In a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Scribe sits as 3rd in command following the King and High Priest. The Scribe represents the Prophet Haggai who, during the exaltation of the Royal Arch degree is dressed in a purple robe and turban. The jewel of the Scribe is the plumb surmounted by a turban which is an emblem of rectitude and vigilance. From what we learn in the Blue Lodge, the plumb reminds us to guard against intemperance and excess not only for ourselves, but our Companions as well.
Haggai was a Prophet during the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which is a central legend of Royal Arch Masonry, and the author of the Book of Haggai. Haggai is the Hebrew language that translates to "my holiday". Of his personal life, little is known except that he was in a Levite, but according to Albert Mackey, Haggai was born during the Babylonian captivity and was a young man at the time of liberation by Cyrus though Ray Denslow differs in that Haggai was old by the time the rebuilding of the Temple had started. According to the 6th Chapter of the Book of Ezrah, Haggai was instrumental in invigorating the Jewish people into rebuilding the Temple.
In Canada and England, Royal Arch Masons use the term "Third Principle" rather than "Scribe", but the American use of Scribe hails back to Haggai who would have served as the scribe, or secretary, of the Grand Council charged with rebuilding the Temple. The very etymology of scribe is rooted in the Latin word "scriba" meaning "keeper of accounts, secretary, writer" which is applicable to the duties of Haggai. Historically, scribes have also been used as notaries, copyists, interpreters of law (lawyers or judges), accountants, ministers, and journalists. Much of ancient history was recorded by a scribe, by one name or another. In some instances, scribes were considered a part of the royal court, performing the previously described duties for monarchs, as would have been the case for Haggai.
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