Book of Jasher: Scripture or Pseudepigrapha?

COGwriter has the following about the alleged Book of Jasher:

There are 13 ancient history books that are mentioned and recommended by the Bible. The Ancient Book of Jasher is the only one of the 13 that still exists. It is referenced in Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18; and 2 Timothy 3:8. This volume contains the entire 91 chapters plus a detailed analysis of the supposed discrepancies, cross-referenced historical accounts, and detailed charts for ease of use. As with any history book there are typographical errors in the text but with three consecutive timelines running though the histories it is very easy to arrive at the exact dates of recorded events. It is not surprising that this ancient document confirms the Scripture and the chronology given in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, once and for all settling the chronology differences between the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek Septuagint. The Ancient book of Jasher is brought to you by Biblefacts Ministries,

While the Book of Jasher has information that often aligns with the Bible, what is selling there is NOT the version from (plus or minus) three thousand years ago.

Despite having a biblical name, the Book of Jasher, is really part of what is called pseudepigrapha.

The pseudepigrapha are books that attempt to imitate scripture that were written under false authorship. Many such books were written between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. The term pseudepigrapha comes from the Greek pseudo, meaning “false,” and epigraphein, meaning “to inscribe.” Basically, a pseudonymous writing is one where an author is falsely claimed to have written it, when in truth someone else wrote it and tries to deceive by putting a (normally) famous person’s name on it.

The “Book of Jasher” popped up much later than most other pseudepigrapha and sometimes has been claimed to be the Book of Jasher referred to in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. Despite Amazon’s hint, it was not.

Now, the “Book of Jasher” is a long book. Here is how it starts:

1 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and God created man in his own image.

2 And God formed man from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul endowed with speech.

3 And the Lord said, It is not good for man to be alone; I will make unto him a helpmeet.

4 And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took away one of his ribs, and he built flesh upon it, and formed it and brought it to Adam, and Adam awoke from his sleep, and behold a woman was standing before him.

5 And he said, This is a bone of my bones and it shall be called woman, for this has been taken from man; and Adam called her name Eve, for she was the mother of all living.

6 And God blessed them and called their names Adam and Eve in the day that he created them, and the Lord God said, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

7 And the Lord God took Adam and his wife, and he placed them in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it; and he commanded them and said unto them, From every tree of the garden you may eat, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

8 And when God had blessed and commanded them, he went from them, and Adam and his wife dwelt in the garden according to the command which the Lord had commanded them.

9 And the serpent, which God had created with them in the earth, came to them to incite them to transgress the command of God which he had commanded them.

10 And the serpent enticed and persuaded the woman to eat from the tree of knowledge, and the woman hearkened to the voice of the serpent, and she transgressed the word of God, and took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she ate, and she took from it and gave also to her husband and he ate.

11 And Adam and his wife transgressed the command of God which he commanded them, and God knew it, and his anger was kindled against them and he cursed them.

12 And the Lord God drove them that day from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which they were taken, and they went and dwelt at the east of the garden of Eden; and Adam knew his wife Eve and she bore two sons and three daughters.

13 And she called the name of the first born Cain, saying, I have obtained a man from the Lord, and the name of the other she called Abel, for she said, In vanity we came into the earth, and in vanity we shall be taken from it.

14 And the boys grew up and their father gave them a possession in the land; and Cain was a tiller of the ground, and Abel a keeper of sheep.

But while most of the above is correct, notice that it seems to assert that Adam and Eve had two sons and three daughters, whereas the Bible does not so state.

That is part of the danger of writings like the alleged “Book of Jasher,”

Here is information about it from the old Radio Church of God:

Did God intend for the Book of Jasher to be preserved for us today?

Some people have assumed that one or another of the books that today fraudulently bear the title “The Book of Jasher” might be the same book called by that name in Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18. This is not true!

The spurious books that today exist under the false title “The Book of Jasher” can be historically traced to recent fraudulent origins.

Here is the proof that these are recent frauds. In the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, volume II, in the article “Jasher,” we read: “The [original] volume itself has perished…. There have also been several books written which pretended to be the Book of Jasher, or, at all events, bore this title. Three of these are of Jewish origin. One is a moral treatise, written in A.D. 1394 by Rabbi Shabbatai Carmuz Levita, and exists in manuscript in the Vatican Library. Another, by Rabbi Tham (died 1171), is a treatise on the Jewish ritual. It was published in Hebrew in Italy (1544) … The third, which is a fabulous history or the events of the Hexateuch, was probably written by a Spanish Jew of the thirteenth century, and has been published at Venice (1625) … A fourth Book of Jasher was a palpable and malicious fraud, perpetrated by Jacob Ilive, an infidel printer and type-founder of Bristol, and published at London, in 1751, [as] The Book of Jasher, translated into English from the Hebrew by Alcuin of Britain, who went on a Pilgrimage into the Holy Land.”

