The BOOK OF JASHER
The BOOK OF
REFERRED TO IN
ORIGINAL HEBREW INTO ENGLISH
SALT LAKE CITY:
PUBLISHED BY J.H. PARRY & COMPANY 1887.
not this written in the Book of Jasher?”–Joshua, x. 13.
it is written in the Book of Jasher.”–II Samuel, i. 18
CHAPTER 1–The Creation of Adam and Eve. The Fall. Birth
of Cain and Abel. Abel a Keeper of Sheep. Cain a Tiller of the Soil. The
Quarrel Between the Brothers and the Result. Cain, the First Murderer, Cursed
CHAPTER 2–Seth is Born. People begin to Multiply and
Become Idolatrous. Third Part of the Earth Destroyed. Earth cursed and becomes
corrupt through the Wickedness of Men. Cainan, a Wise and Righteous King,
Foretells the Flood. Enoch is Born
CHAPTER 3–Enoch Reigns over the Earth. Enoch Establishes
Righteousness upon the Earth, and after Reigning Two Hundred and Forty Years is
CHAPTER 4–The People of the Earth Again Become Corrupt.
Noah is Born
CHAPTER 5–Noah and Methuselah Preach Repentance for One
Hundred and Twenty Years. Noah Builds the Ark. Death of Methuselah.
CHAPTER 6–Animals, Beasts, and Fowls Preserved in the
Ark. Noah and his Sons, and their Wives are Shut in. When the Floods come the
People want to get in. Noah One Year in the Ark.
CHAPTER 7–The Generations of Noah. The Garments of Skin
made for Adam Stolen by Ham and they Descend to Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, who
Becomes the King of the Whole Earth. The Birth of Abram.
CHAPTER 8–The Wise Men of Nimrod, by their Divination,
Foretell the Evil that Abram will do to Nimrod’s Kingdom, and they seek to kill
the Child. Abram, with his Mother and Nurse are Hid in a cave for Ten Years.
CHAPTER 9–When Ten Years Old, Abram goes to Noah and
Shem, Remains with them for Thirty-nine Years, and is Taught in all the Ways of
the Lord. The Wickedness of Nimrod and his People. They Propose to Build a
Tower to Heaven and Dethrone God. The confusion of Tongues.
CHAPTER 10–The Descendants of Noah, Scattered over the
whole earth, build themselves Cities.
CHAPTER 11–Nimrod’s Wicked Reign. The Idolatry of Terah,
Abram’s Father. When Fifty Years old, Abram returns to his Father’s House and Discovers
his Idols. Makes a pretext to destroy them. After making Savory Meat for the
gods, Abram takes a Hatchet and destroys them, leaving the Hatchet in the hands
of the larger one, where it is discovered by his Father, who is told by Abram
that the Great God had risen up in anger and Destroyed his Fellows. Terah in
his wrath betrays Abram to the King, who brings him up before the Throne for
Judgment. Abram Warns his Father and the King, before all the Princes, of the
Evils of Idolatry.
CHAPTER 12–Abram placed in Prison, and is condemned after
ten days to be cast into a Fiery Furnace. His Brother Haran being Falsely
Accused is condemned to the same Fate. As Haran’s heart was not right before
the Lord, he perished, but Abram is Delivered and is brought forth Alive. Is
Presented with Many Gifts. The King Dreams of Abram, and again Seeks his Life.
Abram flees to the House of Noah.
CHAPTER 13–On Abram’s account Terah and all his House,
with Abram, Leave Ur Casdim to go to the Land of Canaan. They tarry in Haran,
where the Lord Appears to Abram, and upon condition of Faithfulness, Promises
many Blessings. Abram, commanded of the Lord, takes his Wife and all belonging
to him and goes to the Land of Canaan, where the Lord again appears to him and
Promises the Land of Canaan as an Everlasting Inheritance. After Fifteen Years,
Abram returns to Haran to Visit his Father. Teaches many to Walk in the Ways of
the Lord. Again commanded to go to Canaan, where he Builds an Altar. The Lord
renews his Covenant with him.
CHAPTER 14–Rikayon’s cunning Device to make Money of the
CHAPTER 15–On Account of Famine in Canaan, Abram goes to
Egypt. Tells the People that Sarah is his Sister, on account of her Beauty.
