The shamir (from shamira in Aramaic, meaning “like a flint stone”) was a supernatural organism or worm or a substance that had the power to cut through or disintegrate stone, iron and diamond. Solomon’s artisans reputedly used the Shamir in the construction of Solomon’s Temple.
The word “shamir” in biblical Hebrew was used in two senses: a) a penpoint made out of a hard substance (Jeremiah 17:1); or b) sharp thorns (Isaiah 5:6).
Each usage relates to the ability of the shamir to pierce hard surfaces.
An essential element in Solomon’s construction of the Temple was the miraculous shamir stonecutter. In instructing us how to make the permanent altar to G-d, the Torah says, “do not build it out of cut stone” (Ex. 20:22). Rashi comments on this verse that iron, the material of deadly weapons, should not be used to shape the stones of the Temple, the essence of which is peace.
Did King Solomon have access to sophisticated alien technology? What kind of device was able to cut through or disintegrate stone, iron and diamond thousands of years ago? Or was it a creature like no other?
A 17th-Century monk called de la Voye, from a Normandy monastery, who in 1666 had written a letter to a Lord Auzout describing his remarkable discovery. One day, de la Voye had found some of these very small, decidedly odd-looking creatures moving about incessantly inside some holes of their own making in an old wall, much of whose rocky composition had allegedly been eaten away and converted into dust by the devouring nature of the worms. When he pulled out some of them and examined them under a magnifying glass, the monk observed that they were each the size of a single barley corn (the very same description, intriguingly, as used in the Jewish holy books for the shamir).