and they made a solemn covenant to love the other as dearly as himself.
David was so successful as a soldier that Saul appointed him to a command in the army.
His continued successes in battle made him so popular with the people that Saul became jealous of him and once, in a fit of madness, tried to kill him.
David was promoted in the army and was allowed to marry one of Saul’s daughters, Michal, on condition that he continued to pursue the war against the Philistines.
Saul’s hope was that David would be killed in battle. This hope was not fulfilled, and David’s popularity still further increased.
Saul told all his household, including Jonathan, of his intention to kill David.
Jonathan told David of this and warned him to hide himself.
Jonathan then spoke to Saul and reminded him of David’s victory over Goliath and pleaded for his life.
Saul relented and David was able to return. War broke out again and David once more inflicted a severe defeat on the Philistines.
Shortly after this, Saul, in another fit of madness, tried again to kill David with a spear, but missed and David got safely away.
That night, Saul sent servants to watch David’s house, intending to kill him in the morning.
However, Michal, David’s wife, helped him to escape and he made his way to Samuel at Ramah, and told him how Saul had treated him.
Saul sent some of his soldiers to Ramah to kill David, but once more he escaped and sought out Jonathan. He asked Jonathan why Saul wanted to kill him.
Jonathan was unable to give any reason, and after some discussion they arranged that Jonathan should find out Saul’s feelings with regard to David, and let David know the result in the manner with which we are familiar.
It can only be assumed that they adopted this stratagem in case any of Saul’s spies were about. As, however, they were alone, they were able to bid farewell to one another.
Jonathan returned to the city and David made his way to the priest Ahimelech at Nob.
David persuaded Ahimelech to give him some of the consecrated bread and Goliath’s sword which had been placed in the temple.
Doeg the Edomite, one of Saul’s servants, happened to be there, and saw what took place.
David then went away and took refuge in the care of Adullam. He was joined by his family and by men in distress, in debt, or simply with a grievance, until he was leader of a band of some 400 men.
He took his father and mother to the King of Moab, who agreed to take care of them. Being warned by the prophet Gad, David went into Judah.
When news that David and his men had been seen reached Saul, he demanded of his retainers why they had not told him of the compact between David and Jonathan. Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with the servants, reported how Ahimelech had helped David.
Saul at once sent for the priest and his family, who were also priests, and demanded to know why he had helped David.
Ahimelech replied that as far as he knew, David, the king’s son-in-law, was an honourable man, holding a high office, and that he did not think he had done wrong in helping him.
Saul ordered his bodyguard to kill Ahimelech, but they were unwilling to raise a hand against the priests of the Lord.
Saul, therefore, ordered Doeg to kill the priests. So Doeg killed the priests and Saul caused every living thing in Nob to be slain; only one son of Ahimelech, named Abiathar, escaped and joined David.
The Philistines were attacking Keilah and plundering it.
David and his band went to the rescue and inflicted another severe defeat on the Philistines.
When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, a walled town, he called out his army to besiege the town and capture David.
David, however, heard of the King’s approach and escaped with his band of men, who now numbered about 600.
They wandered about from place to place, well knowing that Saul was searching for them, and while they were in the wilderness of Ziph, Jonathan came to David and encouraged him; the two then made another solemn compact together.
While David was living in the wilderness of Ziph, some of the local inhabitants betrayed him to Saul, who immediately set out in search of him.
While David and his men were trying desperately to get away, and Saul and his followers were closing in for the capture, a runner informed Saul that the Philistines had invaded again.
Saul called off the pursuit and went to fight the invaders. After he had defeated the Philistines, Saul learnt that David was in the wilderness of Engedi, so he took a large force of soldiers and went in search of him.
One day, when David and his men were hiding at the far end of a cave, Saul went into the same cave to relieve himself.
David’s men told him that this was his chance to kill Saul, but David refused to harm the Lord’s anointed.
Instead, he stealthily cut off a piece of Saul’s cloak. After Saul had left the cave, David called after him, asking the king why he was pursuing him.
He showed Saul the piece of cloak as proof that he could have killed him, and assured the King that he would never harm him.
Saul then repented and acknowledged that David would become king. After making David swear that he would also not harm any of his family, Saul went away.
David, however, did not trust Saul completely and with his men sought refuge among the Philistines, remaining with them for 16 months.
He made many raids against the surrounding tribes, killing the people and bringing back all their belongings.
Because of this, Achish, the chief of the Philistines, thought that David would be unable to return to his own country, but would remain with him all his life.
After David had been with the Philistines for more than a year, they mustered their army for an attack on Israel.
Achish told David that he would have to take part in the attack.
David agreed to do so, hoping that some circumstance would arise to prevent him fighting his own people.
The Philistine army was advancing with David and his men at the rear of the column with Achish.
The Philistine commanders were afraid that David would turn traitor, and demanded that Achish should send him back.
When David and his men reached the Philistine country, they found that the Amalekites had carried out a raid and taken away all the Israelite women and children.
David and his men set off in pursuit, overtook the Amalekites and, after a fierce battle, defeated them.