Pharaoh Desires to take her, but is Prevented by an Angel of the Lord. The
Truth is made known, and Sarah is Restored to Abram, with many Presents. Abram
returns to his Home. Trouble between Lot and Abram on account of Lot’s cattle.
Lot Removes to Sodom.
CHAPTER 16–Four Kings with Eight Hundred Thousand Men War
against Sodom and the Cities of the Plain, and destroy and plunder their
people. Abram, Hearing that Lot is taken captive, gathers together about Three
Hundred Men and Pursues the Kings, retakes the captives, and smites the whole
Army of the confederate Rings. On his Return, Abram meets Adonizedek, King of
Jerusalem, the same was Shem. Abram gives Tithing of all he had taken to
Adonizedek, and is Blessed of Him. Abram Restores to every Man his property
which he had retaken in the War, and returns to Hebron. The Lord again appears
to Abram and promises to bless him with a Numberless Posterity. Sarah being
childless gives Hagar to Abram for a Wife, and becoming jealous of her,
afflicts her. An Angel comforts Hagar. Ishmael is Born.
CHAPTER 17–The Lord Appears to Abram and Establishes the
Covenant of Circumcision, and calls his name Abraham, and Sarai, He calls
CHAPTER 18–Abraham Entertains Three Angels, who eat with
him. Sarah is promised a Son. The People of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of all the
Cities of the Plain become very Wicked.
CHAPTER 19–The Abominations of the people of Sodom and
Gomorrah. Two Angels sent to Save Lot. The Cities of the Plain and all their
Inhabitants Destroyed by Fire.
CHAPTER 20–Abraham goes to the land of the Philistines,
and again tells the People that Sarah is his Sister. Abimelech the King desires
her for a Wife. An Angel warns him, and commands him to return her to her
Husband. The whole land afflicted on account of the matter. Sarah Restored to
Abraham, who entreats the Lord to heal the People of Abimelech.
CHAPTER 21–Isaac is Born, causing much Rejoicing among
the Friends of Abraham. Ishmael Attempts to kill Isaac, and on that account is
sent away with his Mother. Ishmael is blessed with Riches and Posterity.
CHAPTER 22–Ishmael returns to his Father, with his Wives
and Children. Abraham Returns to Canaan and makes his Home in Beersheba, where
he Hospitably Entertains all strangers and teaches them the way of the Lord. Isaac
and Ishmael’s conversation. The Offering of Isaac Foretold. Satan’s opinion of
the Father of the Faithful.
CHAPTER 23–Abraham commanded to Offer up Isaac, in the
Land Moriah. Abraham’s Obedience. Sarah’s Affliction. What Happened on the Way.
Satan attempts to hinder them. Isaac an Acceptable Offering. Father and Son
alone. The willingness of Isaac. He Assists his Father in Building the Altar.
While they both weep bitterly, they yet Rejoice to be counted worthy before the
Lord. Isaac bound and placed upon the Altar. The Angels of God intercede for
Isaac, who is released at the command of the Lord, and a Ram is offered in his
place. Satan, by his deception and Evils, causes the Death of Sarah.
CHAPTER 24–Abraham Purchases a Burial Place. Isaac sent
to the House of Shem and Eber to Learn the Way of the Lord. Eliezer is sent to
get a Wife for Isaac. Goes to the House of Bethuel and brings Rebecca.
CHAPTER 25–Abraham takes Keturah for a Wife, by whom he
has Six Sons. The Generations of the Sons of Keturah, and of Ishmael.
CHAPTER 26–Isaac and Rebecca pray for children. Their
Prayers answered, and Esau and Jacob are Born. Abraham, after recounting all
the Wonderful Works of the Lord, enjoins his Son to Walk in His way and keep
His Commandments. In the Fifteenth Year of Jacob and Esau’s lives, Abraham Dies
and is Buried by all the Kings of the land. All the People and even the
children mourn for Abraham for a Full.
CHAPTER 27–Esau slays Nimrod and Two of his Mighty Men. Returns
Home weary from the Fight, and sells his Birthright for Value.
