By Gerald (Jerry) L. Carver
Senior Grand Warden
During my visits to many different Lodges in our Grand Jurisdiction, I have often been asked by some of our newer brethren “Who was Ornan the Jebusite and what was the Three Cornered Threshing Floor. So I have decided to focus on Ornan and his threshing floor in this Article.
Let us start with the three cornered threshing floor and begin by looking to the Holy Scriptures, the Great Light of Masonry for an answer. In the Book of I Chronicles, Chapter 21, beginning with verse 18, we find that God after having heard David’s plea to remove the pestilence that God had laid upon his people Israel due to David’s sin of disobedience by taking a census of the men of Israel sends a message to David: “Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and set up an altar unto the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” As we read on in I Chronicles Chapter 22 verse 1, we discover that after David purchased the property from Ornan, he plans to build God’s house (Temple) on the same location ”Then David said, Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” As we continue reading through I Chronicles we learn that David was not permitted by God to build the Temple and that the responsibility of building the temple was given to his son Solomon. In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 3, verses 1, we find that Ornan’s threshing floor and the top of Mount Moriah are one and the same: “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite”. Therefore, the Three Cornered Threshing Floor was a field on the top of Mount Moriah where Solomon directed the building of the Temple. The three corners resulted from the top of the mount forming three corners instead of four.
According to the Coils Masonic Encyclopedia and various Bible commentaries, Jerusalem had been formally known as Jebus. Therefore, a Jebusite was a person from Jerusalem. According to these same sources, a threshing floor was a field where wheat and other grain crops were brought and laid out and the grain was separated from the shaft. So Ornan was a man from Jerusalem, who along with his sons threshed wheat and grain on a field on the top of Mount Moriah, which he owned and sold to David.
From the Bible and other sources, we know that never before, except at the building of the Tower of Babel, had such an assembly of so many talented Craftsmen from different lands been assembled to erect such a magnificent structure as the Temple on the former threshing field or floor on Mount Moriah. As we read further in the Holy Scriptures, we learn that the Temple was completed according to God’s plan and design unlike the Tower of Babel, which went forever unfinished because it was being built according to man’s plans and designs.
May we as Masons always build our Lodges and Lives in accordance with God’s designs and plans as the Great Temple was built. May we refrain from following our own prideful designs as those who attempted and failed to build a Tower to Heaven.
Source: Carver, Gerald L. “The Three Cornered Threshing Floor.” Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina. Aug. 2003. Web. 1 Mar. 2011. <http://www.scgrandlodgeafm.org/Essays/sgw082003.htm>.