One of the chief objections to the Book of Jasher is that our oldest known surviving copy is the printed Hebrew edition of 1625. Some have argued that the book itself was a forgery created by Rabbis in the Middle Ages.
In the past I have presented other evidence for the value of the Book of Jasher and also other evidence for its ancient origin.
We at Project Davar recently discovered yet another important evidence for the ancient origin of this book, and incredible parallel with a document found among the Dead Sea Scrolls known as the Genesis Apocryphon.
The Genesis Apocryphon records a pseudepigraphal conversation between the biblical figure Lamech, son of Methuselah, and his son, Noah, as well as first and third person narratives associated with Abraham.
Now we read in the Book of Jasher (in parallel to Gen. 12:19-20):
29 And in the morning the king called for Abram and said to him, What is this thou hast done to me? Why didst thou say, She is my sister, owing to which I took her unto me for a wife, and this heavy plague has therefore come upon me and my household.
30 Now therefore here is thy wife, take her and go from our land lest we all die on her account. And Pharaoh took more cattle, men servants and maid servants, and silver and gold, to give to Abram, and he returned unto him Sarai his wife.
31 And the king took a maiden whom he begat by his concubines, and he gave her to Sarai for a handmaid.
32 And the king said to his daughter, It is better for thee my daughter to be a handmaid in this man's house than to be mistress in my house, after we have beheld the evil that befell us on account of this woman.
33 And Abram arose, and he and all belonging to him went away from Egypt; and Pharaoh ordered some of his men to accompany him and all that went with him.
Now the Genesis Apocryphon gives a first person account of these same events as given in the first person by Abraham with striking similarity:
So he called me to himself and asked me,"What have you done to me because of your wife [Sar]ai? You told 27 me,'She is my sister,' yet she was actually your wife! I took her as my own wife! Here she is; take her, go, depart from 28 all the provinces of Egypt! But first, pray for me and my house that this evi]l spirit may be exorcised from us." So I prayed for him, that blasphemer, 29 and laid my hands upon his [he]ad. Thereupon the plague was removed from him, the evil [spirit] exorcised [from him, and he was hea]led. The king rose and [in]formed 30 me . . . and the king swore to me with an oath that [he had not touched] her. Then [they brought] m[e] 31 S[ar]ai. The king gave her much [silver and g]old, and great quantities of linen and purple-dyed garments [ . . . ] [he put them] 32 before her, and before Hagar as well. He restored her to me and assigned men to escort [me out of Egypt . .
(Genesis Apocryphon Col. 21 lines 26-32)
In both accounts Pharaoh gives Abram and Sarai gold and silver and other riches when they are escorted out of Egypt!
This is important because the Genesis Apocryphon was lost from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, until its discovery among the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. This document would not have been available to Jews in the middle ages!
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And our project to put the original Hebrew of the Books of the Apocrypha up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We will start posting this material very soon, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it
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