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The Book of Jasher Unveiled

By

James Scott Trimm

 

 

 

Translated from the original Hebrew by James Trimm

The Book of Jasher is one of the so-called "Lost Books" of the Bible.
The Book of Jasher is twice cited in the Tanak:

"Is not this written in the Book of Jasher?" (Joshua 10:13)

"Behold it is written in the Book of Jasher." (2Sam. 1:18)

This fresh Messianic Sacred Name translation from the original Hebrew is at

http://nazarenespace.com/page/books-dvds.
The term "Book of Jasher" is a bit misleading. This was not a book written by someone named "Jasher". In fact the word "Jasher" (Hebrew: Yashar) means "Upright" so that the Hebrew Sefer HaYashar is "The Upright Book". The definite article "Ha" tips us off that this is not a person's name but a modifier for the word "book".

There are two references to Jasher in the Tanak:

"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
(Joshua 10:13)

(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
(2 Samuel 1:18)


From these two references in the Tanak there are several things we can learn about this mysterious book.

From the usage in Joshua 10:13 we can determine:

1. That Jasher contained the account of the prolonged day mentioned in Joshua 10.

2. That Jasher was in circulation by the time the book of Joshua was written. Since Joshua was written prior to the death of Rahab, Jasher must have been written by that time as well.

3. The Book of Jasher had enough credibility that Joshua would cite it as support for his assertion of the prolonged day.

The usage in 2Sam. 1:18 tells us:

4. The Book of Jasher supported an admonition to teach the son's of Judah "the bow".


The identity of this lost book has been a matter of much speculation over the centuries.

The ancient translations and paraphrases offer little help to us in identifying the Book of Jasher.

The Greek LXX omits the entire phrase from Joshua 10:13 and translates the the phrase to mean "The Book of the Upright" in 2Sam. 1:18. The Latin Vulgate has in both places "Liber Justorum" "The Book of the Upright Ones". In the Targums the phrase is Paraphrased as "The Book of the Law".

The Aramaic Peshitta Tanak has "The Book of Praises" in Joshua 10:13 and "The Book of the Song" in 2Sam. 1:18. This may have resulted fromma misreading of YUD-SHIN-RESH (Upright) as SHIN-YUD-RESH (Song). And some have speculated that the book in question was actually a book of songs which included reference to Joshua 10:13 in the lyrics of a song. This theory also takes "the bow" in 2Sam. 1:18 to be the name of a song.


LAID UP IN THE TEMPLE

In his own recounting of the event of the prolonged day of Joshua 10 the first century Jewish Roman historian Josephus identifies the Book of Jasher mentioned by Joshua as one of "the books laid up in the Temple" (Ant. 5:1:17). Thus the Book of Jasher was known to Josephus and was known to be among the books laid up in the Temple in the first century.


The 1625 edition of Jasher has a Preface, which says in part (translated from the Hebrew):

...when the holy city Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus,
all the military heads went in to rob and plunder, and
among the officers of Titus was one whose name was Sidrus,
who went in to search, and found in Jerusalem a house
of great extent...

According to the preface this Sidrus found a false wall in this house with a hidden room. In this room he found an old man hiding with provisions and many books including the Book of Jasher The old man found favor with Sidrus who took the old man and his books with him.

The preface says "they went from city to city and from country to country until they reached Sevilia [a city in Spain]." At that time "Seville" was called "Hispalis" and was the capital of the Roman province of Hispalensis. The manuscript was donated to the Jewish college at Cordova, Spain.

According to the 1625 edition of Jasher the first printed edition of the Book of Jasher was published in Naples Italy in 1552. However no copies of the 1552 edition are known to have survived. The earliest surviving Hebrew edition known is the 1625 edition.

The Book of Jasher is a narrative beginning with the creation of man and ends with the entry of Israel into Canaan.

The Book of Jasher passage related to Joshua 10:13 reads as follows:

"And when they were smiting, the day was declining toward evening, and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies.

And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Joshua, and the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day."
(Jasher 88:63-64)

The Book of Jasher passage which relates to 2Sam. 1:18 involves Jacob's last words to his son Judah:

"Only teach thy sons the bow and all weapons of war, in order that
they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his
enemies."
(Jasher 56:9)

This reads very similar to the midrash which gives these last words as:

"Thou, my son, art stronger than all thy brethren,
and from thy loins will kings arise. Teach thy children
how they may protect themselves from enemies and evil-doers"

It would seem that the author of Jasher did not create this account to fit with 2Sam. 1:18 since the same account occurs in the midrash (which itself may have been drawn from Jasher).


