The Pillars of the Porch

Q. In every masonic lodge may be seen two pillars, surmounted by globes. What is the origin of these pillars, and what do they signify?

A. According to the masonic lecture appertaining to the fellow-craft degree, these two pillars represent those which stood before the porch of King Solomon's temple, and are described in 1 Kings 7:15-24; 2 Chron. 3:15-17; Jer. 52:21-22. The description given in the Bible is very minute, and renders it evident that they were made after Egyptian models. The decorations consisted principally, if not entirely, of network, lily-work, and pomegranates. Speaking of these, the Rev. Dr. William Smith, in his Dictionary of the Bible, says:

The Phoenician architects of Solomon's temple decorated the capitals of the columns with "lily-work," that is, with the leaves and flowers of the lily, corresponding to the lotus-headed capitals of Egyptian architecture.

The same writer also says in the same work:

The pomegranate was early cultivated in Egypt: hence the complaint of the Israelites in the wilderness of Zin (Num. 20:5), this 'is no place of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates.' The tree, with its characteristic calyx-crowned fruit, is easily recognized on the Egyptian sculptures. (See article "Pomegranate.")

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