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The Green Lantern, Frodo and the Signet Ring of Solomon


In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let all who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!

One Ring to rule them all
One Ring to find them

One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them

Ok, this isn’t actually going to be about the Green Lantern or the Lord of the Rings.  The purpose of using those contemporary references is to show that the magical power of a certain ring isn’t really a new idea.  Around the same time that the fanciful tales of the New Testament were being written, there also existed another little story that is quite entertaining, yet nobody ever seems to talk about this story.  But it was probably just as popular then as the Green Lantern or the Lord of the Rings are today.

I’m not going to attempt to relay the entire story, which can be found in its entirety in The Testament of Solomon.  What I am going to focus on the introductory story of how King Solomon’s magic ring was used to build the Temple in Jerusalem.  I don’t recommend believing the story, just like I don’t recommend believing all the stories of the New Testament, but there is no reason why such a fun little story should not be enjoyed.  I highly recommend spending a half-hour or so reading the entire story, if one is interested.  As do all storytellers, I will also be exercising poetic license, which is on file at the Vatican, I think.  I hope you enjoy the story, because that’s what stories are for.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in the little town of Jerusalem, there lived a great king named Solomon, the son of David.  King Solomon was in the process of building a Temple for his deity, the Lord Sabaoth or the Lord of Hosts.  This was to be the biggest and most beautiful temple to ever be built.  The city was abuzz with activity as masons did mason stuff, carpenters did carpenter stuff, roofers did roofer stuff, plumbers did plumbing stuff and electricians did electrician stuff.  There is no telling how many men were working on the construction project, but King Solomon took a liking to one particular boy, the son of one of his foremen.

Solomon loved this boy so much that he paid him twice what other folks earned and gave him twice as much food as the other workers received.  Solomon noticed, however, that as each day passed, this boy seemed to get smaller and smaller, and weaker and weaker.  Solomon, being the wisest of all kings, said to the boy, “ Yo, what’s up?  You get paid twice as much as everyone else, you get twice as much food as everyone else, but you’re not growing stronger.  It even looks like you’re growing weaker every day.”

“Oh, King”, said the boy, “I’m having some personal problems at home and I just don’t know what to do.”

The king said, “Well, maybe I can help.  Tell me what is going on.”

The boy then relayed his story of woe to the great king.  Every evening as he would lie down to rest, a fierce demon would pay him a visit, eat half his food, take half his pay and would suck the boy’s thumb.  “And lo, my soul is oppressed, and so my body waxes thinner every day,” he said.

This upset King Solomon, as he really liked this boy, so he went to the Temple construction site and prayed to his deity, who heard his plea.  An angel named Michael paid Solomon a visit with this message:

“Take, O Solomon, king, son of David, the gift which the Lord God has sent thee, the highest Sabaoth.  With it thou shalt lock up all demons of the earth, male and female; and with their help thou shalt build up Jerusalem. Wear this seal of God. And this engraving of the seal of the ring sent thee is a Pentalpha.”

Solomon was pleased with this new gift that would give him dominion over all the demons of the earth.  The next day, while the boy was working on the construction site, Solomon approached him with a plan.  The boy was to take this magic ring home with him and wait for the demon to visit as he did every night.  When the demon appeared, he was to thrust the ring into the demon’s chest and say, “King Solomon summons you.”  Then he was to return to Solomon at once and the demon would follow.  He was warned that this demon would try to fool him into letting him go, but he was to ignore whatever the demon said, and return straightway to the king.

So that’s exactly what the boy did.  He went home to rest and waited on the demon’s visit.  Like clockwork, the demon appeared and approached the boy, but as he did, the boy thrust out his arm and touched the magic ring to the demon’s chest and said, “Solomon summons you!”  He then took off running to the king.  Keeping up with him every step of the way was this fierce demon, begging him to remove the seal from his chest.  He promised the boy silver and gold if he would just let him go.   Remembering what he had been told, the boy ignored the demon and went directly to see the king.