Certainly many serious scholars have concluded that this Book of Jasher is authentic. The well known Hebraist and Rabbinic Scholar (and translator of the 1840 Book of Jasher) Moses Samuel wrote of Jasher:


"...the book is, with the exception of some doubtful parts,
a venerable monument of antiquity; and that, notwithstanding
some few additions have been made to it in comparatively
modern times, it still retains sufficient to prove it a copy
of the book referred to in Joshua, ch. x, and 2 Samuel, ch. 1."
- Moses Samuel - Hebraist and Rabbinic Scholar

And my old friend and mentor, the late Dr. Cyrus Gordon (who was the world's leading Semitist until his death) said:

"There can be little doubt that the book of Jasher was a
national epic... The time is ripe for a fresh investigation
of such genuine sources of Scripture, particularly against
the background of the Dead Sea Scrolls."
- Dr. Cyrus Gordon



NEW EDITION OF JASHER

I have in recent months completed work on the new translation of the "lost" "Book of Jasher" (cited in Josh. 10:13 & 2Sam. 1:18) from the original Hebrew. This has been a major project, taking several weeks to complete. This is the first "Messianic", "Sacred Name" version actually translated from the original Hebrew. (http://nazarenespace.com/page/books-dvds). This edition includes a number of passages which were (for whatever reason) omitted from the 1840 Moses Samuel translation which has circulated as the only available English translation until now. (The version published by Moshe K. is merely a revision of the 1840 English edition without any consultation of the original Hebrew.)



In my work on Jasher I have found that many Hebrew sections (some of them lengthy and important) have been omitted from all current English editions (Including Moshe's K's RSTNE).

I have also found that the English titles of Elohim used in Moses Samuel's edition do not accurately reflect the Sacred Names used in the actual Hebrew, and therefore the "True Name" edition produced by Moshe K. does not contain the true Sacred Names at all.

The English translation of the Book of Jasher that is in current use was made my Moses Samuel in 1839 and published in 1840 and again in 1887 and has been published several times since in reprints of those editions.

There is also a "True Name" edition which was produced by Moshe Koniuchowsky using the Moses Samuel translation as a base text.

Moses Samual's translation was a monumental work in its time, but it does include many errors, and it cannot be used to produce an accurate Sacred Name version of Jasher.

There are several passages in which Moses Samuel failed to include passages, some of them lengthy and important, in his translation.

For example Jasher 1:36

Moses Samuel Translates:

1:36 And Irad was born to Enoch, and Irad begat Mechuyael and
Mechuyael begat Methusael.


Moshe Koniuchowsky's "Restoration True Name Edition" has:

1:36 And Irad was born to Chanok, and Irad begat Mechuyael and
Mechuyael begat Methusael.


However upon examining the Hebrew text I found that Moses Samuel had neglected a line of text and failed to include "and M'tushael begat Lamech".

The Hebraic-Roots Version of the Book of Jasher reads here as follows:

1:36 And Irad was born to Chanoch, and Irad begat M'chuyael and
M'chuyael begat M'tushael and M'tushael begat Lamech.


Now lets look at Jasher 3:3

Moses Samuel translates:


3:3 And it was at the expiration of many years, whilst he was
serving the Lord, and praying before him in his house, that an angel
of the Lord called to him from Heaven, and he said, Here am I.


Moshe Koniuchowsky's "Restoration True Name Edition" has:

3:3 And it was at the expiration of many years, while he was serving
YHWH, and praying before him in his house, that a malach of the Lord
called to him from ha shamayim, and he said, Hinayni.

However, once again, in examining the original Hebrew I found that Moses Samuel had failed to include a section of text.

Thus the Hebraic Roots Version of Jasher reads:

3:3 And it was at the end of many days and years, while he was
serving before YHWH, and praying before YHWH in [his] house, that an
angel of YHWH called to him from Heaven saying: Chanoch, Chanoch,
and he said, Here am I.

In Jasher 3:22 There is an even longer segment omitted by Moses
Samuel.


Here the Moses Samuel Translation reads:

3:22 And the day came when Enoch went forth and they all assembled
and came to him, and Enoch spoke to them the words of the Lord and
he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and they bowed down before him
and they said, May the king live! May the king live!


Moshe Koniuchowsky's "Restoration True Name Edition" has:

3:22 And the day came when Chanok went forth and they all assembled
and came to him, and Enoch spoke to them the words of YHWH and he
taught them wisdom and knowledge, and they bowed down before him and
they said, May the melech live! May the melech live!


Once again an examination of the Hebrew demonstrated that Moses
Samuel left out a section of text, this time a fairly lengthy one.