CHAPTER 28–On account of Famine, Isaac goes to Gerar, the
Land of the Philistines. After the Famine he Returns at the Command of the Lord
to Hebron. Jacob is sent to the House of Shem where he Remains Thirty-two Years
to learn the Way of the Lord, but Esau would not go. Esau marries a Canaanitish
CHAPTER 29–Jacob by deceit obtains his Brother’s
Blessing. Jacob fearing his Brother’s anger, flees to the House of Eber, where
he remains for Fourteen Years. Esau again marries a Woman of the Land. Jacob
returns to his Father, but being still threatened by Esau, is advised by his
Mother to go to her Brother Laban, in Haran. Jacob goes to Haran, being Commanded
by his Father not to Marry any of the Daughters of Canaan. Jacob is Waylaid on
the Road, by the Son of Esau, and is Robbed of all he Possessed.
CHAPTER 30–When he Arrives at Mount Moriah, the Lord
appears to Jacob and establishes His Covenant with him. Arriving at his Uncle’s
House he Engages to Serve Seven Years for Rachel.
CHAPTER 31–Jacob is Deceived and is given Leah in Place
of Rachel, but is Given Rachel for Seven Years’ more Service. Jacob serves
Laban six years longer for Wages and becomes very Rich, when the Lord Appears
to him and commands him to Return to the Land of Canaan. Jacob Obeys and goes
from Laban. Rachel Steals her Father’s gods, that he may not know where Jacob
has fled. Laban Pursues him, but establishes a covenant of peace. Laban breaks
his Covenant by sending his Son secretly to Esau that Jacob may Fall in his
Hands. Esau, with Four Hundred Men, seek to Destroy Jacob.
CHAPTER 32–Jacob sends a Message of Peace to his Brother,
who rejects it with contempt, and Advances to Destroy him. Hosts of Angels
cause the Fear of Jacob to come upon Esau, and he goes to meet him in peace, in
answer to Jacob’s Prayer. Jacob Wrestles with an Angel of the Lord.
CHAPTER 33–Jacob goes to Shechem. Prince Shechem defiles
Dinah the Daughter of Jacob. Shechem desires her for a Wife.
CHAPTER 34–The Perfidy of Shechem. Simeon and Levi, Sons
of Jacob, avenge the Honor of their Sister Dinah, Destroy all the Men of the
City, and Spoil it. The People of Canaan conspire to avenge the cause of
Shechem. Isaac and Jacob Pray for Succor.
CHAPTER 35–The Fear of God come upon the Canaanites, and
they do not Fight with Jacob.
CHAPTER 36–Jacob and his House goes to Bethel, where the
Lord appears to him, calls his name Israel, and Blesses him. The Generations of
Jacob and Esau.
CHAPTER 37–Jacob Returns to Shechem. The Kings of Canaan
again assemble against Jacob. Jacob’s Ten Sons with One Hundred and Two of
their servants Fight against the Canaanites and Amorites, and are successful.
CHAPTER 38 and 39–The Sons of
Jacob Destroy many Cities of Canaan and all their people.
CHAPTER 40–The Remaining Twenty-one Kings of Canaan,
fearing the Sons of Jacob, make a permanent Peace with them.
CHAPTER 41–Joseph, the Son of Jacob, Dreams of his Future
Exaltation over his Brethren. Being his Father’s Favorite, his Brethren become
Jealous. Joseph is sent to Visit his Brethren. They conspire against him, and
at the Suggestion of Reuben Place him in a Pit.
CHAPTER 42–Joseph is sold to a company of Midianites, who
in Turn sold him to the Ishmaelites, who take him down to Egypt. An account of
his Journey thither, and of his Affliction on the Road.
CHAPTER 43–Reuben’s Anguish at not Finding Joseph in the
Pit. The Brothers contrive to Deceive their Father by Dipping his coat in
Blood. Jacob’s Anguish at the loss of his Son.
CHAPTER 44–Joseph is sold to Potiphar, an Officer of
Pharaoh. Zelicah, the Wife of Potiphar, seeks to entice Joseph to do Evil, but
all her advances are Rejected. Is Falsely Accused by her and is brought to
Judgment. Is Acquitted by his Judges, but for the Sake of the Report against
Potiphar’s Wife, he is cast into Prison.
