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Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams


The Book of Jasher (also spelled Jashar; Hebrew: סֵפֶר הַיׇּשׇׁר sēfer hayyāšār), which means the Book of the Upright or the Book of the Just Man, is a book mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, often interpreted as a lost non-canonical book. Numerous forgeries purporting to be rediscovered copies of this lost book have been written. A different interpretation identifies it as a reference to the Pentateuch, an interpretation which is notably favoured by the Jewish scholar Rashi in his commentary on the Hebrew Bible (see here-below his commentary on Joshua).


The King James Version of the English Bible includes the words "the use of" in italics, material which its translator(s) added in order to render the text into what they considered understandable and comfortable English. According to some other translations (such as the English Standard Version), David taught his Judeans "The Bow" (Hebrew: קָ֑שֶׁת, romanized: qāšeṯ), which they hypothesize was a poetic lament of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.[5] According to this interpretation, this "Bow" was a lament or a tune contained in the Book of Jashar which that book also says was taught to the Israelites.

A possible third reference appears in 1 Kings 8. In the Septuagint (though not in the Hebrew text or in most translations), verse 8:53 says that the preceding prayer of Solomon is written "in the book of song" (ἐν βιβλίῳ τῆς ᾠδῆς). The Hebrew version of "book of song" could be ספר השיר (sefer ha-shir), which is the same as "Sefer HaYashar" with two letters transposed. According to Alexander Rofeh, this suggests that the name of "Sefer HaYashar" could be related to its function as a book of song, and the second word of "Sefer HaYashar" might have originally been שיר (shir, "song") or ישיר (yashir, "he will sing").[7]

This is one of the apochrypal Books of Jasher. There are several (as many as five) separate works by this title, all composed much later than Biblical times. This particular one is a translation of a Hebrew book printed in 1613. Sepir Ha Yasher, the Hebrew title of this book, means the 'Book of the Upright', or 'the Upright or Correct Record'. This title was misread as 'Jasher', and at some point Jasher was treated as a proper name; however the pronoun 'the' (hebrew 'ha') never preceeds proper names.

Meaning, these texts were written around (or a little after) biblical events, may make mention of biblical events but are not considered part of the Bible. Some of these books include the Book of Enoch and The Book of Jubilees, among others.

But from what we do have, the Book of Jasher, similar to other apocryphal books, covers the events from the Creation through the death of Joshua. In essence, the books of the Pentateuch and a little beyond, with some contradictions and variations mentioned below.

Third, we have to realize that the writers of both the Old and New Testaments included references and sometimes quotes from extra-biblical sources. For instance, Paul quotes a Greek poet in Titus 1:12. The Old Testament writers make mention of other books such as the Book of Wars (Numbers 21:14), The Annals of King David (1 Chronicles 27:24), The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chronicles 33:19), etc.

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And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

We have not found the Book of Jasher, nor any other of the lost books mentioned in the Bible as yet; nor will we obtain them at present. Respecting the Apocrypha, the Lord said to us that there were many things in it which were not true, and to those who desire it, should be given by the Spirit to know the true from the false. [14]

What was this Book of Jasher being published in New York in 1840? It was the first printing of the English translation of an old Hebrew work entitled Sefer Hayasher. The work was first published in Hebrew in Venice, Italy, in 1625. [16] No known early or complete manuscripts for the book are extant, but one is mentioned in early Hebrew bibliographies as having been used by the first-edition printers. [17] It has been asserted that this work was first published in 1552 or 1613 in Naples, [18] but no known extant copy of such an edition has been found.

Abraham, the prophet of the Lord, was laid upon the lion bedstead for a slaughter; and the book of Jasher, which has not been disproved as a bad author, says he was cast into the fire of the Chaldees. [35]

Without a doubt, such a book plainly existed during biblical times, and it probably continued to be available throughout the period of the Judean kingdom. However, no further references to the "Book of Jasher" occur after the time of David.

The book that is available in English by that title today is not the same book. It is an eighteenth-century AD forgery that alleges to be a translation of the lost "Book of Jasher" by Alcuin, an eighth-century English scholar. A more recent English "translation" titled "The Book of Jashar" by science-fiction and fantasy writer Benjamin Rosenbaum is a complete work of fiction.

