Hiram, King of Tyre
Oct 20, 2004
Author: Boyd Rice
The Phoenician city of Tyre is most well-known from the legendary tale of its siege by Alexander the Great. When Alexander decided to capture Tyre, he had a string of victories under his belt, and seemed an unstoppable force. But even his staunchest supporters questioned the wisdom of trying to take a city as mighty as Tyre. Conventional wisdom deemed Tyre as virtually unconquerable, as it was situated on an island surrounded by a turbulent sea. It had been a powerful city-state for centuries, and was a place viewed by outsiders with a kind of mythic awe. This, of course, made Alexander all the more determined to succeed in his quest. So his soldiers put aside their swords, and spent the next seven months constructing a land bridge out to the island. The Tyrians, who had ruled the seas for nearly a thousand years, were out of their element in a land battle.
Having taken Tyre, Alexander ordered the construction of 2000 crosses upon which the vanquished males would be crucified. The crosses were placed along the shore so as to be visible across the waters. 30,000 men, women and children were sold into slavery. Alexander’s measures were generally not so harsh, but the Tyrians had offended him. He had been on his way to Egypt, and merely wanted to visit the Temple of Melqart in Tyre to make a sacrifice. When he was refused access, he became angry. And the rest, as they say, is history,
This is perhaps the most famous episode in the life of Alexander, a man whose life was an endless strong of spectacular dramas. Alexander claimed to be the son of God, and to the Macedonians, who worshipped Hercules, the Herculean task of building a causeway through the sea to Tyre must have seemed like something right out of their myths and legends. The feat still astounds historians to this very day, and to this very day that same land bridge connects Tyre to the coast. Unfortunately, Alexander’s spectacular triumph has tended to overshadow a far more astounding aspect of the story of Tyre: that the very island to which Alexander’s army built a connecting bridge was itself man-made.
The Tyrian Phoenicians were a sea people, and when their most famous king decided to build himself a palace, he chose to build it on the sea. In order to do this, he had first to construct an island on which to build it. Historians speculate that an undertaking of such grand proportions must have kept thousands of people busy for many years. But when the island was completed, it became the center of the ancient world for centuries. Had the Tyrians not snubbed Alexander the Great, it’s likely that their power would have continued to grow exponentially.
The sea king at whose command Tyre was built was Hiram, most well-known for his role in building the Temple of Solomon. The reason for building a palace on an island seems to be part strategic and part symbolic. From the strategic point of view, a man-made island has far more disadvantages than advantages. Food and water had to be imported since the island was solid rock. But the Phoenicians were legendary traders, and this seems not to have constituted too great a difficulty. And for centuries, their isolation afforded the Tyrians a degree of security unknown to their neighbors. In symbolic terms, the sea seems to have been central to the religious beliefs of these people. Their principle gods were connected to the sea. They worshipped the sea god Melqart (the son of Poseidon), and Baal (son of the fish-god Dagon).
Baal, as son of Dagon, was a patron deity of mariners. He is depicted as having the horns of a bull, symbolism which links him to the notorious Quinotaur that purportedly fathered the race of Merovingians. Jurgen Sparruth , in Atlantic of the North, says:
“Schachermeyr has pointed out the importance which the sacrifice of bulls had in the cult of Poseidon. This god was worshipped as ‘bull-formed’, and in that shape he inhabited rivers and seas. One is reminded of the legend of the Elbstier, the bull who lives in the mouth of the river Elbe, and in his rage arouses the flood; or of the story that the ancestor of the Merovingian kings was a sea-monster in the shape of a bull.”
Worship of Baal was so central to the sea peoples that his name was often attached to the names of their city-states. For instance, Tyre, Sidon and Hazon were once called Baal-Tyre, Baal-Sidon, and Baal-Hazon. His consort Asarte was known as “our lady of the sea.” Her cult is thought to have been transposed onto the Mary cult of Southern France. Interestingly, history records seven or eight crucified messiahs, all born of virgin births, and each having a mother named Mary (or some derivation thereof). Christ had both a mother and a wife named Mary.
Melqart is also a sea god, and strangely, is also deemed to be a consort of Astarte. In Hebrew tradition, he is Lord of the Underworld. Melqart is depicted on ancient coinage as riding on a sea horse. He is thought to be a derivation of the Akkadian god of the underworld, Nergal, and later became synchronized with the Roman Hercules. At first glance, the addition of Melqart to the Divine Couple of Baal and Astarte may seem to constitute an unlikely trinity; yet some observers speculate that Melqart was perceived as an alternate manifestation of Baal - essentially an evil twin of sorts. This seems consistent with what is known of the two. Baal lives atop a mountain, whereas Melqart dwells in the underworld. Baal is the patron deity of mariners, while Melqart is the god of storms and the sea. The Baal/Melqart hypothesis is certainly logical, and would explain how Astarte was viewed as a consort to both gods. Further evidence in support of this hypothesis is that Melqart is assumed to be synonymous with the Babylonian/Akkadian Marduk or Merodach. Marduk was also known under the name “Bel”, which as you might well guess, equates with “Baal.” The sea peoples carried the idea of Baal/Bel to the British Isles, where he was known as “Belenus.” Celts celebrated his festival, known as “Beltane”, on May 1.