CHAPTER 45–An Account of the Families of Jacob’s Sons.
CHAPTER 46–Joseph Interprets the Dreams of his Fellow-Prisoners.
CHAPTER 47–Isaac Blesses his two Sons and Dies. His
Property is Divided. Esau takes all the personal Property and Jacob chooses the
Inheritance of the Land of Canaan, with the Cave of Machpelah for a Burying
CHAPTER 48–Pharaoh’s Dreams. Not Receiving a Satisfactory
Interpretation from the Magicians, he orders the Wise Men to be Slain. The
King’s Butler makes Joseph’s Gifts known to Pharaoh. Joseph is Brought before
the King, who Relates his Dreams to him. Joseph, by the Gift of God, Interprets
them. A great Famine Predicted.
CHAPTER 49–Pharaoh Assembles all the Great Men of the
Kingdom, and desires to appoint Joseph to Govern Egypt. They Object because he
cannot speak all the Seventy Languages of the Earth. An Angel visits Joseph and
teaches him all the Languages of the Earth. When brought before the King,
Joseph’s Wisdom and Knowledge please Pharaoh and all the Princes of Egypt, and
he is appointed the Second to the King, and all authority is given him. Joseph
is made Wealthy and clothed in Princely apparel and proclaimed Governor of
Egypt. Is given the Daughter of Potiphar for a Wife.
CHAPTER 50–Joseph goes to help the Ishmaelites against
their Enemies. Great Plenty prevails in Egypt as Joseph predicted. Joseph’s Two
Sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Joseph stores up Food throughout Egypt. That stored
by the Egyptians is spoiled. The Famine prevails over all the Land and Joseph
sells corn to all the Egyptians and the surrounding Nations. Knowing that his
Brethren will have to come to Egypt for Corn, he arranges to meet them when
CHAPTER 51–Jacob sends his Ten Oldest Sons to Egypt for
Food. Tells them not to enter in at one gate but to go in Separately. On the
way they Covenant together to seek for Joseph, and if they cannot ransom him
they resolve to take him by force. They enter in at ten gates, and spread
themselves to seek for Joseph three days. Joseph, in the meantime, has his men Seeking
them. When found they are brought before Joseph who accuses them of being
Spies. Joseph sends his Brethren home with corn, while Simeon is kept as a
hostage till they shall again come to Egypt with their Younger Brother. They
are astonished to find their Money in their sacks of corn.
CHAPTER 52–Jacob’s sorrow at the absence of Simeon;
Refuses to let Benjamin go. But when he and his Household become pinched with
hunger, Judah pleads for Benjamin. Tells his Father of the great glory and
Authority of the Governor of Egypt and offers himself as Security for his
Younger Brother. Jacob consents and sends his Sons again to Egypt with a
conciliatory Letter and Present to the Governor.
CHAPTER 53–Jacob’s Sons again go to Egypt for Bread.
Benjamin is presented before Joseph. Joseph’s Cup. Joseph’s conduct towards
Benjamin by which he makes himself known to him. Resolves to prove his Brethren
by taking away Benjamin from them, and puts his Cup in Benjamin’s sack of corn
and sends them Home to their Father. An Officer is sent after them who accuses
them of purloining his Master’s Cup. Brings them back to Joseph. Benjamin is
taken from them by force, and they are told to go on their way.
CHAPTER 54–Judah breaks through the Door to get to Joseph
and Benjamin. He recounts the many Mighty Deeds of his Brethren and threatens
to destroy all Egypt if Benjamin be not released. Joseph wrangles with his
Brethren and accuses them of Selling their Brother. They commence to war upon
the Egyptians, and frighten the whole Land. After satisfying himself of their repentance
for selling their Brother, Joseph makes himself known to them, and bestows
presents upon them. They are presented before Pharaoh, who commands Joseph to
bring all his Father’s Household Down to Egypt. He sends Chariots for this
Purpose, laden with Presents, Luxuries and Clothing. Jacob’s joy on Learning
that Joseph is still Alive.
