The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
Why did The PLAIN TRUTH state that The Book of Jasher is a deliberate fraud when a book by that name is mentioned in two places in the Bible?
Some people have assumed that one or another of the books that today fraudulently bear the title "The Book of Jasher" might be the same book called by that name in Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18. This is not true! The spurious books that today exist under the false title "The Book of Jasher" can be historically traced to recent fraudulent origins. Here is the proof that these are recent frauds. In the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, volume 11, in the article "Jasher," we read: "The [original) volume itself has perished.... There have also been several books written which pretended to be the Book of Jasher, or, at all events, bore this title. Three of these are of Jewish origin. One is a moral treatise, written in A.D. 1394 by Rabbi Shabbatai Carmuz Levita, and exists in manuscript in the Vatican Library. Another, by Rabbi "ham (died 1171), is a treatise on the Jewish ritual. It was published in Hebrew in Italy (1544).... The third, which is a fabulous history of the events of the Hexateuch, was probably written by a Spanish Jew of the thirteenth century, and has been published at Venice (1625).... A fourth Book of lasher was a palpable and malicious fraud, perpetrated by Jacob Ilive, an infidel printer and type-founder of Bristol, and published at London, in 1751, [as} The Book of Jasher, translated into English from the Hebrew by Alcuin of Britain, who went on a Pilgrimage into the Holy Land." (Italics are the publisher's.) Notice that all these volumes are recent and spurious! Now let us examine another work which speaks authoritatively on this same subject. In the Davis Dictionary of the Bible, in the article, "Jashar, in A.V. Jasher," we read: "In 1751 there appeared a volume which professed to be an English translation of The Book of Jashar (Jasher), alleged to have been found, but the production was an impudent forgery" (italics ours). Other authorities have equally proved the fraudulent qualities of these books. In the Encyclopaedia Biblica, volume 11, in the article, "Jasher," we also read: "In later Christian times 'the Book of Jasher' is the title of a ritualistic treatise by Jacob B. Meir (died 1171), and of one or two forgeries which are only remarkable for the undeserved success they obtained...." The fraudulent volumes deceptively labeled "The Book of Jasher" contain error and contradict Scripture. They were written one to two thousand years after the authentic "Book of Jasher" had become lost. In order to cloak their fraudulent works with respectability and make them look innocent — so that readers would trust the lies and hypocrisy contained in those books — the authors of these forgeries gave them a respected Biblical name. No one need be concerned about any fraudulent book that claims to be a part of the Bible. God has not left us in doubt. There are ample records, both in the Bible and in secular sources, to show us which books are Scripture and which are not. God wisely allowed the original Book of Jasher to disappear because it, like many other contemporary works of the judges, was not needed for our instruction today. If God had wanted us to have The Book of Jasher as a part of the Bible, we would have it in the Bible today. God, however, purposed that only a few brief excerpts from it be quoted in His inspired revelation, the Bible. The Book of Jasher referred to in the Bible was never destined to be Scripture. Any book claiming that title today is a deliberate fraud!