When King Solomon heard that the boy was coming, he stepped into the hall directly outside his court.  As the boy approached, Solomon saw this demon following closely.  When the demon saw the king he began to tremble and shake.

“What is your name?”, demanded the king.

“I am called Ornias,” said the demon.

The king asked, “Which sign of the zodiac controls you?”

“I am controlled by the water-bearer,” replied the demon.  “I strangle those men born under the sign of Aquarius, whose lusts burn for women born under the sign of Virgo.  I can take the form of a woman and appear to men in their sleep, and fondle them.  I can also appear as a lion and I am called upon by all the demons.  I am an offspring of the archangel Uriel.”

Solomon, now knowing the demon’s name, his purpose and the angel from which he came, now had  control over the demon.  The king then charged this demon, Ornias, with cutting the stones for the Temple.

“Let me go free,” Ornias offered, “and I will bring you all the demons.”

Solomon called out for the archangel Uriel who appeared, and brought along the great sea serpents Behemoth and Leviathan.  Uriel decreed that Ornias was to be subject to the great king.  Ornias was to cut the stones for the Temple AND bring all the demons before Solomon.  So that’s what Ornias did.

And that’s how the great King Solomon got the demons of the world to build the Temple in Jerusalem.

not The End

The Testament of Solomon

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “The Green Lantern, Frodo and the Signet Ring of Solomon

  1. I don’t know that this is relevant, but in C.S. Lewis’s “the Magician’s Nephew” and “The Last Battle” which chronicle the creation and destruction of Narnia, magic rings are used. In TMN, magic rings are the means by which ‘Sons of Adam’ and ‘Daughters of Eve’ first come to Narnia. Narnia is not yet created and Aslan appears and creates it, either because he already planned too, or in reaction to the children’s appearance.
    In TLB, The elder humans who first came to Narnia n ‘The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe’ are going to thier country estate to dig up the rings to use to return when they are suddenly pulled in.

    Posted by Deborah Johnson Ohlms | January 5, 2012, 6:36 pm
    • Interesting catch. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Tolkien and Lewis both developed these ideas from earlier Jewish and Christian traditions. It seems to have been a popular tradition in mystical texts.

      Perhaps it is also the origin of the symbolic Star of David.

      Posted by Xcntrik | January 8, 2012, 5:22 pm
  2. Smeagol want PREEEEEECIOUS!

    Amazing how many writings there are that never get mentioned by “official” religions. If this had made it into the official canon, Christians would be arguing that this story (with all its mix of magic and various mthologies) is absolute inerrant fact. One wonders if all the fundie falderol over things like LOTR, Dungeons and Dragons etc. would exist in an alternate universe with this magical story in the official bible.

    Posted by Beavis Christ | July 19, 2011, 4:43 pm
    • Jewish folklore is full of great little stories like these. Early Christian writings also contain wonderful such tales. But you just don’t see folks talking about them nowadays.

      Y’onna see something else interesting?

      Smeagol became Golem in LOTR, right?

      JRR Tolkien was a philologist. the golem is also a character from Jewish folklore.

      Ripped from: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Golem.html
      “In Jewish tradition, the golem is most widely known as an artificial creature created by magic, often to serve its creator. The word “golem” appears only once in the Bible (Psalms139:16). In Hebrew, “golem” stands for “shapeless mass.” The Talmud uses the word as “unformed” or “imperfect” and according to Talmudic legend, Adam is called “golem,” meaning “body without a soul” (Sanhedrin 38b) for the first 12 hours of his existence. The golem appears in other places in the Talmud as well. One legend says the prophet Jeremiah made a golem However, some mystics believe the creation of a golem has symbolic meaning only, like a spiritual experience following a religious rite.”
      See link for more.

      Posted by Xcntrik | July 19, 2011, 8:50 pm
      • Well, I never thought about Smeagol that way before. But in the LOTR literature, it is spelled “Gollum” if I remember correctly. But I bet there might be a connection with “golem” probably. Interesting!

        Posted by byroniac | July 23, 2011, 3:12 am

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