CHAPTER 55–The Lord commands Jacob to go down to Egypt,
where He will make him a Great Nation. Joseph and all Egypt go to meet Jacob to
do him Honor when he arrives. The Land of Goshen is given to him and his
CHAPTER 56–After Seventeen Years’ Dwelling in Egypt,
Jacob dies, after Blessing his Children and commanding them to go in the Way of
the Lord. Joseph and his Brethren and all the Mighty Men of Egypt go up to
Canaan to Bury Jacob. Esau, claiming the Land of Canaan as his, will not Allow
Joseph to Bury his Father. After Esau and many of his People are slain, Jacob
is Buried by Force. All the Kings of Canaan come up to do him Honor.
CHAPTER 57–The Sons of Esau make war with the Sons of
Jacob and are smitten. Some are taken captive to Egypt. The Children of Esau
enlist the People of Seir to Accompany them to Egypt to Deliver their Brethren.
Joseph and his Brethren and the Egyptians slay Six Hundred Thousand. Nearly all
the Mighty Men of Seir being Slain, they make war with the Children of Esau to
Drive them from their Land. Esau prevails and utterly annihilates the Children
CHAPTER 58–Pharaoh dies and the whole Government of Egypt
devolves upon Joseph, Pharaoh the Younger being but a nominal Ruler. The
Children of Esau again come Against the Israelites, and are again smitten.
CHAPTER 59–Jacob’s Posterity in Egypt. After Prophesying
that the Lord would Deliver his Brethren from Egypt, Joseph dies and is buried,
and the Israelites are ruled over by the Egyptians.
CHAPTER 60–Zepho, the Son of Eliphaz, the Son of Esau,
who was taken Captive by Joseph where he Buried his Father, Escapes from Egypt
with all his Men.
CHAPTERS 61, 62, and 63–Petty Wars and contentions of the Nations of Africa
CHAPTER 64–Zepho Leads a Great Army of Chittimites,
Edomites, and Ishmaelites against Egypt. Three Hundred Thousand Egyptians put
to Flight, but One Hundred and Fifty Men of Israel prevail against Zepho.
CHAPTER 65–The Elders of Egypt conspire with Pharaoh and
cunningly bring Israel into Bondage to them. Being afraid of their power, they
afflict them in order to lessen the Number of the Children of Israel.
CHAPTER 66–Pharaoh Decrees that every Male Child born in
Israel shall be Killed, and still they increase.
CHAPTER 67–Aaron is Born. On Account of Pharaoh’s decree,
many of the Sons of Israel live apart from their Wives. The King’s counsellors
devise another plan to lessen the number of Israel by drowning them. The Lord
finds a means of preserving the Male Children.
CHAPTER 68–Moses, a Child of Promise, is born. The
Egyptian Women acting as Spies. Moses is discovered, and placed by his Mother
in an Ark of Bulrushes. Is Found and Adopted by the Daughter of Pharaoh, and
grows up among the King’s Children.
CHAPTER 69–Pharaoh Proclaims, that if any of the
Israelites are short in their Labor, either in Bricks or Mortar, his Youngest
Son shall be put in their Place.
CHAPTER 70–Moses puts the King’s crown upon his own head.
Baalam and the Wise Men make this a Pretext against him. When grown up, Moses
visits his Brethren, and learns of their Grievances. Moses obtains a day’s rest
on the Sabbath for all Israel.
CHAPTER 71–Moses slays an Egyptian and being Discovered
flees from Egypt. Aaron Prophecies.
CHAPTER 72–Moses flees to Cush. At the Death of the king,
he is chosen in his Stead. He Reigns Forty Years in Cush.
CHAPTER 73–The Reign of Moses, and his Strategic Warfare.
CHAPTER 74–War in Africa.
CHAPTER 75–Thirty Thousand Ephraimites think it Time to
get out of Egypt, Rise up to go to Canaan, but are Slain by the Philistines.
CHAPTER 76–Moses leaves Cush and goes to the Land of
Midian. Reuel, taking him for a Refugee, keeps him in prison for Ten Years. Is
fed by Zipporah, the Daughter of Reuel. Pharaoh smitten of the Plague. Slays a
child of the Israelites every day. He dies of the Rot, and his Son, Adikam,
Reigns in his Stead.