David rescued unharmed all those who had been taken captive and recovered all the spoils the Amalekites had taken.
Meanwhile the Philistines carried out their attack on the Israelites and routed them. Three of Saul’s sons were killed. Saul himself was badly wounded and to avoid the humiliation of being mocked by the Philistines, he committed suicide.
On the third day after Saul’s death, a messenger brought to David the news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.
Following this, David was anointed King of Judah; this was in 1010 BC. Meanwhile, a surviving son of Saul, named Ishbosheth, was made King of Israel. There followed a long and bitter war between the armies of the two kings, David becoming steadily stronger, while Ishbosheth was becoming weaker.
Finally, in 1003 BC, Ishbosheth was slain by two of his own men, and David was anointed King of Israel.
He was to reign over the combined kingdoms for 33 years. David now assembled all his army and marched them to Baalath-Judah to bring residence there and called it the City of David. Hiram, king of Tyre, sent envoys to David with cedar logs, also carpenters and stonemasons who built a palace for the King.
When the Philistines learnt that David had been anointed King of Israel, they mounted an attack, but were driven off.
They attacked again and were routed by the Israelites.
There followed a long and bitter war between the armies of the two kings, David becoming steadily stronger, while Ishbosheth was becoming weaker. Finally, in 1003 BC, Ishbosheth was slain by two of his own men, and David was anointed king of Israel.
He was to reign over the combined kingdoms for 33 years.
David now assembled all his army and marched them to Baalath-Judah to bring residence there and called it the city of David.
Hiram, king of Tyre, sent envoys to David with cedar logs, also carpenters and stonemasons who built a palace for the King.
When the Philistines learnt that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mounted an attack, but were driven off.
They attacked again and were routed by the Israelites.
David now assembled all his army and marched them to Baalath-Judah to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem.
The entry of the Ark into the city was accompanied by sacrifices and great rejoicing. After the Ark had been deposited in the tent that David had erected for it, he offered up further sacrifices and gave to all the people a loaf of bread, a portion of meat and a flagon of wine – the supper of king David.
He organized the worship of God according to the rules that had been laid down in former times.
David enquired if there was any member of Saul’s family still alive, to whom he could show kindness. He was informed that a son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, lame in both feet, was alive and living a few miles away. David sent for Mephibosheth, who came before him in great fear, expecting to be killed.
David, however, assured him that because of the great friendship that had existed between him and Jonathan, he was not going to harm Mephibosheth, but on the contrary, he would give him all the land that had belonged to Saul and that in the royal household he would be treated as one of the king’s sons.
Some former servants of Saul were delegated to serve Mephibosheth.
When the King had settled in his house, he was minded to build a house for the Ark, considering that it was unworthy for the Ark to be sheltered in a tent, while he lived in a house of cedar.
He informed the prophet Nathan of his plan, but the next day the prophet came to him with the news that God had instructed him to tell the king that he would continue to receive Divine protection and that he would be succeeded by one of his sons who would build a house for the Lord. David was disappointed, but accepted the Divine edict.
David now attacked and defeated the surrounding nations, and expanded his kingdom on all sides. During his career as outlaw and king, he took several wives and concubines, who bore him many children. In spite of this, he had an affair with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite.
He wanted to marry her, so he ordered Uriah to be sent to the place where the fighting was fiercest so that he might be killed by the enemy. David’s hopes were fulfilled and after the normal period of mourning was over, he married Bathsheba.
Nathan the prophet warned him that his behaviour had so displeased God that the first son that Bathsheba should bear would die.
This duly happened and David was heartbroken for a time. However, Bathsheba bore him another son whom she named Solomon, but David told Nathan that the boy’s name should be Jedidiah, meaning “Beloved of the Lord”.
Serious family trouble now occurred. Amnon, one of David’s sons, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Absolom, Tamar’s brother, took her into his house; he refused to speak to Amnon, whom he now hated.
David was very angry, but would not harm Amnon, because he was his son.
Two years later, Absolom gave a party to which Amnon was invited, and gave his servants instructions to kill Amnon when they had the opportunity.
When David was told of the death of his son, he was deeply distressed. Absolom fled and remained in exile for three years, after which David was persuaded to let him return, though he would have his own quarters and would not be allowed to enter the king’s palace.
By all accounts Absolom was extremely handsome and his hair was long and flowing. Absolom now provided himself with a large personal bodyguard and made strenuous efforts to undermine the king’s authority.
After four years Absolom gained David’s permission to go to Hebron. He took 200 men with him, and, having arrived there, proclaimed himself king. The conspiracy gathered strength and Absolom’s supporters increased in number.
When David heard of this he left Jerusalem with several hundred followers and Absolom moved into the city. There followed a period of plot and counter-plot.
Eventually both armies crossed the river Jordan and David organized his army in preparation for the forthcoming battle, giving orders that Absolom himself was not to be harmed.
David’s men defeated those of Absolom and put them to flight. A few of the victorious army came upon Absolom; he had been riding a mule and in his flight his head was caught in the branches of a large oak tree, while the mule went on, leaving him hanging in the air.
