[ Companions in Royal Arch Masonry have been told about Zerubbabel and the building of the second temple. Sufficient details about Zerubbabel are practically not known to most of the Companions. Ex. Comp. Byron E.Hams in this exceedingly well written paper has provided to all of us very many significant details, which we are sure will provide considerable enlightenment to the Companions of the Order. Please read on …]
Ex.Comp. Byron E. Hams, PHP
The executive, to perform or to cause others to perform effectively, must possess numerous qualities and abilities. These include clarity of vision, an analytical mind, and determination combined with flexibility; as well as the ability to lead and inspire others. The executive must clearly see the goal to be attained, the obstacles likely to hinder its attainment, and the methods needed to overcome them. Determination provides the will to overcome such obstacles, while the executive must work through others, the ability to direct, lead, and inspire others becomes a prime requirement of the effective executive.
Zerubbabel demonstrated executive ability in rebuilding the Temple after the first return from the Babylonian captivity.
Zerubbabel, whose name means "Born at Babylon", was either the son of Shealtiel or the son of Shealtiel's brother, Pedaiah. In either case, he was the grandson of Johoiachin, King of Judah. This made him the legal successor of Johoiachin and heir to the throne, as well as heir to leadership of the tribe of Judah. Those who consider him the son of Pedaiah believe that Shealtiel, the elder of the two brothers, died without an heir, and had adopted Zerubbabel as his son.
Zerubbabel‘s status in the tribe of Judah at the time of the first return from Babylon remains unclear, because of another dispute about his identity. Probably Sheahbazzar, described as "Prince of Judah", whom Cyrus appointed as Persian governor of Jerusalem, and Zerubbabel were identical, with Sheshbazzar the Babylonian name of Zerubbabel. Some, however, contend that Sheahbazzar was Zerubbabel's Uncle.
If they were not identical, Zerubbabel clearly accompanied Sheshbazzar in the first return, and held a position of authority among the exiles. With Joshua, the High Priest, Zerubbabel set up an altar for burnt offerings, kept the Feast of Tabernacles, and began the rebuilding of the Temple. Zerubbabel had become governor at some time within the next 15 years. The first chapter of Haggai states that in the second year of Darius as King of Persia, the Lord spoke through Haggai to Zerubbabel, "the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, etc".
The first effort to rebuild the Temple ended in failure. Samaritans opposed the project, because the returned exiles excluded them from it. These received support from local Persian officials who saw the newly arrived exiles as threats to their position and security. Cyrus' death and the succession struggles in Persia that followed it increased the problem. The returned Jews also lost much of their enthusiasm for the project after these obstacles developed, and began to concentrate on personal concerns, such as building costly homes for themselves.
In the second year of Darius' reign, 520 B.C., Haggai called for work on the Temple to be resumed. Zerubbabel and Joshua responded to Haggai's call. Under their leadership, the work began within three weeks of Haggai's call. The effort and diligence applied to the work were such that within four weeks from the start, the general character of the new structure had become discernible. It required only four years to complete the Temple.
The rebuilding of the Temple insured Zerubbabel's place in history.
Biblical historians refer to the second Temple as "Zerubbabel's Temple". The first is Solomon's Temple and the third is "Herod's Temple"-indicating Zerubbabel's importance in its construction. It was about a third larger than Solomon's Temple, but lacked the latter's splendor and ornamentation. It stood, more or less intact, until 20 B.C., when Herod began to rebuild it as the third Temple.
The significance of Zerubbabel's effort lay in the rapidity of the Temple's erection. The speed of construction resulted in large part from zeal of the builders, - a zeal arising from a great religious revival. But zeal requires direction to be effective. Zerubbabel provided that direction and his executive ability contributed much to the success of the project.
In Masonry Zerubbabel illustrates Loyalty to Conviction, Faithfulness to Duty, Devotion to Truth, and Determination to Fulfill the Obligations of these Virtues. The lessons particularly emphasize Truth, and Teach that Truth is the strongest force affecting Mankind. Truth, supported by dedication to conviction and steadfast commitment to duty, will ultimately prevail. Implicit in this is the need for executive ability to translate Loyalty, Faithfulness, and Devotion to Truth, into Effective Action.
As Zerubbabel stood for Truth supported by Dedication to Conviction and Steadfast Commitment to Duty, we are here to Honor Zerubbabel and show our Dedication to the Truths he stood for.