Page 15 - Education Programs
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                                                Author Unknown

                                                  Short Talk Bulletin: August 1930

The wages which our ancient brethren received for their labors in the building of King Solomon’s
Temple are paid no more. In the lodge we use them as symbols, save in the dedication, constitution
and consecration of a new lodge and in the laying of cornerstones when once again the fruit of the
land, the brew of the grape and the essence of the olive are poured to launch a new unit of
brotherhood into the fellowship of lodges; or to begin a new structure dedicated to the public use.

Corn, wine and oil have been associated together from the earliest times. In Deuteronomy the
“nation of fierce countenance” which is to destroy the people “shall not leave thee either corn,
wine or oil.” In II Chronicles we read “the children of Israel brought in abundance the first fruits
of corn, wine and oil.” Nehemiah tells of “a great chamber where aforetime they laid the meat
offerings, the frankincense and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine and the oil”
and later “then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn, the new wine and the oil into the treasures.”
There are other references in the Great Light to these particular forms of taxes, money and tithes
for religious purposes; wealth and refreshment. In ancient days the grapes in the vineyard and
olives in the grove and the grain of the field were not only wealth but the measure of trade; so
many skins of wine, so many cruses of oil, and so many bushels of corn were to them as are dollars
and cents today. Thus our ancient brethren received wages in corn, wine and oil as a practical
matter; they were paid for their labors in the coin of the realm.

The oil pressed from the olive was as important to the Jews in Palestine as butter and other fats are
among occidentals. Because it was so necessary, and hence so valuable, it became an important
part of sacrificial rites. There is no point in the sacrifice which is only a form. To be effective it
must offer before the Altar something of value; something the giving of which will testify to the
love and veneration in which the sacrificer holds the Most High. Oil was also used not only as a
food but for lighting purposes; more within the house than in the open air, where torches were
more effective. Oil was also an article of the bath; mixed with perfume it was used in the
ceremonies of anointment, and in preparation for ceremonial appearances. The “Precious ointment
upon the head, which ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down to the skirts
of his garment;” as the quotation has it in our entered Apprentice Degree, (and Nevada’s Master
Mason opening and closing) was doubtless made of olive oil, suitably mixed with such perfumes
and spices as myrrh, cinnamon, galbanum and frankincense. Probably oil was also used as a
surgical dressing; nomadic peoples, subject to injuries, could hardly avoid knowledge of the value
of soothing oil. With so many uses for oil, its production naturally was stimulated. Not only was
the production of the olive grove a matter of wealth, but the nourishing and processing of the oil
gave employment to many. Oil was obtained from the olive both by pressing - probably by a stone
wheel revolving in or on a larger stone, mill or mortar - and also by a gentle pounding. This hand
process produced a finer quality of oil. “And thou shalt command the children of Israel that they
bring pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” (Exodus, 27-20.)

The corn of the Bible is not the corn we know today. In many, if not the majority of the uses of
the word, a more understandable translation would be simply “grain.” The principal grains of the
Old Testament days were barley and wheat; corn represents not only both of these, but all the
grains which the Jews cultivated. Our modern corn, cultivated and cross-bred was, of course,

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