CHAPTER 77–Adikam Pharaoh Afflicts Israel more than ever.
Moses is Released by Reuel, and Marries his Daughter Zipporah. Moses obtains
possession of the Stick Jehovah.
CHAPTER 78–Moses has Two Sons. Pharaoh withholds Straw
from the Israelites.
CHAPTER 79–The Lord appears to Moses and commands him to
go down to Egypt to Deliver Israel. Aaron meets him. Israel on hearing of his
Mission greatly rejoices. Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh, who calls all the
Magicians to meet Moses. They Perform Miracles as well as Moses, and thus Deceive
the King. Pharaoh, not finding the Name of Jehovah on any of the Books of
Records, says he does not know who He is, and will not let his People go. Moses
and Aaron teach Pharaoh, but he will not hearken, but causes the labor of the
Children of Israel to be increased. Moses being discouraged is told by the Lord
that with an outstretched hand and heavy Plagues, Israel shall be Delivered.
CHAPTER 80–After Two Years, Moses and Aaron again go to
Pharaoh, but Pharaoh will not Hearken. The Lord afflicts Egypt with all manner
of Plagues and Afflictions. The First-born of all the Egyptians is Slain.
Pharaoh sends the Children of Israel away, and all the Egyptians rise up to
urge their Departure, but they will not go in the Night.
CHAPTER 81–The Departure of the Israelites from Egypt
with Great Riches and Flocks and Herds. After the Egyptians bury their
First-born, many of them go after the Israelites to induce them to return. But
they refuse to return, and fight the Nobles of Egypt and drive them home.
Pharaoh resolves with the Egyptians to pursue Israel and compel them to Return.
The Children of Israel are divided–some wanting to go back. Moses prays for
deliverance. The Lord tells him not to cry to him, but proceed. The waters of
the Red Sea are Divided. The Israelites pass Through in Safety, but the
Egyptians are utterly Destroyed. The Israelites proceed on their Journey, and
are fed with Manna. The Children of Esau fight Israel, but the Latter Prevail.
CHAPTER 82–The Ten Commandments are Given. While Moses is
in the Mount, Aaron makes a Golden Calf, and Israel Worships it. Civil War. The
Lord has a Sanctuary Built for His Worship in the Wilderness.
CHAPTER 83–Aaron and his Sons are Placed in charge of the
Lord’s Service. The Sacrifices and Offerings. The Passover is Celebrated. The
People lust for Flesh to eat. Their punishment. Moses sends Twelve Men to
explore the Land of Canaan. Ten of them bring an Evil Report, and the People
want to Return to Egypt. For their Lack of Faith that Generation shall not Live
to obtain their Possessions.
CHAPTER 84–The Earth Swallows up the Rebellious. The
Children of Israel commanded not to War with the Children of Esau, or Moab. The
Edomites will not let Israel pass through their Land.
CHAPTER 85–Some of the Canaanites rise up to fight
Israel, who are frightened and run away. But the Sons of Levi compel them to
Return. They prevail over their Enemies. They must not touch Ammon. Og, King of
Bashan. Balaam is called upon to curse Israel, but will not. Israel commits
Whoredom with the Moabites, and they are Smitten with Pestilence.
CHAPTER 86–All over twenty years of age at the time of
Leaving Egypt die at the Expiration of Forty Years. Israel is Numbered. The
Midianites are destroyed, and their Spoil is Divided among the People.
CHAPTER 87–Moses appoints Joshua his successor. The Lord
encourages Joshua. Moses teaches the children of Israel to Walk in the Way of
the Lord. He goes up to Mount Abarim and dies there.
CHAPTER 88–The Lord commands Joshua to prepare the People
to pass over Jordan to possess the Land. Jericho is Besieged, Taken, and
Destroyed. Achan brings evil upon the camp by Purloining the cursed thing, and
Brings Destruction upon Himself. All is taken and Destroyed. The Gibeonites
cunningly save themselves. Five Kings rise up against Israel and are destroyed.
The Sun and Moon stand still at Joshua’s Command.
CHAPTER 89–Joshua’s Song of Praise. The Wars of Israel.
