Beth-Sarim, which means “House of Princes” in the Hebrew language, was a handsome estate built in San Diego in 1930 by the Watchtower Society. Its history is variously represented by the Society.
Beth-Sarim was, according to a recent Society yearbook, built as a home for one of the Society’s presidents: “…a direct contribution was made for the purpose of constructing a house in San Diego for Brother Rutherford’s use.”
Did the Society, at an earlier date, give an entirely different purpose for constructing Beth-Sarim?
Yes. “…the purpose of acquiring that property and building the house was that there might be some tangible proof that there are those on earth today…who believe that faithful men of old will soon be resurrected by the Lord, be back on earth, and take charge of the visible affairs of earth.”
Did the Society actually believe that certain resurrected Old Testament saints would come back and live in Beth-Sarim?
Yes. “…those faithful men of old may be expected back from the dead any day now…in this expectation the house was built…it is now held in trust for the occupancy of those princes on their return.”
Yes. While it is true that Rutherford was to have “exclusive possession” of the house during his lifetime, it was also true that that possession was to be relinquished upon the soon anticipated arrival of “David,” “Joseph,” “Samuel,” etc. to the earth “for the express purpose of being used by those who are servants of Jehovah God.”
Page iii of the deed indicates other Society members could equally make use of the property “until the same be taken possession of by David or some of the other men herein named [from Hebrews chapter eleven] and this property and premises being dedicated to Jehovah and the use of his kingdom it shall be used as such forever.”
It is interesting to note that the Society later sold the house.