The Book of Jasher (or Jashar) is mentioned twice in the Old Testament. What is it? Should the Book of Jasher be in the Bible?
The Book of Jasher - What is it? Should the Book of Jasher be in the Bible?
The first place this writing is mentioned can be found in Joshua 10:13. There we read, "Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day." In this account, God had supernaturally caused the sun to be "stopped in the midst of heaven" to allow Joshua and the Israelites the light they needed to win a military victory. Joshua notes that this event was also recorded accurately in the Book of Jasher. He did not state whether all of the Book of Jasher is accurate, its origin, or whether it should be in the Bible.
The second place the Book of Jasher is mentioned is in 2 Samuel 1:18-27. The text contains a lament written by David concerning the deaths of Saul and Saul's son Jonathan. Again, no mention is made of the background of the Book of Jasher. Further, the quote simply notes that this account was also included in another source.
In the 1700s a Book of Jasher was published that alleged to be a translation of the Book of Jasher by Alcuin, an eighth-century British writer. Another work named Pseudo-Jasher and written in Hebrew is dated to the 1600s but is also not connected with the version mentioned in the Old Testament. Though its claim to be the original is inaccurate, its introduction notes other attempts at a Book of Jasher "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.'" Again, however, the original work of the Book of Jasher is apparently lost and is now only known through its two references in the Bible.
Because the Book of Jasher no longer exists, it clearly cannot be part of the Bible. Yet even if it did exist today, there is no reason to believe it would need to be added to the Bible. The Old Testament writings were already affirmed and had been translated into Greek before the time of Christ. No biblical writer claimed the Book of Jasher was divine; only that it served as another source to confirm for two biblical references.
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