CHAPTER 90–The Edomites are Smitten by Chittim. The Land
is Divided, and the people have Rest. Joshua being Advanced in Years Exhorts
the people to Observe all the Laws of Moses, and then Dies.
CHAPTER 91–The Elders Judge Israel. They drive out all
the Canaanites and Inherit the Promised Land.
of Jasher Referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel. faithfully translated (1840)
from the Original Hebrew into English. A Reprint of Photo Lithographic Reprint
of Exact Edition Published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887]
The Authentic Annals Of The Early Hebrews –
Is It The “Real” Book of Jasher?
is understandable that some may feel that it is impossible or unlikely that
this volume could really be the original book of Jasher.
issue is compounded by the existence of several works by the name Sefer
Hayasher. I have in my possession a copy of Sefer Hayasher – The Book Of The Righteous, edited and translated by Seymour J.
Cohen. It is clearly not a book of history, but an ethical text that was
probably written in the 13th century. Its introduction cites several other
“Books of Jasher”, some of which are no longer known to be in
existence, such as that by Zerahiah Ha-Yevani of the 13th century. There is
also known to have been one written by Rabbi Jacob ben Mier of the 12th
century, and one by Rabbi Jonah ben Abraham of Gerona of the 14th century. We
are told of a work by that title from the Amoraim period (3rd to 6th centuries)
that is characterized as containing “for the most part sayings of the
sages of the first and second centuries”. So, this title has been a
popular one for rabbinical writings, but most are clearly not intended to have
been passed off as the book mentioned in the Bible. There is one notable
exception which I will mention later.
first step in dealing with the question of authenticity is to simply read the
book with an open mind. One cannot effectively investigate the matter unless he
is familiar with it. After all, according to Solomon, “He who answers a
matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him”. (Proverbs 18:
13). The reader will find that it reads very much like the Bible, except that
many passages are replete with details that are not recorded in the Bible.
are digressions from the biblical narrative that show concurrent events in
other parts of the world. There are chapters dealing wholly with events in
Egypt or events in Europe. Much of this material can be recognized from other
works of ancient history. To anyone familiar with ancient history, it will be
obvious that Jasher places these events in a radically different time period
than do conventional historians. To be sure, if Jasher be true, there needs to
be a radical alteration in the conventional interpretation of ancient history,
especially in the area of chronology.
is little of consequence at variance with the Bible. There are some
chronological features that differ, but these can usually be attributed to a
textual error. Usually the error will be resolved by reading on. A later entry
will fall into harmony with the Bible text. Remember that the ancient scrolls
of this book were in poor condition when the book was printed in Hebrew in
1613. It is not unlikely that some numbers could get scrambled.
are a couple mysterious accounts of incidents that smack of Greek or Roman
mythology, such as the story of Zepho, the grandson of Esau who slew a half
human monster in a large cave. This account is easily recognized as the same
story as that of Theseus, who slew the minotaur. The characters and the setting
are different. A critical reader may object to this material, but many valid
explanations are possible concerning why this and other such events were
recorded in this book. The original author may have simply reported those
things because they were popular folklore of his day. Such stories are merely
mentioned in passing and no significance is attached to them. Though one might
doubt the veracity of these tales, there is nothing here that should dissuade
an objective reader from the opinion that this book is genuine.Even the most
reader will find Jasher enlightening. Accounts in the Bible can be made more
lucid and easier to understand with the background of Jasher in mind.
next issue to investigate in regard to the authenticity of this book is the two
passages which mention the book by name. The first is Joshua 10.12-13:
and he [Joshua] said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon;
and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon
stayed, until the people avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is it not
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. 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.”
now compare it with the following passage in Jasher 88.63-64:
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
comparison of the text preceding also shows a high degree of correlation,
indicating that much more than a couple of verses was probably quoted by the
second mention of the Book of Jasher occurs in II Samuel 1.17. In contrast,
this incident is not a direct quotation of a historical event from Jasher, as
is the case in Joshua. Jasher’s narrative ends long before the time of David.