Notice that all these volumes are recent and spurious!

Now let us examine another work which speaks authoritatively on this same subject. In the Davis Dictionary of the Bible, in the article, “Jasher, in A. V. Jasher,” we read: “In 1751 there appeared a volume which professed to be an English translation of The Book or Jashar (Jasher), alleged to have been found, but the production was an in, impudent forgery.” (emphasis ours).

Other authorities have equally proved the fraudulent qualities of these books. In the Encyclopaedia Biblica, volume II, in the article, “Jasher,” we also read: “In later Christian times the Book of Jasher’ is the title of a ritualistic treatise by Jacob B. Meir (died 1171), and of one or two forgeries which are only remarkable for the undeserved success they obtained….”

The fraudulent volumes deceptively labeled “The Book of Jasher” contain error and contradict Scripture. They were written one or two thousand years after the authentic “Book of Jasher” had become lost. In order to cloak their fraudulent works with respectability and make them look innocent — so that readers would trust the lies and hypocrisy contained in those books — the authors of these forgeries gave them a respected Biblical name.

No one need be concerned about any fraudulent book that claims to be a part of the Bible. God has not left us in doubt. There are ample records, both in the Bible and in secular sources, to show us which books are Scripture and which are not. God wisely allowed the original Book of Jasher to disappear because it, like many other contemporary works of the judges, was not needed for our instruction today. If God had wanted us to have The Book of Jasher as a part of the Bible, we would have it in the Bible today. God, however, purposed that only a few brief excerpts from it be quoted in His inspired revelation, the Bible.

The Book of Jasher referred to in the Bible was never destined to be Scripture. Any book claiming that title today is a deliberate fraud! (L920, 1960)

Although some have claimed that the Book of Jasher does not contradict the Bible, that is not so. Notice a partial list of contradictions:

Jasher 13:5 says that Abram went to the land of Canaan at the age of 50 then back to Haran and back to Canaan at age 75, Genesis 12:4 states that Abram was 75 when he departed Haran.

Jasher 18:9 states that one of the angels tells Abraham that Sarah will have a son, but Gen. 17:16 says that God told Abraham.

Jasher 22:44-45 says the Lord got the idea of presenting Isaac as an offering from Isaacs boast to Ishmael. We know, of course, that God is sovereign and as it says in Gen. 22:1-2 & 12 that the Lord was testing Abraham.

Genesis 28:5 states that Isaac sent Jacob to Padan-aram unto Laban but Jasher 29:11 says that he fled to the house of Eber and hid there for 14 years.

Jasher 47:9 says Isaac dies, according to the chronology of Jasher, Joseph was in Egypt but in Gen. 35:29 Isaac died before Joseph had his dreams. …

In Jasher 42:30-41, Rachel talks to Joseph from the grave. This is of course necromancy and is an abomination unto the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:11-12).

According to 53:18-22 Benjamin used a “map (or chart) of stars” to find Joseph. Deuteronomy 18:10 forbids this. It is an abomination to be “an observer of times” (astrologer). …

Jasher 81:3-4 claims that the Israelites sojourned in Egypt for 210 years whereas the Scripture says in Exodus 12:40-41 it was 430 years.

Jasher 81:40-41says that all but Pharaoh perished in the Red Sea. Pharaoh thanks the Lord and the Lord sends an angel who casts him upon the land of Ninevah where Pharaoh reigned for a long time. Scripture (Exodus 14:23 & 28) states that all perished.

Jasher 32:1-40 — Esau comes to harm Jacob but angels of the Lord scare Esau, v.55 Esau fears Jacob. Genesis 33:3 Jacob bows seven times to Esau.

Jasher 43:35 — Isaac went from Hebron to comfort Jacob, his son, because Joseph is dead (sold). Gen. 35:27-29 Isaac died before Joseph even dreamed his dreams.

Jasher 81:38 — “And the Waters of the sea were divided into twelve parts.” Exodus 14:22 “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.” (Schaub D. AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK OF JASHER (CALLED THE UPRIGHT BOOK) COMPARED TO THE AUTHORIZED KING JAMES BIBLE. Logos Research. © 2012 – 2015)

So, no, the mainly claimed version “Book of Jasher” was not inspired by God. Again, it is not that it might not have some interesting historical details that may be true, but it is not sacred scripture.

The improperly named “Book of Jasher” should never be relied on as sacred scripture–because it is not.

Some items of related interest may include:

Lost Books of the Bible? Is the Bible missing books? What about the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch? What are the pseudepigrapha?
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version. The Old Testament Canon: Who Knew?
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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