After a short discussion, David’s men killed him, buried him in a pit in the forest and raised a cairn of stones over his grave.
When the news of Absolom’s death was broken to David he was greatly moved, but was persuaded to hide his grief to encourage his followers.
The followers of Absolom scattered to their homes in various parts of the country and David returned to Jerusalem where he received an enthusiastic welcome. Some of the Israelites staged a rebellion which collapsed when its leader was killed.
Once again war broke out between the Israelites and the Philistines. David was leading his men and had a narrow escape from death, but was saved by Abishai.
David’s officers then swore that they would never again let him go with them to war. In the remaining successful wars against the Philistines and some other surrounding tribes, David remained behind.
During David’s reign there was famine that lasted three years. David consulted the Lord who told him that it was a punishment for Saul’s slaughter of the Gibeonites.
David, therefore, summoned the Gibeonites and asked them what he could do to compensate them, so that they would bless the Lord’s chosen people.
The Gibeonites replied that no amount of silver or gold would suffice, and demanded that David should hand over to them seven of Saul’s dependants whom they would execute.
David agreed to this, but he spared Mephibosheth, a grandson of Saul, because of his promise he had made to Jonathan, the father of Mephibosheth.
Later, David again incurred the wrath of the Lord by sending his officers to count all the people in the land, which was contrary to Divine ordinance.
The census took over nine months and after it was completed, David felt pangs of conscience and he deeply regretted what he had done. The prophet Gad came to David and informed him that the Lord gave him the choice of three possible punishments, namely, three years of famine in the land, three months of flight from a pursuing enemy, or three days of pestilence in the land.
David chose the pestilence and many of his people died from it. The prophet Gad again came to him and told him to set up an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Araunah offered to give him the threshing-floor together with oxen to sacrifice and wooden farm implements to use as fuel.
David, however, insisted on paying for them; he would not offer to the Lord something that had cost him nothing. After he had built the altar and offered the sacrifices, the plague stopped.
Towards the end of his seventy-year life, when David was becoming feeble, one of his sons, Adonijah, boasted in public that he was to become king.
When Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, heard of this, she went to David and reminded him of a promise that he had made, that Solomon should succeed him as king.
At the same time, Nathan the prophet came to the king and told him of Adonijah’s actions. David summoned Zadok the priest and with his officers had Solomon escorted to Gihon. Zadok anointed Solomon king and he was proclaimed and escorted home with much noisy rejoicing.
David had reigned for forty years. As well as being a great warrior and ruler, David was a poet of no mean ability. No less than 73 of the 150 psalms are attributed to him, and the 22nd chapter of the second book of Samuel is a long poem, praising God and giving thanks for all his help in delivering David from the hands of his enemies.
Also, the first seven verses of the next chapter entitled “The last words of David” are a short poem in which David professes his faith in God’s promises.
When David felt that his death was approaching, he sent for Solomon and charged him to do his duty to God and to obey all the statutes and commandments as they were written in the Law of Moses. Shortly after this his eventful life came to a peaceful end and Solomon reigned in his stead.
(Supplied by Most Worthy Brother Ian Wylde, P G S R from various sources.)
Dramatis Personae of the OSM
Dramatis Personae of the OSM – M Wthy Bro I C Wylde G S R
The idea underlying my paper today is one which is equally applicable to any Masonic Ritual, in fact the title could be “How to get added interest from our printed rituals without having to worry about where any degree originally came from or what was the real origin of Freemasonry, etc. etc. etc.”
And the Order of the Secret Monitor is just taken as a typical example.
There are many ways in which you can take an interest in Freemasonry apart from regular attendances at our meetings.
Most of us no doubt start by attempting to study the history and origin of Freemasonry and, undeterred by the hundreds of books on the shelves of the Grand Library, we buy (or borrow) books and start our studies.
We soon find, however, that we are in a realm of controversies and flatly contradictory statements and some utterly fantastic ideas, if we discuss it with “learned” brethren, some we find are confident that they have the “real” solution which they will tell us about “some other time” – and we probably never see them again.
As a result there is a tendency for some to become despondent and disillusioned and wonder if it is all a “fake** and that they will never discover the “truth**.
When this stage is reached, it is definitely time to call a halt, for this type of “truth” has nothing whatsoever to do with the real Truth, the real Quest which we as Freemasons endeavour to pursue.
Surely, Freemasonry, whatever its origins, is (and I trust always will be) as we have it now, printed rituals, private or official, bad grammar and all!
My own idea is that we should start with what we have got and see how much (or how little) we know about it, and then if we feel like it, start working backwards.
To me, the Masonic Rituals are something like historical novels or plays where some of the characters are real and historical. Some of the things they do or say may be fact or fiction or legendary.
Some of the characters are legendary or complete fiction. To me it is very interesting to find out all I can about these characters, whether they existed or not, what other famous personalities they came in contact with etc., and something of the period in which they lived.
