Besides this, the Hebrews, like other ancient Oriental nations, always supposed the spectator looking east, not north, as we do; hence the word shemal means left as well as north; kedem means east, and also before; while the same word which means south also means at the right hand. When we are told, therefore, in Kings and Chronicles, that the pillar Boaz was on the left side of the temple, it is also implied that it was on the north side. But, as the temple itself fronted to the east, and the pillar Boaz was on the north side of the porch, it also follows that this pillar, which represented the sun, was placed at the "northeast corner" of the temple, and in direct line with the rising sun of the summer solstice, as was the case with the ancient temples of Egypt. The full significance of this will be more clearly seen from the answer to the next question, as well as the reason why this pillar was placed on the north side of the porch and not on the south.
It may be thought that, in tracing the primitive meaning of the words Boaz and Jachin to the sun and moon, a conflict arises with what is stated on the margin of both Kings and Chronicles, where Jachin is translated to mean, "He shall establish," and Boaz, "In it is strength." (See 1 Kings 7:21; and 2 Chron. 3:17.) That the words have such a meaning, in a collateral sense, there is no doubt, but the allusion is to the fact that the strength and order of nature, the due course of the seasons, and the division of day and night, were ordained and established by the solar and lunar orbs. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years" (Gen. 1:14). The word "strength" is also applied to the sun in many places (see Psalm xix, where the sun is compared to "a strong man, rejoicing to run a race"). The allusion of the words Jachin and Boaz to 2 Sam. 7:16, "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee" (Simons's "Monitor," page 66), as given in the fellow-craft lecture, has no foundation other than the fancy of the inventor. The "house" spoken of in Samuel is not the temple, but the royal house, or line of David, just as we now speak of the house of Brunswick, or the house of Hapsburg. It must be remembered, also, that the marginal notes in Kings and Chronicles are really no part of the sacred text, being supplied by the commentators.
The promise made to David is, however, directly alluded to in Psalm 89:35-37:
Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.
Here the connection between the sun and moon, and the ideas of strength and establishment, is directly alluded to, and the symbolism of the pillars of the porch, as representing the sun and the moon, might be appropriately made to refer to the promise made to David. The attempt, however, to make a connection between the marginal notes to Kings and Chronicles, and the text from Samuel, and then to apply them both to the temple, has no foundation in the Bible. The words Jachin and Boaz are simply the names given to these pillars. They mean the moon and the sun, and also strength and establishment, alluding to the respective offices of the sun and the moon. The Hebrew year was lunar, and the moon established years, and months, and weeks; while the sun, "in whom is strength," ruled and divided the seasons. The primitive allusion of the words to the sun and moon is direct. This symbolism, as we have seen by what Josephus says, is in perfect harmony with that which characterized the whole temple, and all parts of it alike. This solar and lunar symbolism of the pillars of the porch was, no doubt, intended to teach the Israelites that the sun and moon were thus to be regarded as emblems only of the great Creator, and not to be worshipped themselves as gods.
As to the globes, if indeed the pillars of the porch were surmounted by globes, the idea must have been derived from Egypt, either directly or through the Tyrian workmen. The 164
allusion of the globes was then, as now, wholly astronomical; but the substitution of our modern academic celestial and terrestrial globes for the orbs of the sun and moon is an innovation of very late date, and was probably the work of Preston, Webb, or, still later, of Cross, author of the "Hieroglyphic Chart," a history of which has been previously given. Cross acknowledges that he invented some emblems, but he also says that many of them had been described before his time. In attempting to depict these, he made many mistakes, from his want of a more intimate knowledge of the symbolism of the ancient Mysteries.
It is true that the Hebrews, and most of the nations at the time of the building of Solomon's temple, did not know the true figure of the earth, yet there is no doubt that the Egyptians were more learned on this point. This, however, while it concedes the Egyptian origin of the globes, does not help the matter, for our academic globes, such as are now placed on the pillars, are philosophical instruments of a much more recent date. Apart from this, there can be no doubt that the idea of placing two columns before the temple, however they may have been ornamented was derived from Egypt, where it was the custom, as is not only proved by Herodotus and other historians, but by the temples themselves, remaining to this day, What was the real meaning and true office of these pillars standing before the ancient Egyptian temples, will more fully appear from the answer to the next question.
Brother Robert Macoy, in his "Cyclopaedia," expresses the opinion that the columns Jachin and Boaz were facsimiles of the obelisks which stood before the Egyptian temples (see article "Obelisk"). This, of course, does away with the globes, as well as the lily, pomegranate, and network. As to the latter, he is contradicted by Jeremiah, Kings, and Chronicles.
Was this article helpful?