GOD's ARMY, CONTENDING for the FAITH
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murjahel

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THE EARLIEST HISTORY BOOK


JASHER

 

 

LESSON 1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

Some have assumed that the first books written by Godly men were the books of the Pentateuch, written by Moses. This is not confirmed in Scripture, for Enoch’s book is quoted, and a number of other books are referred to in the Bible.

Moses and Jasher had other books from which to gather material, in relating history far previous to their times. Where did Jasher get the information for the first part of this book? The latter part of the exodus from Egypt would have been contemporary with the author, but the first part would have been history for him. The same would be true for Moses, where did he get the information for Genesis?

There are several possibilities. For either Moses or Jasher, the material could have come by:

direct revelation from God,
traditions, passed down by word of mouth,
written records from previous authors.

In Genesis there is some vital clues, that may help with the understanding of how Jasher was also compiled.

The Hebrew word "toledoth" is used in Genesis. It means "records of origin" but has been translated usually - "generations".

Let us examine the use of such a word, and we will find a plausible explanation.

Genesis 2:4

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of the heavens and the earth." (1:1-2:4)

 

Genesis 5:1

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Adam." (2:4b-5:1)

 

Genesis 6:9

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Noah." (5:1b-6:9)

 

Genesis 10:1

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth." (6:9b-10:1)

 

Genesis 11:10

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Shem." (10:1b-11:10)

 

Genesis 11:27

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Terah." (11:10b-11:20)

 

Genesis 25:12

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Ishmael." (11:27-25:19)

 

Genesis 25:19

"These are the generations (records of origin)

of Isaac, Abraham's son." (25:19-37:2)

 

Genesis 36:1

"... generations (records of origin)

of Esau, who is Edom." (37:2-end)

 

Genesis 36:9

"...generations (records of origin)

of Esau, the father of the Edomites in Mt. Seir." (37:2-end)

 

Genesis 37:2

"... generations (records of origin)

of Jacob."

 

Thus, there seems to be written records of, at least, eleven different source books from which Moses drew information. With the help of the Holy Spirit, Moses compiled the book of Genesis. The same books and perhaps others were available to the author of Jasher.

The first five books of the Bible are called the "Pentateuch". This is from the Greek words "penta" (which means "five"), and "teuchos" (which means "books"). These five books were recorded by Moses. The names we have given each of them are:

Genesis

(tells the 'beginnings' of this creation)

 

Exodus

(tells of their 'going out' of Egypt)

 

Leviticus

(from the name of the tribe of Levi,

and contains the special laws for the Levites)

 

Numbers

(tells how Israel was numbered,

and tells of their wanderings in the wilderness)

 

Deuteronomy

(this is the repeated law,

and an address by Moses shortly before his death).


The Hebrews named the books of the Bible by the first word of two within it.

"Genesis" means "beginning, and the book starts out with that word in the Hebrew language it was "Bereshyith".

"Exodus" was called "Shemoth" which means "names." In 300 B.C., when the Septuagint was translated, new names were given the Pentateuch. "Shemoth" became "Exodus". "Ek" means "out of", "hodos" means "road, way". Hence, the word "Exodus" means "the way out, the escape".

Jasher and Moses had "records of origin" (toledoth) with which to find the facts of the first book of the Bible, but the part of the Pentateuch, and the part of Jasher, that records the exodus from Egypt, both authors were alive and living in such time.

The book of Exodus, and the part of Jasher that accounts the same time period, are a record of divine redemption. They record how an enslaved people gain their deliverance from the enemy. In typology, the events tell how we may also be delivered from sin).

The book of Exodus is a book of sacrifice, with chapter 12 telling of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, chapter 24 shows the sacrifice sealing the covenant, and chapter 29 tells of the sacrifices of consecration of the priesthood.

The theology of worship is shown in this time frame, and begins with the revelation of the tabernacle of worship. This part of Jasher, and the events within Exodus, give the Biblical ethics demanded by God, with the revelation of ten commandments in chapters 21-23. The priesthood is introduced, and the theology of covenant relationship is shown herein.

 

The message of Exodus, and the same portion of Jasher, is:

1. Redemption is necessary, because of the ruin of man.

2. Redemption is possible by blood alone.

3. Worship, in order to be acceptable, must be in divine order.

4. The opening scenes of this period are darkness, gloom, slavery, abuse, and death, but the ending pictures are the SHEKINAH presence of God.

5. The author of Exodus is mostly Moses (the part of Moses' death was probably added by Joshua). He was educated in Pharaoh's palace, and was taught the history, science, and journalism of such teachers.