However, as part of his lamentation over the death of Saul and Jonathan, David
referred to a comment by Jacob that is quoted in the Book of Jasher. He said:
he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: Behold it is written
in the book of Jasher.”
is referring to the dying words of Jacob to Judah in Jasher 56: 9,
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.”
passage in the Bible has no reference to anything in the Bible itself, but it
is made clear from the passage in Jasher.
the above two references pass the test, it will be up to the reader to satisfy
himself as to the general agreement of the entirety of the book with the Bible
narrative. This is such an extensive comparison, and such an obvious one, that
I will not attempt to make any verse by verse comparison. Certainly any reader
who is familiar with the Bible will recognize its similarity to the text of
probably is no way that we can know that the Biblical writer(s) quoted from
this book, rather than the other way around? Is it possible that this book was
reverse engineered? Perhaps that Book of Jasher from the Amoraim period was
compiled from rabbinic sources such that it is a kind of digest of rabbinic
traditions. Indeed, there is a great deal of commonality with accounts from
other midrashic sources. If this were found to be so it would in no way
diminish its value.
it possible that someone created this book as a clever fraud, by appropriating
the name of the Biblical Jasher to give the work credibility? There are, of
course, many examples of such pious counterfeits from the early new testament
period. Could someone have fabricated this book by incorporating a huge number
of additional details into the framework of Bible stories, and do it with such
accuracy as to be convincing? It is remotely conceivable that some writer of
the rabbinical period could have gathered a vast array of those stories, as are
common in rabbinical writings, and incorporated them into this work in a
framework to, in some way, add credibility to the stories. But such a scenario
seems very unlikely, since rabbinical writings have a great deal of credibility
otherwise, and no major effort of promoting this book for that purpose has ever
occurred. It is hard to imagine that this book would be counterfeited for that
purpose or any other. There is simply no motive for such an act. In any case,
if this were true, it is such a masterful job as to be a very valuable work in it’s
own right. The accuracy and credibility of this supposed Pseudo-Jasher is
absolute genius. If this be a forgery it is a marvelous one.
a fraudulent writer would not have needed to add so much detail into the
account to be convincing. The more details he drew from his imagination, the
greater his chances of making some glaring error that would give away his
deception. A faker would certainly have written a much shorter work and left
out unnecessary details.
actuality, we have a wonderful example of just such a fraud. I have in my
possession three different works that go by the title Sepher Hayasher or The
Book of Jasher. This first is, of course, this book. The second is the 13th
century ethical treatise that I mentioned earlier. It makes no claim to being
the Biblical Jasher and would never be taken for it. The third book is widely
recognized for the fraud that it is. It has been republished by the Rosicrucian
Order. It claims to have been discovered by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus, Abbot of
Canterbury in the 8th century, while on a pilgrimage. It is the briefest
outline of the first six books of the Bible, consisting of about 70 pages of
large print. It contains no useful details, and only the barest account of the
familiar Hebrew stories. It seems to have been prepared hastily and with little
attention to detail. The most obvious feature is that it claims to be the work
of a man named Jasher who was the son of Caleb and one of the Judges of Israel.
This seems to be its entire reason for existence. It is clear that the author
had no real knowledge of Hebrew and failed to recognize that Jasher is not a
proper noun. It is not anybody’s name. It rather carries the meaning of the
upright book or the faithful record. Clearly this book is a fake. It has all
the characteristics that you would expect to see in a forgery. It is very brief
and contains no unique information except the one thing that is so absurd as to
expose it as a hoax. So the contrast between that imitation and this book is
very telling. It is easy to see which is genuine.
consider how Josephus described the Book of Jasher. He said “by this book
are to be understood certain records kept in some safe place on purpose, giving
an account of what happened among the Hebrews from year to year, and called
Jasher or the upright, on account of the fidelity of the annals.” There
could be no better description of the book you see before you. The bottom line
is that you, as the reader, will have to answer the question of legitimacy for
yourself. Whichever side of that issue you take, I think that you will be
enlightened by exploring the issue and by reading the book. If you feel as I
do, that this book has the powerful credentials to commend it as the biblical Book of Jasher, you will now have in your hands an
additional source to investigate when studying the Bible. You will also have
much food for thought in regard to the issues of conventional chronology in
(c)Copyright 1997 by Wayne Simpson
Distributed by Biblical Research Foundation, 629 Lexington Road
Reproduction and distribution are permissible provided this
remains intact on all copies