ma'-s'n: The translation of 4 Hebrew words: (1) charash
'ebhen, "graver of stone" (2 Sam 5:11); (2) (3) gadhar (2 Ki
12:12), charash qur (1 Ch 14:1), "maker of a wall (or hedge)";
(4) chatsabh, "a hewer or digger (of stones)" (1 Ch 22:2; Ezr
3:7). Lebanon still supplies the greater number of skilled
masons to Israel and Syria (see 2 Sam 5:11), those of Shweir
being in special repute.
See CRAFTS, II, 8; also ARCHITECTURE; BUILDING; GEBAL; HOUSE.
In the time of David
Of later times
2Ki 12:12; 22:6; 1Ch 14:1; Ezr 3:7
an artificer in stone. The Tyrians seem to have been specially
skilled in architecture (1 Kings 5:17, 18; 2 Sam.
art the Hebrews no doubt learned in Egypt (Ex. 1:11,
ruins of temples and palaces fill the traveller with
the present day.
And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and
hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD,
and for all that was laid out for the house to repair [it].
And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of
the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and
carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as
wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the LORD.
And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar
trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an
They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters;
and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them
of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of
Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of
cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.
And David commanded to gather together the strangers that
[were] in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought
stones to build the house of God.
Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber
and hewn stone to repair the house.
Expert masons have always been in demand in Bible lands through the years. The building of house walls and terrace walls usual1y called for stone or brick. This trade is of interest to the student of Scripture because of the numerous illustrative references to it in the Bible.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
In building foundations it is important to get down to rock or otherwise the shrinkage and expansion due to the summer heat and the winter rains will do damage to the construction. JESUS tells of a good mason who "digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock" (Luke 6:48). Deep trenches are dug, and filled with stone and lime, and this is allowed to settle all it will. All this being below the surface of the ground is invisible afterwards, and therefore it is considered a lack of courtesy for one man to build upon another man's foundation, as Paul mentions (Romans 15:20). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
The cornerstone is another important part of the mason's work of which Scripture speaks. When the first layer of oblong stones is laid on the foundation, a broad square stone is selected for each corner where two walls meet. A thinner square block is usually put at each corner of the top rows of stones where the roof-beams are to rest. When trimming the oblong stones forming the bulk of the walls, it is easy for the mason to pass by the stone suitable for the cornerstone because of its uninviting shape. Thus the Psalmist said: "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner" (Psalm 118:22). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
The plumbline is composed of a small inverted lead cone which is fastened by a cord to a cylindrical piece of wood made of the same diameter. The mason puts the wood to the newly set stone, and the suspended lead should barely touch the wall. To be a permanent one, every wall must stand the test of the plumbline. The prophet Amos compared the LORD's test of Israel to the mason's use of a plumbline. "Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel" (Amos 7:8). The prophet Ezekiel describes a man making use of a measuring reed (Ezekiel 40:3). This was used by a mason in laying the foundation and in the construction of the walls. It is a straight cane around twenty feet long, and is used to measure wall spaces, especially between windows and doors. Sometimes a shorter reed is also used. The prophets said of the LORD, "I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria" (II Kings 21:13). Evidently this was a leveling line which was strung from stones at each end of the wall being built. It was used in conjunction with the plumbline. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]