In ancient times the best masons were from Phoenicia (2 Sam 5:11; 1 Chron 14:1). David and Solomon used foreign artisans from that country (2 Sam 5:11; 1 Chron 22:2). Palestine abounds in limestone of a quality suitable for building material. The greatest examples of the mason’s skill were found in Jerusalem, Megiddo, and Samaria; but it is possible that they were built by Phoen. workmen. In NT times the most magnificent building made of stone was Herod’s Temple. Herod erected many magnificent public buildings in various parts of his kingdom, and even in cities outside his dominion.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ma’-s’n: The translation of 4 Hebrew words:
(1) charash ’ebhen, "graver of stone" (2Sa 5:11);
(2) (3) gadhar (2Ki 12:12), charash qur (1Ch 14:1), "maker of a wall (or hedge)";
(4) chatsabh, "a hewer or digger (of stones)" (1Ch 22:2; Ezr 3:7).
Lebanon still supplies the greater number of skilled masons to Palestine and Syria (see 2Sa 5:11), those of Shweir being in special repute.
See CRAFTS, II, 8; also ARCHITECTURE; BUILDING; GEBAL; HOUSE.