The story in this way becomes much more vivid and alive than the bare printed words portray. But all this takes a considerable time and requires a somewhat extensive library.
And so with all our Masonic Rituals, most of the characters are real and historical and a few legendary. What the real characters do and say is often historical fact, often Masonic legend. And if the best known of our Masonic legends namely that of HAB has no factual evidence of its truth, it in no way detracts from its value.
For we must remember that in Masonic “stories** much of it is allegory, and the stories do not set out always to state facts but rather to illustrate some moral principle or virtue.
Now in studying most of these Masonic stories, no extensive library is required, just one book, namely the VOSL and as we are frequently advised to study it, here is an excuse for so doing – if an excuse is necessary.
The Order of The Secret Monitor (which we are going to take as an example) is very suitable for this kind of study. Unlike some other degrees, much is told of the principal characters although very little of others, and one may possibly be surprised at the omission of some other famous names which one would expect to hear about as they are so intimately connected with those mentioned in the OSM story.
There is a very convenient lecture at the end of the 2° (Princes) degree which covers a period of several hundred years. Such a lecture, however written, must contain many large gaps. So all we have to do (in our spare time) is to run through the lecture story, filling in some of the gaps and finding out something of the chief characters which appear and also of others who are intimately connected with them.
Such knowledge must surely make the whole story so much more alive and interesting and “names” become “characters”, i.e. people one can visualize.
Now to make my point, let us suppose there was a kind of “school examination” on the OSM ritual and let us imagine that the candidate is an ordinary Supreme Ruler, if you will forgive the expression. I mean someone who has passed through the various offices and finally reached the chair where he conducts his ceremonies with reasonable word perfection. No doubt he would expect to obtain high marks.
Now I should set an examination something like this:-
1. Give in full the obligations in the two degrees.
2. Where did David and Jonathan meet for the last time? On these and similar questions he ought to score full marks. But how about these?
3. Give the names of two of the twelve spies whom Moses sent out to survey the “Promised Land” and give a brief account of one of them.
4. What was Doeg’s occupation?
5. What physical deformity did Mephibosheth suffer from and how did it happen?
6. Give the names of Abishai’s mother and two brothers and how they were related to David.
If the candidate failed in the last four questions he might say that he could not possibly be expected to know them as they are “not in the ritual” (familiar phrase) and anyhow they would not help him to perform the ceremony any better.
An element of truth in this perhaps, but at any rate all the “names” appear in the ritual. On the other hand he might decide to “look it up” for next time, which in fact is what I did as soon as I had been admitted to the 2*.
And now for our story. It begins with Moses leading the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage, through the Red Sea to the Sinai Peninsula. (The story of Moses of course is too well known to need repetition). The conventional date of the “Exodus” is put at 1491 BC. They passed down the west side of the peninsula and then across to Mount Sinai (or Horeb) in the south, where the two tablets of the Law were received and the Tabernacle set up in the Sinai Desert.
It was here about, after the Exodus, that Moses received a visit from his father-in-law Jethro, a shepherd priest of Midian, a country east of the peninsula and on the east coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.
There is some confusion as to his name which appears also as Reuel or Hobab. But it was as Jethro that he appears at Sinai. He brought with him Moses’ wife and two children who had stayed in Midian during Moses’s sojourn in Egypt.
By his advice Moses was persuaded to leave some of the government of the people to others by instituting a system of magistrates for the lesser cases.
The journey continued northward to the wilderness of Paran where Jethro returned to his own country. Here the twelve spies were sent out and ten of them returned with such unfavourable reports that the people refused to go forward and threatened to appoint a new leader to take them back to Egypt.
The other two spies, Caleb of the tribe of Judah and Joshua of Ephraim risked their lives in trying to persuade them to go forward but all to no avail. For this, the Israelites were condemned to wander in the wilderness for forty years and of that generation, only Joshua and Caleb survived to enter the Promised Land, this being their reward for their constant loyalty to Moses.
By this time, Joshua, the man chosen to be leader when Moses should die, had established his reputation as a brilliant general and had organised a very efficient army, judging by the crushing defeats he inflicted on many enemies during the final advance into Palestine – and referred to in the FC Degree as “the time when Joshua fought the battles of the Lord**.
In the final advance the Israelites went eastwards to the south of the Dead Sea between the boundaries of Edom and Moab where Aaron, the brother of Moses died, and where we have the well known story of Balak, King of Moab, and Balaam, the hireling prophet, who was told to put a curse on the Israelites.
Then northward on the east side of the Dead Sea and Jordan until they arrived opposite Jericho where Moses died at the age of 120 in sight of the “Promised Land” but never permitted to set foot there.
Under Joshua’s leadership they crossed the river and entered the “Promised Land” forty years after their exodus from Egypt, a period full of incident which has only been briefly touched upon here.
Joshua governed for about eight years and died at the age of 110. After this the Israelites were ruled for a period of about 300 years by numerous “Judges” (of whom Jephthah of the 2″* TB was one).