Another book by this same name, called by many "Pseudo-Jasher," while written in Hebrew, is also not the "Book of Jasher" mentioned in Scripture. It is a book of Jewish legends from the creation of humanity to the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, but scholars hold that it did not exist before AD 1625. In addition, there are several other theological works by Jewish rabbis and scholars called Sefer haYashar, but none of these purport to be the original "Book of Jasher."

In the end, we must conclude that the biblical "Book of Jasher" is truly lost, and all we really know about it is found in the two Scripture quotations above. The other books by that title are mere fictions or Jewish moral treatises.

The Book of Jasher (Sefer haYashar) is a non-canonical apocryphal book. It is mentioned twice in the Hebew Bible - once in Joshua 10:13: 'And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves on their enemies. Is this not written in Sefer HaYashar?', and once in Samuel, 1:18: 'To teach the sons of Judah [the use of] the bow. Behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.' There are several separate works by this title, all composed much later than Biblical times. This particular one is a translation of a Hebrew book printed in 1613. The Hebrew title of the book means 'Book of the Upright', but the title was at some point, treated as a proper name - Jasher. The text of the book covers the creation of the world to the death of Moses, with several minor variations to the traditional Bible.

Production notes: This ebook of The Book of Jasher was published by Global Grey on the 28th October 2021, and updated on the 6th March 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Adam and Eve' by Peter Paul Rubens.

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Ja'sher (Heb. Yashar', יָשָׁר, upright). A volume by this title (סֵפֶר הִיָּשָׁר, the book of the upright man; Auth. Vers. "book of Jasher") appears anciently to have existed among the Hebrews, containing the records of honored men, or other praiseworthy transactions. The work is no longer extant, but is cited in two passages of the O.T. in the following manner: "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day," etc. (Jos 10:13). The other passage is 2Sa 1:17-18: "And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son (also he bade them teach the children of Judah [the use of] the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher)." After this follows the lamentation of David.

II. Opinions as to the Character of the Book itself. As the word Jasher signifies just or upright, by which term it is rendered in the margin of our Bibles this book has generally been considered to have been so entitled as containing a history of just men. The former of the above passages in which the book is cited in Scripture is omitted by the Sept., while in the latter the expression is rendered βιβλίον τοῦ εὐθοῦςthe Vulg. has liber justorum in both instances. The Peshito Syriac in Joshua has "the book of praises or hymns," reading הִשַׁיר for הִיָּשָׁר, and a similar transposition will account for the rendering of the same version in Samuel, "the book of Ashir." The Targum interprets it "the book of the law," and this is followed by Jarchi, who gives, as the passage alluded to in Joshua, the prophecy of Jacob with regard to the future greatness of Ephraim (Ge 48:19), which was fulfilled when the sun stood still at Joshua's bidding. The same Rabbi, in- his commentary on Samuel, refers to Genesis, "the book of the upright, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," to explain the allusion to the book of Jasher; and Jerome, while discussing the "etymology of Israel," which he interprets as "rectus Dei," incidentally mentions the fact that Genesis was called ''the book of the just" (liber Genesis appellatur εὐθέων, id est, justorum), from its containing the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Comm. in Jes. 44:2). The Talmudists attribute this tradition to R. Johanan. R. Eliezer thought that by the book of Jasher was signified the book of Deuteronomy from the expressions in De 6:18; De 23:7, the latter being quoted in proof of the skill of the He-brews in archery. In the opinion of Rabbi Samuel benNachnian, the book of Judges was alluded to as the book of Jasher (Aboda Zara, c. 2); and that it was the book of the twelve minor prophets was held by some Hebrew writers, quoted without name by Sixtus Senensis (Bibl. Sanct. lib. 2). R. Levi ben-Gershom recognizes, though he does not follow, the tradition given by Jarchi, while Kimchi and Abarbanel adopt the rendering of the Targum. This diversity of opinions proves, if it proves nothing more, that no book was known to have survived which could lay claim to the title of the book of Jasher. 041b061a72




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