International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
JASHAR, BOOK OF
ja'-shar, jash'-ar (cepher ha-yashar; the King James Version Book of Jasher, margin "the book of the upright"): The title of an ancient Hebrew national song-book (literally, "book of the righteous one") from which two quotations are made in the Old Testament:
(1) Joshua 10:12-14, the command of Joshua to the sun and moon, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon.. Is not this written in the book of Jashar?" (see BETH-HORON; Septuagint in this place omits the reference to Jashar); and
(2) 2 Samuel 1:8, "the song of the bow," or lament of David over Saul and Jonathan.
(3) Some conjecture a third extract in 1 Kings 8:12, "Then spake Solomon, Yahweh hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness." The words of Yahweh are quoted by Septuagint in 8:53 as "written in the book of the song" (en biblio tes odes), and it is pointed out that the words "the song" (in Hebrew ha-shir) might easily be a corruption of ha-yashar. A similar confusion ("song" for "righteous") may explain the fact that the Peshitta Syriac of Joshua has for a title "the book of praises or hymns." The book evidently was a well-known one, and may have been a gradual collection of religious and national songs. It is conjectured that it may have included the So of Deborah (Judges 5), and older pieces now found in the Pentateuch (e.g. Genesis 4:23, 14; Genesis 9:25-27; 27:27-29); this, however, is uncertain. On the curious theories and speculations of the rabbis and others about the book (that it was the Book of the Law, of Genesis, etc.), with the fantastic reconstructive theory of Dr. Donaldson in his Jasbar, see the full article in HDB.