Why is the book of Jasher not in the Bible?

 

Many people question why the book of Jasher, yā-šār, is not in the Bible. They say that this book is mentioned in the Bible and so as the Bible itself mentions it, not once but twice, Joshua 10-13 and 2 Samuel 1-18,  it should be included as a part of the Bible. Of course if the Bible refers to it by name as support for its own writings then why wouldn’t it be classed as authorised scripture? If it is good enough to reference as support why isn’t it good enough to be included? It is often claimed that this is a lost book, that it was included as scripture but was removed at some point, by someone.  The Catholic Church would seem to bear the main brunt of the accusations on this one.

 

The main answer I see given in response to these questions, an answer I personally have used in the past but in actual fact think is a totally unsatisfactory and now in fact a totally incorrect answer, is, just because the Bible mentions the book does not mean that it is inspired and should be included. This to me is a very weak argument and, rightly so,  does not normally convince anyone that says the book of Jasher should be included. All it does is circle reason the book is non inspired because it is not included. This may satisfy those who already believe we have an inspired and correct text but it isn’t going to convince those that can see the book is referenced and believe it was removed.

 

So why is the Book of Jasher not included in the Bible? What is the correct answer?

 

I decided to study the real reason that the book was not included as scripture. Was it really removed by the Catholic Church. What I found during this study was quite surprising.

 

The simple fact is there was no book of Jasher, that was written BC anyway,  and was referenced in the Bible. The Bible does NOT reference this book at all because it did not exist until AFTER the NT had been written. It is an AD construct.  

 

Today the book of Jasher,  can be purchased in printed book form, quite readily available in some book stores and the internet. However, it’s important to note here that there are actually a number of different works known by this title, at least 5 possibly up to 12. ALL of which were composed much later than Biblical times and certainly later than the date it would have had to have existed as per the OT references to it. NONE of the books of Jasher which have been discovered are the “book of Jasher” that is referenced in the Bible, despite their claims to the contrary . They are all much later attempts to create a book that was deemed to be missing.  

 

The earliest Hebrew that is available (there are earlier NON Hebrew writings ALL of which are AD in origin )  comes in printed form, printed in Venice dated 1625 . This is actually considered by many to be a copy of the original book of Jasher. According to this edition of the text there was an edition that was published in 1552 in Naples Italy. However there are no copies of this and there is no collaborating evidence that supports this claim. The 1625 text was first  published in English in New York in 1840 by Mordecai Manuel Noah. The actual translator of this text remained anonymous although some do claim this was done by a Mr. Samuel of Liverpool. It is thought, by many scholars to have been written in the 13th Century probably in Spain.

 

It is written in paraphrase style similar to those of Jewish liturgical writings of this period and follows the pattern of the rabbinical parashot which would suggest, at least, that it was composed by rabbinical writers much later than its supposed origin which would be at least 2000 years earlier. It includes chapters and verses something that was not included in ANY of the original Biblical writings and was not added until 1551 AD by Stephanus


So What about these 2 supposed references to the book in the Bible itself?

 

Let’s have a look at the first reference in the book of Joshua

 

Joshua 10-13 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.

 

The truth is, and this is FUNDAMENTAL to understanding these references,  ‘Jasher’ does not even refer to a person called Jasher. Jasher simply is NOT a name, it is an ADJECTIVE. This is so very often totally ignored or in most cases not even known. The KJV has transliterated the Hebrew הַיָּשָׁ֑ר hay-yā-šār; simply meaning the upright one. Again this is NOT a name. There is no name Jasher and there is no book of Jasher (that existed at the time of the reference anyway).

 

When we understand that this is not referring to a book written by a person called Jasher but rather a person who is THE JASHER or hay-yā-šār we get a much clearer understanding.  It is written in the scroll/book (the Hebrew word translated as book is סֵ֣פֶר sê-p̄er )  of the upright one (The Jasher)

 

The reference here is to where this is written. We do not need to go outside of the Bible itself to find where this is in fact written. It is actually written in the Book of Habakkuk

 

Habakkuk 3-11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.

 

Habakkuk was a prophet and therefore one who was upright. He is THE Jasher, the upright one referenced in Joshua.

 

The second supposed reference to the Book of Jasher is in 2 Samuel 1-18

 

2 Samuel 1-18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

 

However when we look at the word Jasher in the Hebrew we again see that it is הַיָּשָֽׁר׃ hay-yā-šār., and again it is not referring to a book written by a person called Jasher but rather it is written in the book of THE Jasher (hay-yā-šār) or rather the book of the upright one.

 

Many people incorrectly think that the reference to what is written in the book of Jasher is the statement  “Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow”. And so as this statement is not found anywhere in the Bible,  it is assumed that it was written in the book of Jasher. BUT when we look at the book of Jasher this is actually not the case. This statement is not found there either. The statement David taught the children of Judah the use of the bow is not included in the book of Jasher and so this argument simply fails.

 

But it is this understanding that it must have been, which is what causes the confusion. This is NOT in fact what is being made reference to at all.

So what is it referring to? What is written in the book of Jasher or more correctly THE Jasher, the upright one is “the bow”.

 

“The  Bow” is actually the name of the lamentation song that David wrote after he had heard of the death of his friend Jonathan 2 Samuel chapter 1.

 

It is this SONG which is translated as the use of,  that David bade teach the children. And it is this SONG that is written in the book of (the) Jasher.   

 

So where is this song written. It is actually written in the BIBLE, in fact it is written in the SAME  book and SAME chapter as the reference to it is made , 2 Samuel.

 

2 Samuel 1- 19The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.21Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. 22From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 26I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

 

2 Samuel is the book in which the song which David said to teach is written. Samuel is the Jasher (hay-yā-šār). It is not stating that it is written in a separate book.  

 

How can we know this?

The language used in verse 18  is very important.

Notice that we have the word BEHOLD. Behold is used to indicate something that needs to be taken notice of, to look upon. Here the word BEHOLD is telling us to take notice of what then follows, which is the very song that it says is written in the book of the Jasher. Behold the song “ the bow” that David said to teach the children of Judah is written in the book of the Jasher the righteous one, and then the song “the bow” is written, in the book of THE Jasher, 2 Samuel.

 

When we compare this language to the first reference we see that in the first reference we are posed a question is not this written in the book of Jasher? We are not told to behold. We have a reference to separate place of where it is written.

 

Joshua 10-13 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.

 

But the use of Behold in 2 Samuel brings our attention to what follows, in 2 Samuel.

 

Furthermore  when we see the term “it is written” elsewhere in the Bible it is in reference to a separate place where it is written.  BUT it is preceded by the word AS. We see the term “AS” it is written in,

 

A few of the many examples found in the OT.

 

Joshua 8-31 as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.

 

1 Kings 2-3 and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

Daniel 9-13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lordour God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

 

Again this is not what precedes the use in 2 Samuel. We are not told as it is written in …..but to BEHOLD it is written ……

 

The fact is the book of Jasher has not been removed from the Bible because there was no book of Jasher. The use of THE Jasher is a reference to the sacred and inspired texts which are included in the Bible.  

 

This writing will be expanded on.


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