The Ancient Book of Jasher – Introduction

Before we begin Chapter 4, which talks about Cain and Abel, I want to tell you about the Book of Jasher.  It is in Chapter 4 that I will start quoting from this awesome book so it might be helpful if you know what it is.

What is the Book of Jasher?

The book of Jasher is one of 13 ancient history books that are recommended reading by the Bible.  Out of these 13 books only Jasher is still in existence.  If we are to believe the text itself, this history book was written over 3,500 years ago.  It is approximately the same age as the biblical book of Genesis.  It covers about the same time period of Genesis and Exodus but has about twice as much information in it than Genesis.  It answers a lot of questions raised in Genesis.

How can we be sure this is the real Jasher and not a forgery from the Middle Ages?

There have been at least two forgeries.  One is an ethical essay from the Middle Ages and does not currently exist in English.  A second forgery was published in 1829 AD, supposedly translated by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus.  These two are nowhere near the caliber of this book of Jasher and both are missing the information that Scripture tells us is in the real book of Jasher.  This is the only Jasher that corresponds to what Scripture says it contains.

Much of the extra information contained in Jasher can also be found in the Babylonian Talmud, the Mishnah, and Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews.  There are numerous quotes showing Rabbi Eliazar used this book of Jasher extensively in the first century AD.  The Mishnah was completed about 200 AD, and the Talmud about 800 AD.  We can know for a fact that the Mishnah and Talmud used this book of Jasher as a source document and not the other way around.  Also, since the Ancient Seder Olam was written in about 169 AD and references Jasher, we know the book of Jasher was used by other historians in the second century AD.

What does the bible say about the Book of Jasher?

Scripture records the event where God caused the sun to stand still until Joshua and his men finished defeating the Amorites.  This was such an incredible event the author of the book of Joshua explains it must be true because it is also recorded in the Book of Jasher.  This tells us two things.  First, the original book of Jasher is older than the book of Joshua; and second, Scripture recommends we read this particular history book.

Joshua 10:12-14: “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”  So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies.  Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?  So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.  And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”

     Jasher 88:63-64: “…and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies…. And the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day.  And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of man, for the Lord fought for Israel.”

The reference to Jasher in Second Samuel occurs where David is lamenting over the death of Saul.

2 Samuel 1:17-18:  “Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, and he told them to teach the children of Judah the ‘Song of the Bow’; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher:..”

This passage refers to the time when Jacob lay dying and called his sons together to prophesy over them.  This event is recorded in Genesis 49 but this specific command of Jacob to Judah is not recorded in Scripture but in the Ancient Book of Jasher as we are told in this passage.  Jasher 56:9  “only teach thy sons the use of the bow and all weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his enemies.”  

Paul names the two magicians who withstood Moses: Jannes and Jambres.  This event is recorded in Exodus 7:8-13; but the names of the magicians are never given in the Old Testament.  Paul knew their names and other details about them from other Hebrew sources.  One of these is the Ancient Book Of Jasher.

2 Timothy 3:8-9:  ‘Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

Jasher 79:27, 36:  “And when they had gone Pharaoh sent for Balaam the magician and to Jannes and Jambres his sons, and to all the magicians and conjurors and counsellors which belonged to the king, and they all came and sat before the king … And Aaron hastened and threw the rod out of his hand before Pharaoh and before his servants, and the rod turned into a serpent.”

The Ancient Seder Olam is another Hebrew history book (not mentioned in Scripture) that dates from about 169 AD.  It records the Rabbi Eliezer was the most accurate when figuring dates and festivals because he used the Ancient Book of Jasher as the best source for his history.  This tells us Jasher was in use and very well known in the first century AD.

Why isn’t the Book of Jasher in the Bible?

The Book of Jasher was never considered to be inspired of God.  It is simply an accurate history book.  Even though it is recommended reading by Scripture, we must never think that it equals Scripture.

Who was Jasher?

     The word Jasher is not a proper name, but a Hebrew word meaning “upright”.  Many through the centuries have referred to this book as the “Book of the Upright”.

The Hebrew Calendar

The Christian calendar dates from the birth of Christ.  If the calendar has not been corrupted, the year 2008 AD would mean Jesus Christ was born 2,008 years ago.  The Hebrew Calendar dates from the creation of the world.  The Christian year of 2008 AD corresponds to 5768 AM on the Jewish calendar.  The abbreviation “AM” stands for “Anno Mundi,” which means the “Year of the World:” just as “AD” stands for “Anno Domini”, which means “in the year of our Lord”.

So, if the Jewish calendar has not been corrupted, then the spring of 2008 AD was 5,768 years after Creation.  Most fundamentalist Christians believe the Jewish calendar is off by at least 168 years.  This, however, is outside the scope of this work.  All the dates in this Book of Jasher date from Creation to the Jewish people entering into the Promised Land.  It only covers the first 2,516 years of human history.

 

For your information, I will reference the approximate AM year in this blog where I can.

Discovering this Book of Jasher has me in awe everytime I open it and read it’s history in reference to the events of the bible.  I pray that these references will add as much joy to your heart as it has mine.

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