The Hebraic-Roots Version of Jasher reads here as follows:

3:22 And the day came when Chanoch went forth and they all assembled
and came to him, and Chanoch spoke to them all the words [of YHWH]
and he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and he taught them the fear
of YHWH. And all the sons of men feared him greatly and they were
astonished by him concerning his wisdom. And all the land bowed to
his face and they said, May the king live! May the king live!

Another example is in Jasher 10:19

Moses Samuel has:

10:19 And the children of Ham were Cush, Mitzraim, Phut and Canaan
according to their generation and cities.

Moshe Koniuchowsky's "Restoration True Name Edition" has:

10:19 And the children of Ham were Cush, Mitzrayim, Phut and Kanaan
according to

their generation and cities.

However the HRV Version of Jasher will restore a LARGE missing section in this

verse as follows:

10:19 And the children of Ham the son of Noach went also and built to
themselves cities in places where they were scattered and called also
the names of the cities by their names and by their occurrences and
these are the names of all their cities according to their families
which built to them in those days after the tower and the children of
Ham were Kush, Mitzraim, Put and Kanaan according to their generation
and cities.

Moses Samuel in his 1840 translation seems to have omitted everything between the first and second appearances of "the children of Ham". He must have taken his eyes off of the text and then found the key phrase "the children of Ham" in the wrong place.


Another example is in Jasher 19:36

Moses Samuel has:
19:36 And in the city of Admah there was a woman to whom they did the
like.

Moshe Koniuchowsky's "Restoration True Name Edition" has:
19:36 And in the city of Admah there was a woman to whom they did the
same.

The Hebraic Roots Version of Jasher reads as follows:

19:36 And also in the city of Admah there was a certain girl, a
daughter of a noble of the men of Admah and they did the same thing to
her.


OTHER MISTRANSLATIONS

In Jasher 4:12 Moses Samuel mistakenly translates the phrase "rebelled against God". Moshe K's version has "rebelled against Elohim" but the actual Hebrew has "rebelled against the ground" as the HRV version of
Jasher reads.


In Jasher 6:36 Moses Samuel has the phrase "the earth and the heavens"

Moshe Koniuchowsky also has "the earth and the heavens"

The Hebrew actually reads: HaEretz V'HaYamim "the land and the seas" as the HRV version of Jasher reads.

The Hebrew word ERETZ can mean either "land" or "earth" however Moses Samuel misread YAMIM ("seas") as SHAMAYIM ("heavens").


A TRUE SACRED NAME EDITION

There are also many passages in which Moses Samuel failed to accurately translate "Sacred Names". Since Moshe Koniuchowsky's version simply revises Samuel's translation without consulting the Hebrew, the result, though called a "True Name Edition" often does not contain the True Sacred Names which actually appear in the original Hebrew text of Jasher.


For example:

Jasher 1:10

"...and she transgressed the word of God..."
- Jasher 1:10, Moses Samuel Translation of 1840


"...and she transgressed the word of Elohim..."
- Jasher 1:10, Moshe K. "True Name" version

But the Hebrew actually has:

"...and she transgressed the word of YHWH..."
- Jasher 1:10, Hebraic Roots Version- James Trimm


And again just five verses later:

Jasher 1:15

"...and God turned and inclined to Able..."
- Jasher 1:15, Moses Samuel Translation of 1840

"...and Elohim turned and inclined to Avel..."
- Jasher 1:15, Moshe K. "True Name" version

But the Hebrew actually has:

"...and YHWH turned and inclined to Havel..."
- Jasher 1:15, Hebraic Roots Version


And in Jasher 2:24

"...I obtained him from the Almighty God."
- Jasher 2:24, Moses Samuel

"...I obtained him from the Almighty Elohim."
- Jasher 2:24, Moshe K. "True Name" version

But the text actually reads:

"...I obtained him from El Shaddai."
- Jasher 2:24, Hebraic Roots Version


(These are just a few examples from the first two chapters)


MORE

In Jasher 19:2 we are told that Avraham's servant gave sound-alike names to the wicked judges of Sodom and Amorah (Gamorrah). In the editions of Moses Samuel and Moshe K. there is no explaination as to these sound-alike names. However the HRV version of Jasher has footnotes to each of these four alternate names explaining their actual meaning as "word plays" making fun of these wicked judges.


This fresh Messianic Sacred Name translation from the original Hebrew is at http://nazarenespace.com/page/books-dvds


James Scott Trimm
Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim
http://www.wnae.org

The Book of Jasher in a fresh Sacred Name translation from the Hebrew, including passages which were inadvertently omitted from prior translations is available at (click on the book below):



Translated from the original Hebrew by James Trimm

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