This was a period of anarchy and confusion with little progress made towards consolidating their kingdom. Under Samuel there was much improvement and progress, especially against the Philistines. But the people clamoured for a king so as to be like the other nations and that the king might lead them to great victories in battle and make them a mighty nation.
And although Samuel warned them that their king would probably prove himself to be a harsh dictator and that they would be little more than slaves, the people still demanded it. (All of which appears to be depressingly modern!).
So Samuel chose Saul for them and anointed him the first King of Israel.
Saul appeared in every way to be a suitable choice. He was of Kish – a ‘mighty man” of Benjamin (i.e. wealthy). He is described as “a choice young man and goodly”. Also “from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of his people” and he was of a deeply religions nature. He started very well with victories against the Philistines. But he quarrelled with Samuel and things began to go badly and he began to suffer from fits of depression and violent anger, it was then that David first appeared on the scene.
Samuel in a vision, was told to go secretly to Bethlehem in Judah to anoint David the youngest son of Jesse as future king of Israel, although David did not realise the significance of this at the time. David first met Saul when he was sent to play his harp before him and this helped to cure Saul when he was in one of his “black” moods. David became famous by killing the Philistine giant Goliath and his brilliant victories over the Philistines made him a popular idol and he became the king’s son-in-law by marrying Saul’s daughter Michal.
However, when the people began to sing slogans such as “Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands” Saul’s friendship turned to bitter hatred and David had to fly for his life.
His escape was made possible by Jonathan, Saul’s son, who risked his own life in doing so, on more than one occasion. He was in fact ordered by Saul to kill him. Jonathan first met David when he was brought before Saul after the slaying of Goliath and their great friendship started from that moment Jonathan appears to have been very popular with the people generally and with the army on account of his successful campaigns against the Philistines and no doubt would have been acclaimed king on the death of Saul.
But both Saul and Jonathan realized that with the ever increasing popularity of David, the people were beginning to look towards David as their future ruler: – “Thou shalt be king over Israel and I shall be the next under thee and that also Saul my father knoweth”.
Their reactions were very different; Saul in his mad desire to destroy David led an army of two to three thousand men against him and pursued him for some six years throughput the whole of Judah and even took with him his cousin Abner who was C in C of the Israelitish
Jonathan on the other hand repeatedly warned David of his father’s intentions and helped him to escape. He even found his way to David’s hiding place in the wilderness of Ziph to encourage him not to lose heart and to assure him that his father would not find him.
From this we could assume that the two had always remained secretly in touch with one another. And he did all this for a man who he knew would one day usurp his place on the throne of Israel.
I think further comment is unnecessary except perhaps to say that he was a man in whom there was no trace of resentment or jealousy – a very rare quality.
David first fled to Ramah in Benjamin then back secretly to Jonathan to find out what Saul’s intentions were and where we have the incident of the three arrows. Thence to Nob where Ahimelch the priest gave him some hallowed bread and the sword of Goliath.
This was seen by Doeg, the result of which we know. Doeg was an Edomite – a foreigner in fact whose country had not been conquered by Israel and he had no particular reverence for the Hebrew priesthood. He was one of Saul’s chief servants and in charge of his herds.
It was in the caves of Adullam that David first gathered together the nucleus of an army of some 400 men and among them no doubt were to be found some of those who afterwards became his “Mighty Men”. At any rate when David heard that Keilah, a few miles away, was being attacked by the Philistines he took a small band of men and inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy and saved the town.
It was here that Abiathar joined him after the slaughter of his family by Doeg. The inhabitants rewarded David for their deliverance by betraying his presence to Saul and David again fled, this time to the wilderness of Ziph where Jonathan, who obviously knew where he was, visited him for the last time.
From there he fled to En-gedi near the west shore of the Dead Sea where he and his men hid among “the rocks of the wild goats” and where David could have killed Saul but spared his life.
Finally, David, fearing that he could never make peace with Saul, left the country and took refuge with the Philistines who gave him the town of ZikIag for him and his men.
His army by then had increased to 600 and among them was a considerable number of his “mighty men” who helped to establish him finally on the throne of Israel.
The “three” who were considered the greatest of them all were Adino, Eleazar and Shammah. Their claim to greatness was based on the number of Philistines they had killed single-handed.
There was also Abishai who was captain of a band of thirty warriors. The three who broke through the Philistine lines to get water from the well at Bethlehem were either Adino, Eleazar and Shammah or possibly three from Abishai’s men. This incident probably took place shortly after the death of Saul when David had been proclaimed king of Judah.
Abishai was David’s constant companion while hiding from Saul and was with him when they found Saul asleep with his army and would have killed him but for David’s command not to raise his hand against “the Lord’s anointed”.
And wherever Abishai was, it is reasonable to suppose that there also were his two brothers Asahel and Joab* Asahel the youngest was renowned for his “fleetness of foot” while Joab the eldest ultimately became David’s C in C and by his skilful generalship and ruthless methods did more than any other man to establish David firmly on the throne of Israel, a kingdom extending from Beersheba to Dan.
