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called also the Holy Land on account of the sacred character of the events that have occurred there, is situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, stretching from Lebanon south to the borders of Egypt, and from the thirty-fourth to the thirty-ninth degrees of longitude. It was conquered from the Canaanites by the Hebrews under Joshua 1450 years B.C. They divided it into twelve Confederate States according to the Tribes. Saul united it into one kingdom, and David enlarged its territories. In 975 B.C., it was divided into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judea, the latter consisting of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the former of the rest of the Tribes. About 740 B.C., both kingdoms were subdued by the Persians and Babylonians, and after the captivity only the two Tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to rebuild the Temple. With Palestine, or the Holy Land, the mythical, if not the authentic, history of Freemasonry has been closely connected.
There stood, at one time, the Temple of Solomon, to which some writers have traced the origin of the Masonic Order; there fought the Crusaders, among whom other writers have sought, with equal boldness, to find the cradle of the Fraternity; there certainly the Order of the Templars was instituted, whose subsequent history has been closely mingled with that of Freemasonry; and there occurred nearly all the events of sacred history that, with the places where they were enacted, have been adopted as important Masonic symbols.
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