King Hiram seems to have made a conscious effort to manipulate the archetype embodied in the Phoenician gods, so that he himself appeared to be a flesh and blood incarnation or extension of them. His throne sat before large windows opening upon the sea and crashing waves. Visitors to his palace may well have thought they’d entered the domain of Poseidon himself. That Hiram’s status as a god-king was well-established at the time is evidenced by his inclusion as such in the Bible. In Ezekiel, Jehovah himself speaks to King Hiram, saying: “Thou hast said I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas....” Jehovah, a very jealous and angry God, would ordinarily smite whoever tried to usurp his authority, yet here he doesn’t seem the least displeased. Elsewhere in Ezekiel, he even says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God... Thou wast perfect in thy ways...” Why would the god of the Old Testament say such a thing to a Phoenician king? And why would Jehovah be so well-disposed to a man who erected temples to sea gods and proclaimed himself to be a god? The answer is simple: Hiram, like Solomon, was a descendant of King David; a fact that must have been common knowledge at the time Ezekiel was written.(1) Most historians present Hiram and Solomon as being from different nations, different cultures, and different races - in fact, they were relatives. What’s more, a direct descendant of King Hiram was Joseph of Tyre, better known as St. Joseph, the father of Christ.(2) If Hiram’s role as Christ’s ancestor has been glossed over by compilers of the Bible, it’s probably because he was too legendary a figure, and his religious views too well-known to overlook or explain away. Consequently, his role was marginalized so as not to muddy the theological waters.
Many authors, both occultists and straightforward historians, maintain that Hiram of Tyre is synonymous with Hiram Abiff of Masonic legend. One theory says that Hiram Abiff is a code name and simply means “Hiram who has vanished.” Could King Hiram be that Hiram who has vanished? Did Hiram vanish essentially from Christ’s genealogy because his strange beliefs might give too much insight into the genuine tradition in which this dynasty was rooted?
We know that Solomon put statues of Astarte in his temple. We are told that Solomon, in doing this, was simply “corrupted” by one of his many wives, who came from a place where such worship was common. And yet, Hiram too erected a temple to Astarte. This is not, as modern historians will tell you, merely indicative of goddess worship. Astarte was worshipped in conjunction with Baal, and was perceived both as his consort, and as an emanation of him. Many early religions were based on the concept of a Divine Couple, the most famous example being Isis and Osiris. Even the Judaic El was once part of a Divine Couple, his consort being Asherat. Asherat, of course, is synonymous with Astarte, and El mutated into Baal. In light of this we can see that even as the patriarchal Jehovah was gaining a stranglehold on the hearts and minds of his emerging cult, Hiram and Solomon remained true to the more ancient tradition of the divine couple. Rather than being heretics or eccentrics, they were purists maintaining a tradition in its original form. Church elders, in order to forever banish the Divine Couple concept, later changed references to “Astarte” to “Ashtoreth”, thereby changing the female consort of God into a male demon.
Solomon’s famous Temple, built by Hiram, is so well-known for its pillars of Jachin and Boaz (representing creative force and destructive force, respectively) that one would assume that it was wholly unique. In fact, it was patterned on three temples that existed on Tyre: one for Baal, one for Astarte, and one for Melqart. All three had the duel pillars of Jachin and Boaz. This lead one author, Gerhard Herm, to conclude that the Jachin/Boaz concept central to the cabala was of purely Phoenician origin, and had no “connection to any part of Jewish liturgy.” Similar pillars were found at the Temple of Baal on Cyprus, and in Samaria, Megiddo, and Hazor. The descriptions of such pillars are invariably identical: Jachin is covered with gold and Boaz is covered with some emerald-colored material. Such descriptions also mention that the emerald pillar “shone brightly at night.” This bizarre-seeming observation has lead to the speculation that the emerald pillar may have been constructed out of some kind of green glass tube in which there was a flame.
At any rate, it is clear that Hiram and Solomon were followers of the same basic doctrine. They employed the pillars of Jachin and Boaz for the same reason they refused to abandon the principle of the divine couple: both represented the dual nature of God. This is probably the same reason that the royal colors of the Merovingian kings were gold and green, a reminder of the true doctrine of their forebears, and the knowledge that perfect power comes from the equilibrium between mildness and severity.
Addendum: God the Father
The gods of the Tyrians are interesting insofar as they represent a stage in the evolution between what had come before and what eventually came after. On the one hand they were patterned after far more ancient deified kings; on the other hand, they obviously served as the prototypes for the deities of later cultures such as the Greeks and Romans. For instance, Melqart, patterned upon Marduk, was known as the “Tyrian Hercules”, and later became synchronized with Hercules. The father of Hercules was Zeus, that of Marduk, Dagon. It follows then that Zeus and Dagon represent different incarnations (or representations) of the same figure. This premise seems to be substantiated by the fact that Zeus was also known as “Dyaus”, and Dagon was also known as Daonos, two names so similar as to imply a common origin for the two. Dagon was likewise known as “Daos”, from which we probably derive the word “Deus”, or “God.” Furthermore, Zeus was at times referred to as “Diu-Pater”, which served as the basis for the Roman Jupiter. “Diu-Pater” translates simply as “God the Father.” Though a title such as God the Father isn’t paid too much serious attention in modern times, it could well indicate an important aspect of how the ancients viewed the notion of deity. This is to say, perhaps they viewed God, not as any sort of supernatural being, but rather as an ancestor.
(1) Editor’s note: It seems impossible that Hiram could have been a descendant of King David, as they both reigned at the same time. Hiram is recorded in II Samuel 5:11 as having assisted David in the building of the Temple, which was later finished with Hiram’s help by David’s son Solomon.
(2) Editor’s note: This claim came from the book Rex Deus, by Mary Hopkins, Graham Simmans, and Tim Wallace-Murphy. Its origin beyond that is unknown.