Their mother was Zeruiah, David’s half-sister. Not only were they unswervingly loyal to David and his cause but also to each other – rather like the Three Musketeers.
If any of them displeased David (as Joab did frequently) he never referred to him individually but always collectively as the “Sons of Zeruiah” as for example “What have I to do with you ye sons of Zeruiah?” or “These men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me”.
While David and his men were at Ziklag, the Philistines launched an attack against the Israelites who were routed in the Mountains of Gilboa some fifty miles north of the borders of Judah and Saul and three of his sons including Jonathan were killed after a reign of about forty years.
Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was five years old at the time and on hearing of the disaster his nurse carried him for safety over the Jordan, but during the flight he fell from her arms and was crippled for life.
The people of Judah proclaimed David king at Hebron. All the other tribes supported Saul’s family and Abner, Saul’s cousin and C in C proclaimed Saul’s son Ishbosheth king of Israel.
And so the first civil war began and from then onwards the northern tribes were known as Israel and the south as Judah. Joab and Abishai led the armies for David and Judah. In the first engagement the Israelites were defeated but Asahej (Joab’s young brother) pursuing after Abner, was killed by him. The war lingered on for some six to seven year’s when Abner quarreled with Ishbosheth and made overtures to David to come over to his side with his army, and David readily agreed.
Joab to whom disloyalty to David was unforgivable, and remembering that Abner had killed his brother, stabbed the unsuspecting Abner to death, much to David’s grief; while Ishbosheth was assassinated shortly afterwards.
David was then anointed again at Hebron, this time over all Israel.
Led by Joab and Abishai, who always seemed to work in complete harmony, the army gradually subdued all the hostile tribes of the Amalekites, Moabites, Syrians, etc.
Against the Edomites, Abishai appears to have been in sole command. Jerusalem was captured from the Jebusites and became the capital and there the ark was placed in the care of Abiathar and Zadok who were appointed High Priests.
One of David’s first acts on becoming king was to enquire if there was anyone left of the house of Saul to whom he might show kindness for Jonathan’s sake.
It was then that Mephibosheth was brought before him and he certainly had nothing to fear from David. Indeed anyone killing any of Saul’s family were themselves executed by David as with the murderers of Ishbosheth.
After about twenty five years there came the revolt of Absalom, David’s favourite son, who set himself up as king in Hebron, and David was forced to leave Jerusalem. On the way – Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant – informed David that Mephibosheth had remained in Jerusalem and joined in the revolt, and David allowed Ziba to take all Mephibosheth’s property.
Back once again in Jerusalem after the failure of the revolt, Mephibosheth came to David and with a gracious spirit, free from any resentment at David’s suspicions, stated simply that Ziba had stolen his ass and being a cripple he could not get away and now he was overjoyed that “the king is come again in peace unto his own house**. Surely he was a true son of Jonathan.
By a clever stratagem, David’s army, in three columns led by Joab, Abishai and lttai easily crushed the revolt and Joab coming upon Absalom, caught in a tree by his hair, stabbed him to death in spite of David’s express wish to him “to deal gently for my sake with the young man”.
David’s grief on hearing this was even greater than that for the death of Jonathan as shown by his outburst, **0 my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee, 0 Absalom my son, my son!”
For this deed Joab was dismissed from his post which was most surprisingly given to Amasa whom Absalom had chosen as his C in C in the revolt-a half-nephew of David and a cousin of Joab. Joab’s reaction to this can easily be imagined.
As for Abishai, all we know is that he continued to be associated with David. Soon however another revolt broke out led by Sheba, a Benjamite, to which tribe Saul belonged: it was a revolt of the ten northern tribes who wished to reject David and Judah.
This threatened to be more dangerous even than Absalom’s revolt. David ordered Amasa to mobilize the army within a certain time, but he failed to do so and David called on Abishai to take charge.
Here again we get an interesting insight into the character of Abishai and of the close friendship between the two brothers, because the next thing we hear is that the army is being led out by both Abishai and Joab with the latter taking the leading part.
On the way out they met Amasa at the head of his troops and Joab, pretending to greet him in a friendly manner, drew his sword and stabbed him to death and left his body lying in the road.
The troops, however, joined in with those of Joab and Abishai and the revolt was soon completely crushed and Joab was reinstated as C in C.
One may wonder perhaps why Joab has no place among the “Mighty Men” of the 2* of the Order or even why he does not appear instead of Abishai, possibly because of his violent acts and his final miserable end, or more possibly because Abishai appears to have been so often with David in many “personal” episodes. Apart from those mentioned there was the time, at the start of Absalom’s rebellion when Shimei, a member of Saul’s family, cursed David and threw stones at him saying that just as David had usurped the throne of Saul’s family, so would Absalom do the same to him.
Abishai wanted to kill him on the spot but David forbade it as he always did with anyone of Saul’s family. And, again, after the revolt, when Shimei came to make amends, Abishai again wished to kill him because he had “cursed the Lord’s anointed”, which called forth the
reply, “What have I to do with ye sons of Zeruiah, etc”. The last we hear of Abishai is during a Philistine raid in which David was present and was about to be struck down by a Philistine giant when his life was spared by Abishai.