The author of Jasher was likely an educated Levite scribe. We have no firm word on this, but the internal evidence certainly points toward that. I would surmise that this person was working closely with Moses on his compilation of facts, and search of the written records of the past. While Moses worked on his books, this person did a written record of his own.

 

The BOOK OF JASHER is a HISTORICAL BOOK,

NOT MEANT TO BE A BOOK OF THE BIBLE,

BUT A HISTORICAL RECORD.

IT IS SIMILAR IN NATURE TO THE BOOK OF JOSEPHUS,

AND IS TO BE TESTED BY THE BIBLE FOR ACCURACY.

NEW DETAILS ARE SHOWN, NOT REVEALED IN THE BIBLE.

 

 

Before one accepts the book of Jasher, one should make sure 'which' book of Jasher. Like Enoch, there are fake ones out there, Enoch 2, Enoch 3, Secrets of Enoch, are false books. Enoch 1 is the one quoted by Jude.

There are three books called "The Book of Jasher", which are entirely different books. One is a Hebrew treatise on ethics, an obvious fraud. Another is an easily detected fraud, published in 1751, which claims to have been translated into English by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus. It is still in print, make sure it is not that one. It is sometimes called Pseudo-Jasher to distinguish it from the third, the real Book of Jasher.

The legitimate Hebrew document, that is the Book of Jasher, is the one that I will be discussing.

Titus destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. At that time, a man named Sidrus discovered a hidden library complete and a man hiding there. He had mercy on the man and took him and the books to his Seville, Spain, then called Hispalis. The Jewish college at Cordova, Spain, kept the document, and finally had the book printed in Hebrew in Venice in 1625. It was translated into English by Mr. Samuel of Liverpool, England. At the same time, the pseudo Jasher was being translated, and confusion over which was real, which was fake, made many shy from the real, fearing it was the pseudo one.

By 1833, the proof that the pseudo ones were false were circulating. Some shied away from the book, the real one, fearing it was the one referred to. That fear still exists today in many circles. Because of the fear of the book, Samuel sold his translation to Mordecai M. Noah, a New York publisher, and it was published there in 1840. It was the first English translation of the Book of Jasher ever published. Hebrew scholars have affirmed that the translation is excellent and very faithful to the original Hebrew.

Ginzberg, in his collection, "Legends fo the Jews", quotes from it freely, and it is listed in Jewish encyclopedias as an authentic source. Some do think that it was written in Spain during the 12th century. They think that it was taken from the Midraash, that quoted from the real book of Jasher. This may be true. For the book of Jasher is not a book of the Bible, nor claims to be. It was a historical book, not a Biblical book, when Joshua and Samuel referred to it in the Bible. It therefore is not protected by God, and changes could have been made to it, without His protection. We have only one manuscript from which to make translation, not many thousands as we have of the Bible, to verify its adherence to it not being added to, or parts removed.


We do know that many European forms fo the name were used in Jasher, so the names were updated in the 12th or 13th centuries. Our Bibles have the same sort of thing done. "Yeshua’ has become ‘Jesus’, "Mariam" has become "Mary". We don’t seem upset at the more modern versions of names being in our translations.

I do believe that it was translated from its original form, with more modern names inserted then. It is a history book, and the history of it shows marvelous agreement with the Bible, so other changes do not seem to have been made.

The book is a ‘history’ book, and is not Scripture. We have the book of Josephus, which is also a ‘history book. We have the Encyclopedia Britannica, we have many books to which we look to find information. This book is a valuable source, for it is a book of history authored in the time of Moses. I have studied it, comparing it to the Bible, verifying if it agrees in facts with the Bible or not. It does. I find it very valuable as a history book.

This book claims to be a historical book. I & II Samuel are history books, I & II Kings are also, and I & II Chronicles are also. Can we find apparent discrepancies in those? Yes, we can. Why? Because the number of horses in Solomon’s stable probably varied each year, so the number does not need to be the same in one book as the other. When I studied the Bible’s historical books, I had to figure out some ‘apparent’ but not ‘real’ discrepancies. When I studied Jasher, there are a few that needed study to verify their accuracy.

When Moses did the research for the Pentateuch, and he did, for he refers to 11 other books he got information from, at that time, the author of Jasher’s book seems to have used the same sources, and recorded in more detail the history of events. So, the short scenarios in Genesis about Abraham, have far more detail given in Jasher. Whoever Jasher was, he was obviously working with Moses on those previous writings. The Book of Jasher ends its historical information, shortly after Moses’ death, while Joshua was still living.

