Book of Jasher (biblical references)

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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.

Biblical references[edit]

The book appears to be referenced from around the reign of David.

To teach the Sons of Judah the use of the bow; behold it is written in the Book of the Upright (per haYYāšār; Hebrew: עַל־סֵפֶר הַיׇּשׇׁר‬; literally, "upon the Book of the Upright").

David's lament for Jonathan immediately follows.[1] The King James Version of the English Bible has the inclusion "the use of" in italics, material its translator(s) added to render the text into what they considered understandable and comfortable English. In other versions, such as the English Standard Version, David taught his Judaians The Bow, a hypothesised poetic lament of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.[2] If that interpretation offered in the ESV footnote is accepted, then such a Bow was a lament or a tune contained in the Book of Jashar or which that book also says was taught to the Judaians.

    • The Septuagint translation renders sefer hayashar in both cases as 'Book of the Just'. It also misses the reference to the bow. It reads:
And he gave orders to teach it the sons of Iouda: behold it is written in the Book of the Just.[3]
  • Joshua 9 cites it amid its depiction of Joshua's military exploits in the land of Canaan, specifically after Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, and his allies attacked the people of Gibeon for allying with Israel following which Joshua and the Israelites came to its aid. When "YHWH gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel", Joshua told the sun to stand still over Gibeon and the moon to stand still over Valley of Aijalon (Joshua 9:1-2).
  • Joshua 10:13 states:
And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed,
until the people had avenged themselves on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of the Upright (per haYYāšār)?[4]

The presence of this event in a book of poetry has been interpreted as a poetic description of the prolonged battle.[5]

According to the Medieval Jewish scholar Rashi, Sefer HaYashar refers to the Pentateuch, as a fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy regarding Ephraim — “His seed will fill the nations” (Gen. 48:19) — and that this prophecy refers to Joshua's renown after the miracle of the standing of the sun.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blue Letter Bible, KJV 1 Sam. 1:18.
  2. ^ The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV): Containing the Old and New Testaments. Wheaton: Crossway. 2007.
    ESV 2 Samuel 1:17-18 text reads: "And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said: …."
    ESV 2 Samuel 1:18 footnote 1, at "he said it," reads: "Septuagint; Hebrew the Bow, which may be the name of the lament's tune."
  3. ^ Blue Letter Bible, LXX 2 Sam. 1:18, accessed 14 January 2014.
    The LXX text recorded in BLB is: καὶ εἶπεν τοῦ διδάξαι τοὺς υἱοὺς Ιουδα ἰδοὺ γέγραπται ἐπὶ βιβλίου τοῦ εὐθοῦς.
  4. ^ Blue Letter Bible, KJV Josh. 10:13.
  5. ^ Harry Whittaker. Bible Studies. Cannock: Biblia. pp. 72–73. 'The sun stood still.'
  6. ^ "Yehoshua - Joshua - Chapter 10". The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. The Judaica Press.