WHAT CAUSED THE ERRORS IN JASHER?
1. And Terah took his son, Abram, and his grandson, Lot, the son of Haran, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, the wife of his son Abram, and all the souls of his household and went with them from Ur casdim to go to the land of Canaan. And when they came as far as the land of Haran, they remained there, for it was exceedingly good land for pasture, and of sufficient extent for those who accompanied them.
2. And the people of the land of Haran saw that Abram was good and upright with God and men, and that the Lord his God was with him, and some of the people of the land of Haran came and joined Abram, and he taught them the instruction of the Lord and His ways; and these men remained with Abram in his house and they adhered to him.
3. And Abram remained in the land three years, and at the expiration of three years, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am the Lord Who brought thee forth from Ur Casdim, and delivered thee from the hands of all thine enemies.
4. And now therefore if thou wilt hearken to My voice, and keep My commandments, My statutes and My laws, then will I cause thy enemies to fall before thee, and I will multiply thy seed like the stars of heaven, and I will send My blessing upon all the works of thy hands, and thou shalt lack nothing.
5. Arise now, take thy wife and all belonging to thee and go tot he land of Canaan and remain there, and I will there be unto thee for a God, and I will bless thee. And Abram rose and took his wife and all belonging to him, and he went to the land of Canaan as the Lord had told him; and Abram was fifty years old when he went from Haran.
6. And Abram came to the land of Canaan and dwelt in the midst of the city, and he there pitched his tent amongst the children of Canaan, inhabitants of the land.
7. And the Lord appeared to Abram when he came to the land of Canaan, and said to him, This is the land which I gave unto thee and to they seed after thee forever, and I will make thy seed like the stars of heaven, and I will give unto thy seed for an inheritance all the lands which thou seest.
8. And Abram built an altar in the place where God had spoken to him, and Abram there called upon the name of the Lord.
9. At that time, at the end of three years of Abram's dwelling in the land of Canaan, in that year Noah died, which was the fifty-eighth year of the life of Abram; and all the days that Noah lived were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.
10. And Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, he, his wife, and all belonging to him, and all those that accompanied him, together with those that joined him from the people of the land; but Nahor, Abram's brother, and Terah his father, and Lot, the son of Haran, and all belonging to them dwelt in Haran.
11. In the fifth year of Abram's dwelling in the land of Canaan the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and all the cities of the plain revolted from the power of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam; for all the kings of the cities of the plain had served Chedorlaomer for twelve years, and given him a yearly tax, but in those days in the thirteenth year, they rebelled against him.
12. And in the tenth year of Abram's dwelling in the land of Canaan there was war between Nimrod, king of Shinar, and Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Nimrod came to fight with Chedorlaomer and to subdue him.
13. For Chedorlaomer was at that time on of the princes of the hosts of Nimrod, and when all the people at that tower were dispersed and those that remained were also scattered upon the face of the earth, Chedorlaomer went to the land of Elam, and reigned over it and rebelled against his lord.
14. And in those days when Nimrod saw that the cities of the plain had rebelled, he came with pride and anger to war with Chedorlaomer, and Nimrod assembled all his princes and subjects, about seven hundred thousand men, and went against Chedorlaomer, and Chedorlaomer went out to meet him with five thousand men, and they prepared for battle in the valley of Babel which is between Elam and Shinar.
15. And all those kings fought there, and Nimrod and his people were smitten before the people of Chedorlaomer, and there fell from Nimrod's men about six hundred thousand, and Mardon, the king's son fell amongst them.
16. And Nimrod fled and returned in shame and disgrace to his land, and he was under subjection to Chedorlaomer for a long time, and Chedorlaomer returned to his land, and sent princes of his host to the kings that dwelt around him, to Arioch, king of Elasar, and to Tidal, king of Goyim, and made a covenant with them, and they were all obedient to his commands.
17. And it was in the fifteenth year of Abram's dwelling in the land of Canaan, which is the seventieth year of the life of Abram, in that year and he said to him, I am the Lord who brought thee out from Ur Casdim to give thee this land for an inheritance.
18. Now therefore walk before Me, and be perfect and keep My commands, for to the and to thy seed I will give this land for an inheritance, from the river Mitzraim unto the great river Euphrates.
19. And thou shalt come to thy fathers in peace and in good age, and the fourth generation shall return here in this land and shall inherit it forever; and Abram built an altar, and he called upon the name of the Lord Who appeared to him, and he brought up sacrifices upon the altar to the Lord.
20. At that time, Abram returned and went to Haran to see his father and mother, and his father's household, and Abram and his wife and all belonging to him returned to Haran, and Abram dwelt in Haran five years.
21. And many of the people of Haran, about seventy two men, followed Abram, and Abram taught them the instruction of the Lord and His ways, and he taught them to know the Lord.
22.In those days, the Lord appeared to Abram in Haran, and He said to him, Behold, I spoke unto thee, these twenty years back saying,
23. Go forth from thy land, from thy birth-place and from thy father's house, to the land which I have shown thee to give it to thee and to thy children, for there in that land will I bless thee, and make thee a great nation, and make thy name great, and in thee shall the families of the earth be blessed.