We call Deuteronomy to be one of the books of Moses. Yet, chapter 34 of Deuteronomy records up to 30 days at least after Moses died. Who wrote that part? Joshua, Jasher? So, the Book of Jasher was written by a scribe, one who worked with Moses, while Moses compiled writings from Abraham, Noah, etc. Joshua trusted it, and he lived during the time it was being written. So, he knew the author and the research he had done. Samuel still trusted its historical teachings many years later.

The translator of the 1840 version of this book, said this book is a ‘"venerable monument of antiquity. ‘ He also stated that the internal evidence is ‘sufficient to prove it a copy of the book referred to in Joshua 10 and II Samuel 1." This internal evidence can be studied, verified, and shown. The same way the finders of the Books of the Law probably verified those books when they found them after being lost for perhaps as long as 100 years.

II Samuel 1:18 refers to Jasher. Is there a discrepancy in that? There is an apparent one.

"And he (David) bade them to teach the children of Judah to use the bow, behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher."

The Book of Jasher ends in Joshua’s day, how could it refer to David teaching the tribe of Judah to use the bow?

That is a discrepancy, an apparent error. But not an error in Jasher, this apparent error is in II Samuel. How could Samuel quote from something not in Jasher? Some have wanted to throw Samuel’s book out due to that ‘error’. How can we trust it? How can it be the inerrant Word of God? Some who may look for some little discrepancy in Jasher, so they can throw it out, need to look at Samuel’s book and treat it the same!!! LOL

But, to straighten out even those, it is not a discrepancy. In Jasher 56:9, it is said that Judah will learn the use of the bow, and David, obviously knew that, obviously had read the Book of Jasher, and instructed some to teach Judah’s tribe to use the bow. Samuel tells us that David was following the Book of Jasher in his orders to have the tribe of Judah get such teaching.

So, there is not error in Samuel, as some have thought, and not error in Jasher, as some would hope. LOL Samuel read Jasher, David knew of Jasher’s words. We call that a confirmation, not a discrepancy!

 

What does the name "Jasher" mean? Some believe it is the name of the author. It may be. Yet, that name, other than to refer to the book, is not found.

The Hebrew word ‘jasher’ means ‘straight, right, upright’. One translator called the book ‘The Book of the Upright’.

The Hebrew edition of the 1625 version felt that all the events listed were in ‘straight’ order, chronological. The translators of the 1840 version felt that the events listed in Jasher were ‘upright’, i..e. true and honest.

If Jasher is not the author, who is? Could it have been Moses, who researched all the earlier writings of Abraham, etc ? Could it have been a researching scribe who was helping him? Could it have been Joshua, who finished Deuteronomy for Moses, and wrote the Book of Joshua? We don’t know, and perhaps will not know until we reach heaven.

Josephus, in the first century A.D. refers to the Book of Jasher. He seems to agree with the idea that it refers to the uprightness of the facts, and the people whose history is recorded.

Josephus said:

"That 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 is evidence that the Hebrews did not consider the Book of Jasher to be Scripture. They did honor it, preserve it, read it, trust it, but it was considered a ‘history’ book, not a Scripture.

When Ptolemy, king of Egypt, requested to have a copy of the Jewish holy books, the Hebrews would not give them the Holy Scriptures, for he was a gentile. So, they sent him a copy of Jasher. It is said that Ptolemy prized it greatly. When he discovered it was not their holy law, he confronted them. They, then agreed to translate their Scriptures into Greek, and this is the origin of the Septuagint.

In ‘The Legends of the Jews’ by Ginzberg, 1912, the entire account of Enoch and his ascension is from Jasher 3:2, 38. (Volume 1 pp 127-140.)

The end note of Ginzberg (vol 5, pp 157-158) assumes that Jasher is a compilation of earlier books by the Genesis patriarchs, and gives them credit for information about themselves, and only when the account cannot be found elsewhere, is Jasher given as the primary source.

The Book of Jasher corrects an error, one made by archbishop James Ussher. From Jasher, we learn that Noah and Abraham were contemporaries. Yet, Ussher had calculated, using the Bible’s description, that Abraham had been born 60 years later than he had. Abraham, in Jasher, is seen, while young, staying with Noah for a time. This helps explain how Abraham came to the faith we see shown in him, for he lived with one (for a short time) that had seen the great mercy and power of God.

From Genesis 11:32, most commentators had erroneously dated the birth of Abraham to sixty years later than it actually was. Commentators dated his birth at around 2008 A.C.A. (after the creation of Adam). Yet, in reality, it was in 1948 A.C.A.

The cause of the error was that Abraham’s departure from Haran, at age 75 is recorded near the description of the death of Terah, at 205. Those two events were not that close, as we find in Jasher. So, the Bible was not wrong, it was mankind’s misinterpretation of what it said.


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murjahel
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