Who was Adoniram?

Graig Huber

Adoniram/Adoram is associated with multiple degrees in Freemasonry but central to the Royal Master Degree in the Cryptic Rite. Within our Council at Prather York Rite, he is referred to as Adoniram but some Councils in other states do refer to him as Adoram - both of these names appear in scripture referring to the same person. Adoniram also appears in the Lodge of Perfection of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite but Adoniram is not mentioned at all in the three Ancient Craft degrees of the Blue Lodge. In the Cryptic Rite, who was Adoniram/Adoram

Adoniram took over as Master Builder of the Temple upon the death of Hiram Abif. While no proof of this is given in Biblical scripture, his place of importance among the three Grand Masters is preserved in the Royal Master Degree. Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry states “He has been called “the first of the Fellow Crafts;” is said in one tradition to have been the brother in-law of Hiram Abif…” What else do we know of Adoniram apart from his role in the Royal Master Degree?

“And Adoram was over the tribute; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder.”

2 Samuel 20:9

“And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.”

1 Kings 5:13; 5:14

Adoniram was a combination of a tax collector and an administer of forced labor - two less than appealing jobs but a necessary position to pay for King Solomon’s regal lifestyle and building projects. He worked for King Solomon for over 40 years and his service as tax collector went into the reign of King Solomon’s successor - Rehoboam. With a duration of service so long, he must have been regarded as a trusted and competent member of King Solomon's inner circle. Adoniram administered the creation of tax districts and even restored a poll tax throughout parts of King Solomon's kingdom. Like most tax collectors - rather its thousands of years ago or present day - he was viewed with disdain by many within the Kingdom of Israel. This is best illustrated by his demise:

“Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore King Rehoboam made speed to get him to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.”

1 Kings 12:18

As you can see, in ancient times justice was not only severe by swift. A sad ending to such an important figure in King Solomon’s court and in York Rite Masonry.


Do you want to see Adoniram in action in the Royal Master Degree?

Our next Royal Master Degree work will be during our Council/Commandery class on Saturday May 5, 2018 at Prather York Rite.

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