24. Now therefore arise, go forth from this place, thou, thy wife, and all belonging to thee, also every one born in thy house, and all the souls thou hast made in Haran, and bring them out with thee from here, and rise to return to the land of Canaan.
25. And Abram arose and took his wife Sarai, and all belonging to him, and all that were born to him in his house, and the souls which they had made in Haran, and they came out to go to the land of Canaan.
26. And Abram went and returned to the land of Canaan, according to the word of the Lord. And Lot the son of his brother Haran went with him, and Abram was seventy-five years old when he went forth from Haran to return to the land of Canaan.
27. And he came to the land of Canaan according to the word of the Lord to Abram, and he pitched his tent and he dwelt in the plain of Mamre, and with him was Lot, his brother's son, and all belonging to him.
28. And the Lord again appeared to Abram, and said, To thy seed will I give this land; and he there built an altar to the Lord Who appeared to him, which is sill to this day in the land of Mamre.
HOW DO WE EXPLAIN ERRORS IN JASHER???
Who was Sarai? According to Jasher 12:44, Sarai was Milca's sister, and the daughter of Haran, Abram's brother. This would make her to be Abram's niece. Yet in the Bible, Genesis 12:18-19, and in Genesis 20:12, we learn that Sarai was Abram's half sister. She was the daughter of his father, Terah, but not of his mother. Perhaps, this is just conjecture, to hide the fact of Sarai not being born of Terah’s wife, she was presented as the daughter of Haran. We find that kind of thing often happening even yet in our day, where to hide a sin, an alternate story is given. Moses wrote under inspiration, and the truth is presented therein.
"...yet, indeed, she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife."
At the time of this marriage, intermarriage between family members was not against God's law. It was later condemned by the law given to Moses in Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-21, Deuteronomy 22:30, 27:20-23. Som Abram’s marriage to Sarai was not unlawful.
This is just one of the errors in the book of Jasher. The author was writing a historical book, and was relating from sources provided, and did not have the Holy Spirit inspiring corrections to the written records. We know that God has protected His Word, and therefore, we put our trust in the Bible. Whenever any writing, or scientific announcement is contrary to the Word of God, we, as Christians, should trust the Word of God. Either, the other writing is in error, or our understanding of the Word of God is in error. The Word of God is the infallible message of God.
Abraham was not the first born of Terah's sons, but the third, and yet, the Bible tells us in Genesis 11:26, that Terah brought forth Abraham at 70 years old. That would have made Terah 38 when Haran was born. Many of us have concluded from the Bible accounts that Abraham would have been born when Terah was 130, sixty years later, because of the faulty concept that Terah died when Abraham left Haran, and if that were true, Abraham was 75, and Terah was 205 years old. (205-75 = 130) Terah lived longer after, Abraham had left, and therefore Gen. 11:26 is telling us that Abraham was born when Terah was 70, not Haran. This is proven to us by the death of Eber (Jasher 30:15, and Genesis 11:16-17) Since Jasher agrees with the Bible here, we conclude Jasher to be right. It would also make Jasher 13:9 to be correct, when it says that Abraham was 58 when Noah died. This would have been impossible if Abraham had been born 60 years later. Therefore, the book of Jasher as helped us straighten out a misconception that we have had about what the Bible is saying. The Bible was not wrong, but our conception of it was.
What caused such errors in Jasher?
There are some more errors of dates and years.
[Ussher] (age when next was born)
Date Hebrew Bible // Samaritan text // Septuagint // Jasher
4004 Adam 130 130 230 130 (2:1)
3874 Seth 105 105 205 105 (2:2)
3769 Enos 90 90 190 90 (2:10)
3679 Cainan 70 70 170 90 (2:15)
3609 Mahalaleel 65 65 165 65 (2:37)
3544 Jared 162 62 162 62 (2:37)
3382 Enoch 65 65 165 65 (3:1)
3317 Methuselah 187 67 187 87 (3:13)
3130 Lamech 182 53 188 180+(4:11)
2948 Noah 502 502 502 ---
2246 Shem 100 100 100 ---
2348 (the flood) 1656 A.C.A. 1307 A.C.A. 2262A.C.A. ---
2346 Arphaxad 35 135 135 ---
Cainan -- -- 130 ---
2311 Salah 30 130 130 ___
2281 Eber 34 134 134 ---
2247 Peleg 30 130 130 ---
2217 Reu 32 132 132 ---
2185 Serug 30 130 130 ---
2155 Nahor 29 79 79 ---
2126 Terah 70 70 70 70
(when Abram born, 38 when first born, Haran was born)
1999 Abraham 100 --- --- 100 (21:3)
1896 Isaac 60 --- --- 60 (26:16)
1836 Jacob 91 --- --- ---
WHOLE LIFE OF EACH
B.C. Hebrew text // Samaritan // Septuagint / / Jasher
4004 Adam 930 930 930 930 (3:14)
3874 Seth 912 912 912 912 (4:10)
3769 Enos 905 905 905 905 (5:1)
3679 Cainan 910 910 910 910 (5:2)
3609 Mahalaleel 895 895 895 895 (5:3)
3544 Jared 962 962 847 962 (5:4)
3382 Enoch *** (365) (365) (365) (365)(4:1)
3317 Methuselah 969 720 969 960 (5:36)
3130 Lamech 777 653 753 770 (5:20)
2948 Noah 950 950 950 950 (13:10)
2246 Shem 600 600 600 600 (28:24)
The book of Jasher gives valuable, additional information to the Genesis and Exodus accounts. This is a historical record. Can we trust this record? The writers of the Bible obviously did for they quoted to it.