After this episode, David was persuaded to give up taking any active part on the battlefield.
The story now draws to a close. David, when dying, named Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, as the future king. But Adonijah, David’s eldest surviving son, resented this and made an abortive attempt to seize the kingdom on the death of David and he was joined by Joab and Abiathar.
Why these two did so is difficult to understand. Possibly, Adonijah, being the elder son, was considered the rightful heir or possibly Joab remembered the part he played in getting Urriah the Hittite killed by David’s orders so that David could marry his wife Bathsheba, who became Solomon’s mother.
The revolt was easily crushed and Joab, now an old man, fled to the tabernacle where he thought he would be secure from attack. But he was killed there by Solomon’s orders, holding on to the horns of the Altar. Such was the miserable death of a great man. Adonijah also was ordered to be killed.
Abiathar was pardoned but was dismissed from his office as High Priest.
So ends our story, covering in a short time a period of about five hundred years, a brief description of some of the characters and of the times in which they lived, starting with Moses and ending with Solomon which perhaps we may say, is where Craft masonry begins.
(Supplied by Most Worthy Brother Ian Wylde P G S R from various sources.)
O S M History and explanation
O S M History and explanation- M Wthy Bro I C Wylde G S R
The Order of the Secret Monitor in Australia owes its origins to the Order in England, it’s development, constitutions and practices are actually based on those existing at that time in the Order in Britain. The Order has a significant place in the evolution of Freemasonry, having become the speculative, moral and ethical Institution it is today.
In most cases the establishment and structure of freemasonry emerged from a background of many decades of political and religious strife during which forceful and endless attempts were made to control men’s behaviour and to determine men’s thinking, their beliefs and their individual opinions. In these circumstances, there was no freedom of speech, no freedom of conscience and no escape for the majority from the evils of ignorance. Therefore, in man’s attempt to break these shackles and exhibit his own individual independence was the genesis of our Order.
Man sought in the spirit of the age to satisfy his urge to belong to a group whose members shared similar ideas. The fact that so many Orders have survived and flourished may be attributed to man’s inherent desire to associate with his fellows, to live in communities and to satisfy his feeling of belonging. Thus we have the family, the community and the society.
The Order is thus a progression from the craft masonry that had become firmly established and practiced at the time. The history of our Order like the history of freemasonry generally has vague beginnings, but its development and progress are clear and well authenticated by existing records.
What then are the origins of the Order of the Secret Monitor?
A generally held view is that the Order came to England from the USA. However, there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the Order of David and Jonathan arose in Holland at least two centuries earlier than its establishment in England in 1887.
The friendship of David and Jonathan has been assumed to have formed the basis of a Brotherhood with modes of recognition by day and by night in the Netherlands about 1571 – 81 when several Provinces were declaring their independence from the Spanish Rule. It is also maintained that these modes of recognition were revived a century later in France as a means of bringing together patriots and Protestants who wished to resist the foreign religious invaders.
To escape religious intolerance, many Dutch Protestants emigrated to America. There they found a new life with greater liberty. It is quite understandable that they would have taken their freemasonry with them. Consequently, this would have created a resurgence of the Order of David and Jonathan in their new homeland of America. These early developments in America were not straight forward and permanent. It appears that in the early 19th Century, wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of members of the Order could join as “Heroines of Jericho”.
There are rituals of the “Order of Brotherly Love”, “Order of Jonathan and David”, “Order of the Secret Monitor”, being worked in the mid 19th Century. The Dutch migrants, working from memory, would naturally have made changes to the original Dutch Rite. Records in the 1830’s in America mention the Secret Monitor being bracketed with the Knights of Constantinople as two Orders of Masonry.
Some historical references are relevant and of great interest:
* On page 16 of a publication, “The medals of the Masonic Fraternity”, published in 1880 in Boston there is an illustration of a medal struck in 1774 for a Lodge in Brunswick: Jonathan of the Pillar – showing David and Jonathan embracing near the stone.
* In the Bibliography of Freemason Literature published n French there appears what purports to be a summary of the laws and constitutions of the Order of Jonathan.
* Also, a Bibliography of the Freemasons published in Leipzig in 1884 refers to the Constitution of the newly-formed most praiseworthy Order of Jonathan or Society of Perfect and True Friendship, 1764. In the same publication reference is also made to the General Statutes and Structure of the Order of David and Jonathan in Amsterdam in 1773. This contained the Rules, Statutes, Constitution and Ceremonials of the Order of Jonathan and David and Jesus Christ. Also, it shows that the Master of Lodge Concordia Vincit Animos in Amsterdam introduced this Order into his Lodge in 1788. There were seven Degrees:
1. Squire or Friend of the Order
2. Knight or Nephew
3. Commander or Brother
4. Grand Commander of Jonathan and David and Knight of the Order of Jesus Christ.
5. Commander of the Order of Jesus Christ
6. Grand Knight
7. Grand Commander
It can easily be assumed that the first three or four Degrees of this Order could be ancestral forms of the modern Order of the Secret Monitor ritual.
