Who Was Zabud?
By Companion Scott A. Schwartzberg, Guest Author
Submission to the General Grand Council Education Committee
Companion Scott A. Schwartzberg
As the Council I am a member of, Zabud Council No. 17, is named after Zabud, I was interested in finding out as much as I could on this figure found in multiple degrees.
Zabud is a given name, meaning “gift” or “bestowed”, and he is mentioned in the Bible once, in I Kings 4:5, the son of the priest Nathan, maybe a priest and a close friend and advisor to King Solomon. From this account, he has been inserted into degrees beyond the Blue Lodge.
In the degrees of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, Zabud is a character in several degrees. In the 6th degree, Intimate Secretary, the initiate for the degree plays Zabud, as he listens to a discussion between King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre about payment for the Temple. When the discussion gets heated, Zabud is uncovered and accused of being a spy, but soon exonerated. As King Solomon’s confidante, Zabud is made Intimate Secretary of the Kings. In the 7th degree, Provost and Judge, Zabud is one of the Judges appointed by Solomon to administer justice among the workers of the Temple. He takes his charge seriously and is fair to Hebrew and Phoenician workers alike. He does not side with his friend Naboth, who hired Phoenicians nor with Uriah, a worker who contends that Phoenicians are not worthy of working on the Temple. He makes his decisions based on the law itself, impartially.
In a Council of Royal and Select Masters of York Rite, we also encounter Zabud. In the degree of Select Master, the candidate represents Zabud, King Solomon’s trusted friend and advisor. He interprets a message from the King regarding an ‘open door’ when he is ready, literally rather than allegorically. As a result, he finds the door to the secret vault of our ancient Grand Masters open and imagines this is the sign for which he has been waiting. Zabud enters the room, and after much discussion, is made one of the 27 Select Masters working on the vault, while the sleeping guard is removed from the rolls in a dramatic fashion.
As Zabud features prominently in these early higher degrees, he is indeed an important figure to Freemasonry, and having our Council named in his memory is indeed an honor to this friend and advisor to King Solomon.