Bearing in mind the strength and beauty of the cedar trees of Lebanon, it is little wonder that King Solomon, our ancient Grand Master, in constructing the Temple around which all Masonic Ritual revolves, asked that Hiram, King of Tyre, “hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon” (1 Kings 5: 6). We know from the biblical text that Hiram responded by “[giving] Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire” (1 Kings 5: 10) and that the trees were felled and prepared in the forests of Lebanon, carried by sea in floats to Joppa, and from thence by land to Jerusalem, in order to build and adorn the Temple. When the building was completed, of course, it bore resemblance to the handy workmanship of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.
Such is the importance of the cedar trees of Lebanon in Scripture and in our Ritual, relative to the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Even though “trees that are [hewn] for building by art are made to differ from those which abide in the wood[s],“ as John Bunyan writes in describing Solomon’s Temple Spiritualized, the cedar trees of Lebanon in their natural state have a beauty which is awe-inspiring and reflective of the majesty of God. I would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to everyone desirous to visit the actual cedars in Lebanon, some of which date back thousands of years. Reflecting upon the cedars of Lebanon and that one tree which stood high above us that March day providing shade at Mount Vernon, I can do no better than close with the following short poem written by a Masonic Brother: