(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) What is the Book of Jasher? The Bible mentions it a couple of times, but there is no book called Jasher in the Bible. I first came across it four years ago today, and I meant to do a post on this then, but quickly forgot about it. The only reason I remembered today is because I’d posted about it on Facebook at the time, and it appeared in my memories.
As you can see, there’s a second reference to the Book of Jasher in the Bible. It’s found in Joshua.
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.
So what exactly is the Book of Jasher? The Wikipedia for it says,
The Book of Jasher (also, Jashar) or the Book of the Upright or the Book of the Just Man (Hebrew: סֵפֶר הַיׇּשׇׁר; transliteration: sēfer hayyāšār) is an unknown book mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The translation “Book of the Just Man” is the traditional Greek and Latin translation, while the transliterated form “Jasher” is found in the King James Bible, 1611.
During my research, I quickly found the entire text of the book online, and it seems to have a biblical feel to it. It starts off with the Creation story and everything. But something just didn’t feel right about it. Then I remembered something about the Wikipedia page. It calls it an “unknown book”. How could it be unknown if I’m staring at the text. So I kept looking and quickly found my answer, in the form of another Wikipedia page.
The Book of Jasher, also called Pseudo-Jasher, is an 18th-century literary forgery by Jacob Ilive. It purports to be an English translation by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus of the lost Book of Jasher. It is sometimes called Pseudo-Jasher to distinguish it from the midrashic Sefer haYashar (Book of the Upright, Naples, 1552), which incorporates genuine Jewish legend.
What I was reading was a fake. In fact, there are several books title Book of Jasher which claim to be the one mentioned in scripture. In actuality, the original book has been lost forever, with these two biblical verses being the full extent of what we really know about it.