WHO WAS THE WIDOW'S SON?
by Bro. Robert H. Johnson
originally published in
The Working Tools
Magazine November 2013
May 10, 2014
Who was the “Widow’s Son”? The answer
might seem easily answered, but when one reads of legends, scripture writings,
the Apocrypha and other historical documents it becomes apparent that perhaps we
cannot answer this question so easily.
In the writings of Masonic scholars we learn of Hiram Abiff, “The Widow’s Son”.
There are others referred to as “The Widow’s Son”. It seems this is a title to
which more than one can be named. The use of the title is actually traced back
to the Grail lore traditions which speak of a descended blood line and
specifically reference Ruth.
Ruth, a woman of the Moabite tribe, was married to Boaz, and she was a heroine
of the Old Testament. She was also the Great Grandmother of King David. That
King David, the father of King Solomon, who built the Temple? Ruth became
pregnant, and married Boaz. He was quite a bit older being 80, while Ruth was
40. The book says that Boaz dies the next day. That must have been some wedding
From this point on, all the descendants of Ruth, were known simply as “Sons of
the Widow”. A genetic title if you will. A genealogy can be traced. Ruth gives
birth to the first “Son of the Widow”, Obed, who grows up and bears his son
Jesse, who bears his son David who bears his sons Solomon and Nathan.
Using the lineage given in the Gospels of the Christian Bible, Jesus the
Nazarene is a descendant of Ruth, making him also, a “Son of the Widow” or
“Widow’s Son”. There are forty-five generations from Ruth to Jesus. This leaves
an interesting problem for us as Masons. Nowhere in the lineage mentioned in the
Bible does it refer to Hiram Abiff.
Knowing this, it seems the trail grows cold in the search for Hiram Abiff’s
title of “The Widow’s Son”. The Grail legends were written in a way that lends
itself to allegory and therefore, the story cannot be just assumed to mean that
Hiram was literally just a son of woman who lost her husband. These legends
early on establish this title and what it means, which is a descendant of Ruth
or more aptly a descendant of Boaz, either the 31st or 30th generation from Adam
if you rely on Luke's genealogy.
Could Hiram Abiff be related somehow to the historical Jesus the Nazarene? The
Gospels leave either a cold trail or a definitive “no,” since he isn't mentioned
at all in the genealogy given by Luke or Mathew.
Determining that the term “Widow’s Son,” a flip flop of the term “Sons of the
Widow,” was not actually meant to refer to a man whose father had passed, but
rather the epithet given to the offspring and lineage of Ruth, heroine of “The
Book of Ruth” or “Scroll of Ruth” presented in the Old Testament.
When Hiram Abiff is referenced as being a “Widow’s Son”, it is implied that he
was of the line of Ruth, who was married to Boaz and from them, according to
Luke, a continued line to King David, King Solomon and eventually to Jesus the
Nazarene. The problem here is that nowhere in the lineages mentioned in Luke or
Mathew does Hiram show up. Was he a distant relative or cousin?
King Solomon was also a “Widow’s Son” in the sense of being of the lineage of
Ruth. Is this why King Solomon called for a Tyrian which was handpicked to be
the architect of the Jewish Temple of the God of Israel? Could Solomon have
hired Hiram since they were family?
Doing detective work in genealogy can be taxing enough when researching ancestry
just a few generations removed from the researcher, a task made much more
difficult using biblical origins as references.
The lineage of Jacob is vital to this story. Twelve generations prior to the
time of King Solomon, and eight generations prior to the time of Boaz, the
twelve sons of Jacob were the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. The
fourth son of Jacob, Judah, was of the line that included the wise King, and
extended through him to Jesus the Nazarene. The sixth son, Naphtali, was the
founder of the line that included Hiram Abiff.
It is elementary to suggest that at the time of Jacob the designation of
“Widow’s Son” had not yet been used, however, in his offspring, through time
until we reach the time of Ruth, and from then on, it is not so unthinkable that
the lineage would have used this epithet when speaking of their heritage or when
scholars were recording the history of the time or even the Gospels.
What is it about this lineage which draws the title to it? What was so special?
The three largest monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all
regard it [the lineage] with reverence. After all, this lineage contains Adam,
Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, David, Solomon, Nathan, Zerubbabel and Jesus the
Perhaps the coincidence which ties this lineage together is the ability to
create. According to Luke, the line starts with Elohim (The Great Architect of
the Universe) and then to Adam. The Christian Bible does not specifically make
any magnificent claims to what Adam had ever built, however several other men in
this lineage in fact are great builders.
Enoch was the builder of the mythological underground temple consisting of nine
vaults with an altar where on the “Stone of Creation” and the Tetragrammaton
were said to have been hidden. These legends are featured in the York and
Scottish Rites namely the 7th degree in the York Rite called “The Holy Royal
Arch” and the 13th degree of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, called the
“Royal Arch of Solomon”. In recent years it has even been suggested that Enoch
was the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The ancient Egyptians are said to
have known the Great Pyramid as “The Pillar of Enoch”.
A somewhat obscure reference to that is found in the Bible, “In that day
shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a
pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a
witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt…” Isaiah 19:19.
Noah of course built the mythological Ark to house all of the creations of God
that were spared in the legend of the great flood.
Abraham or Abram and his son Ishmael are purported to have built the Kaaba, a
cube shaped building in Arabia which is one of the holiest sites for Brothers of
the Muslim faith.
King David built a city and his palace and had sons, one of whom was King
Solomon, who was responsible for the Temple of Solomon, which we all know is at
the center of the teachings of our noble craft. These builders in the original
line or “Alpha Lineage” the line that according to Luke starts with God and
leads to Jesus the Nazarene go on and on with fantastic accomplishments.
Let us not forget however that there is the allusion to the building of the
spiritual temple, a spiritual artificer which Jesus the Nazarene seemed to
personify and ages before then the character Freemasonry calls its patron, Hiram
Abiff. The handpicked chief architect of the Temple of God. A man to emulate in
his duty and fealty to his brothers, both Hiram of Tyre and King Solomon, this
is the man we learn about in our degrees and indeed try to emulate.
The “Alpha Line” is synonymous with “The Widow’s Son”. It could merely be the
separation of the generational gap and a more coded obscure way of saying “of
the Tribe of Judah” without being abrasive.
It could be that the Tribe of Judah was the main branch of this line and that
The Widow’s Sons are an offshoot of the original line but whose closeness to the
original line needed to be preserved by means of a title given to these
In the end, we will never know if Adam, Jesus the Nazarene or Hiram were truly
related, however it is clear that The Widows Son is a title given to the
offspring of Ruth and her descendants. It is also clear that Freemasonry calls
its patron Saint Hiram Abiff a “Widow's Son", who was a builder and that the
lessons taught philosophically within our Masonic system have much to do with
building as well, the main difference is that we are building our spiritual
temples. In the Masonic system we follow in the footsteps of Hiram Abiff but we
not only represent him, we physically become him in the degrees and in the end
we all end up a “Widow’s Son”. Becoming a Master Mason we all end up being
builders of fantastic edifices of hearts, minds and souls.
So brethren, I ask you, “Who is the Widow’s Son?”
Look in the mirror brothers and you will surely see him.
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