Various etymologies of this word are found; as a mystic word it may be deliberately obscure, though the first syllable is invariably given as being Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’. Some theories often cited:
- First, that it is a compound of יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + בּעל (bul) ‘on high, in heaven’ + אוֹן (’on) ‘strength’. Reference: The Rev’d Canon Richard Tydeman, An Address to Grand Chapter (of England), 13th November 1985.
- Second, that it may have been a blend of Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + זְבוּלוּן (Zəbūlūn) ‘Zebulun or Zabulon, son of Jacob’.
- Third, it is explained as being a combination of Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + בּעל (bul) ‘Baal’, + אוֹן (’On) ‘On’ (a city of Egypt, explained as a reference to Osiris, perhaps as a misunderstanding of Genesis 46:20).
- Stephen Knight in The Brotherhood and Martin Short in Inside the Brotherhood argued that Jahbulon is a trinity consisting of Yahweh, God of the Jews, Baal, God of the Phoenicians and Celts, and Osiris, an Egyptian God.
- Hyphenation: Jah‧bul‧on
- (Freemasonry) A symbolic or ceremonial name for God associated by some writers with certain Masonic rites or passwords.
1875, Charles William Heckethorn, Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries:
- To this name, as the Royal Arch Masons to that of Jabulon, they attributed the most wonderful powers; and it could only be the subject of silent but pleasing contemplation, for its pronunciation was said to make earth and heaven tremble, and even the angels of heaven to quake with fear.
1984, Stephen Knight, The Brotherhood:
- In the ritual of exaltation, the name of the Great Architect of the Universe is revealed as JAH-BUL-ON – not a general umbrella term open to any interpretation an individual Freemason might choose, but a precise designation that describes a specific supernatural being – a compound deity composed of three separate personalities fused in one.
1987, Martin Bernal, Black Athena:
- For the Masons, as for the Hermeticists, the name of the Hidden God was too sacred or magically powerful to be revealed even to the lower grades, the craft. This name was Jahbulon, and—not surprisingly—it is a triple name, its first two syllables being Ja for Yahwe, the God of Israel, and Bul for the Canaanite Baʿal.
- 2001, Gareth J Medway, Lure of the Sinister :
- “JAH-BUL-ON” was laid out on an altar that also displayed the Hebrew letters aleph, beth, and lamed (A, B, L).
2003, Leon Davin, The Ritual:
- The complexity of the ceremonies in the Craft and the inclusion of the now defunct key word ‘jahbulon’ in Chapter, which I believe was the ultimate Masons word, means that the authors of Freemasonry in the 18th century were extremely well informed as to the importance and contents of the Rosslyn Chapel.
- 2004, Ralph Ellis, Eden in Egypt, :
- Thus, the final translation of the masonic god-name Jahbulon or Yahbulon could well be ‘Thoth, Lord of Heliopolis’, or perhaps even the ‘Thoth Pyramid of Heliopolis’.