As the Order grew in America it became absorbed as one of the Degrees of the “Allied Degrees”. Here the basic requirement was that the Candidate must be an Ark Mariner. The principal officers working the Degree were the Supreme Ruler and Senior and Junior Rulers. There were, in addition a Guide, a Guardian and a Sentinel. When the “Allied Degrees” came to England in the 1870’s it contained the simple degree of a “Secret Monitor”. Membership eligibility was modified to a Master Mason in Good standing. The Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor in England came into being in 1887. The Grand Council of the Allied Degrees by mutual agreement in July 1931 with the Grand Council of the Secret Monitor agreed not to work the Secret Monitor Degree in the future.
The growth of the Order of the Secret Monitor in Britain was accompanied by a similar growth in its overseas Colonies and Dependencies. Victoria was the first Australian State to establish a Conclave – Southern Cross Conclave No. 27. This Conclave was consecrated in London on 6 January, 1896 and was to meet in Geelong, Victoria.
By 1924, James LAURENSON, a member of the Order, had moved to Ipswich from New Zealand and was keen to establish a Conclave in Queensland. He applied to London for a warrant and was asked to see if the warrant of the dormant Southern Cross Conclave in Victoria could be transferred to Queensland.
This idea met strong opposition in Victoria and the response was so decisive that the Southern Cross Conclave was resurrected on 21 November 1924 in Geelong.
However, the second Conclave to be consecrated in Australia was Friendship Conclave, No.56, in Ipswich in 1926 with James Simon LAURENSON being the foundation Supreme Ruler.
From this time on progress of the Order in Australia was accelerated and in 1930 a District – Southern District – was formed. In 1938, the Southern District was divided into two Districts – Northern and Southern. Our present Grand Conclave became autonomous and was inaugurated on 31 May 1969.
Why the Order of David and Jonathan? Who, in fact, were David and Jonathan?
The story of David and Jonathan is told in the Old Testament Book of Samuel. Despite the inconsistencies in the Biblical account – Books 1 & 2 were apparently by different authors at different times – there is no doubt that David entered the service of the King Saul, that he became a member of the family by marrying one of the King’s daughters and that David and Jonathan became firm friends. Jonathan was one of Saul’s sons.
David first met Saul when he was sent to play his harp before him and this helped to cure Saul when he was in one of his black moods. David became famous by killing the Philistine giant, Goliath, with a stone from his slingshot. Jonathan first met David when he was brought before Saul after the slaying of Goliath and their friendship started from that moment. Jonathan appears to have been very popular with the people generally and with the army on account of his successful campaigns against the Philistines and no doubt would have been acclaimed King on the death of Saul. The friendship of David and Jonathan is all the more remarkable when the conditions of the time are considered.
King Saul was at first a good King who did much to consolidate his kingdom. After a while he became tyrannical and inflicted much hardship upon his people. He often suffered from fits of madness, the attacks becoming more frequent as he gave way to jealousy, and it became apparent he had lost his power to rule.
The people cried out against the injustices and the reigning Judge, Samuel, on instruction from the Lord chose David as the candidate for kingship, and secretly anointed him on instructions from the Lord. The use of oil for anointing is of Biblical origins.
David had been given great responsibility by King Saul and had distinguished himself as a soldier and a leader of men. David’s battle successes had made him very popular throughout the land but had also served to fan Saul’s jealousy and increased his desire to have him killed. David was unwilling to believe this of Saul but was finally persuaded by Jonathan to leave court for three days. The bow and arrow incident determined David’s future course of action and he sadly departed from the King’s sphere of influence.
Saul, finding out that David was his anointed successor, could not accept this and became more determined to kill David, Saul, with his army, relentlessly pursued David and his faithful band of followers.
Some time later David and Saul were reconciled but it is not known how long this lasted. Some time after this, Jonathan and two of his brothers were killed in battle and, in despair, Saul sadly committed suicide.
David was accepted as King of the people of Judah. However, in the North, Saul’s eldest son, Ishboseth, was declared King of Israel. David finally conquered the whole country and reigned over Judah for seven years and over the whole country for thirty-three years. Jerusalem was made the capital. His son, Solomon, succeeded David as King.
This, then, is the background and the basis for the origin and development of the Order of the Secret Monitor. The Order seeks to extend the brotherhood of the worthy Master Mason to the higher realm of friendship – a friendship established by David and Jonathan.
As we now have it, the philosophy of our Order and its ethical and moral basis are abundantly clear and can not end themselves to misrepresentation. Despite all its developments and refinement throughout the world, the Order of the Secret Monitor has never departed from the Biblical story of David and Jonathan as its foundation
(Supplied by Most Worthy Brother Ian Wylde P G S R from various sources.)
Thank you for visiting our site. We hope you have enjoyed your visit with us and you will return and refer
our site to others. Should you have any other material which would be appropriate for the site,
or any hyperlinks to relevant material, please contact the Grand Webmaster.