Joshua 10:13 (KJV)
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.
2 Samuel 1:18 (KJV)
18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.
There are errors due to mis-copying, adding to, and changing! The one source we can, and must, trust explicitly is the Bible. The Bible has been guarded by God to be His infallible Word when properly translated and interpreted. With Jasher, we have no such guarantee. It was referred to in the Bible as a historical record, but not as the holy, inspired, and divine Word of God.
The permanent value of Jasher lies, not in its infallibility, as with the Word of God, but in its additional, interesting, thought provoking details to stories, and characters, we know from the Bible. There are many reliable accounts in Jasher of the deeds of the early patriarchs. All stories need checked for detail with the Bible, and if there is a discrepancy, we need to definitely accept the Bible's truth.
On some points, there may have been simple copying errors. On others, where doctrinal error, and Biblical agreement is lacking, the distortion was probably intentionally added to back up the false doctrines of those inserting the false facts.
The Jews rejected the book of Enoch, after many centuries of acceptance, when the early Christians began to use it to prove that Jesus was the true Messiah. Because the doctrine that the Jewish people wanted to believe about Jesus was contrary to Enoch, they shunned the whole book. The book of II Esdras (The Prophecy of Ezra) was sloppily translated by Jerome, so as to obscure it and make it unusable by the church. He did this because it clearly taught the worthlessness of praying for the dead, a doctrine that Jerome and some others had begun to propagate. So, the distortion of facts, and the changing of the historical records, and the sloppy translations have happened often before.
Unfortunately, some people have distorted, changed, and obscured some of the book of Jasher. How valuable a book this would have been, without such errors. Jasher is still valuable, and a great source book. However, we must carefully interpret it, and check its details.
According to I Maccabees, around 167 B.C., Mattathias Maccabaeus, a country priest, was ordered by a Greek soldier to sacrifice on a pagan altar (which would have broken the Jewish law). Mattathias "burned with zeal for the law" (I Mac. 2:26), and killed a fellow Jew who obeyed the soldier. This kind of zeal to protect their doctrine and teaching is the same reason that many of the old texts (other than the Bible, which they were terrified to change) were altered in those days. The Maccabaeans often invoked the "covenant of Phineas" (from the book of Numbers) to validate their swift, deadly, or otherwise forbidden actions.
(Phineas had taken a spear, and killed a couple who were brazenly committing adultery in the camp of Israel while Moses was preaching against such sin. God stopped the plague which had already killed 23,000 because of the "zeal of Phineas". A blessing was given Phineas and his descendants for such action.)
The priesthood, the Maccabees, and the rabbis used this story to validate strong, and otherwise sinful actions. Their zeal for the law, and for their doctrines (some of which were in error) let them to distort, change, and re-write any other work to match their concept.
Since the law forbade one to marry his sister, and the Bible could not be altered, they did alter Jasher, to make Abraham not appear to be quite as contrary to the law as it showed. When the ages of Haran, Abram, and others did not seem to add up properly, they took their concept of the truth and inserted it. Some errors were probably simply copying errors.
Our Savior believed in the infallibility of the Word, the Biblical writers of the Bible believed it, the apostles taught it, the early church accepted it. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. "Inspired" comes from the Latin, and means "in-breathed". It is derived from two words, "in" and "spiro" which mean "to breathe into." The Bible is God-inspired, and was written down by human hands, and the Holy Spirit of God has endeavored down through the ages to preserve its infallibility, despite efforts of false prophets, heretics, and the devil to defile it.
Down through the centuries, the Jewish people meticulously copied the Scriptures. It was done with such great care, that every time they came to the name of God in copying the manuscripts, they stood and prayed, and then sat and wrote His name. If an error was made in one word, the entire manuscript was destroyed. They were meticulously careful in copying the Word of God. In other books, they were not so careful. They were known to make great changes, and feel righteous about it.
The most ancient of copies of the Word of God came to us from the dry Egyptian tombs, or from the Dead Sea caves. Nowhere else could they have withstood the effects of time and weather. The thousands of copies we have, do prove that the Word of God was carefully copied. When we compare the most ancient, with ones copied hundreds of years later, we find accuracy within one hundredth of one per cent. In most cases of error, it is simply the misspelling of a word, and in no case does any error affect a doctrine of the Bible.
In Jasher, designed changes, and careless copying, make it imperative that we remember that it is the Bible alone we can apply infallibility. A few other errors will be shown later.