It is important to understand if the two extant versions of the book are fact or fiction. Most scholars have tried to determine with absolute certainty the authenticity of the forged versions. Therefore, if the extant versions cannot be disqualified by the existing means at hand, still it does not provide the proof that they are the genuine “Book of Jasher” given reference in the two books of the Old Testament, but it merely describes the possibility that they may be the genuine book.
There are two methods that are useful in the estimation of the authenticity of the versions of the Book of Jasher. These include;
- Does it conflict with the canon of the Holy Bible? If this is true, then we can conclude that the conflicting version of Jasher is fiction.
- The history of the version of Jasher under consideration is another important testing method. The dates of the extant versions are fraught with a lot of certainty, since the readers are left several prefatory and introductory writings included in the forged versions, a ling with very sparse material provided by standard reference works. Both versions of Jasher cover similar time period of their narratives from creation to the end of the Book of Joshua.
The Book of Jasher published in 1840 provides a much fuller account of Biblical events. In addition, the book contains 111 chapters that cover 267 pages in the author’s older copy. And the newer copy comprises of 11 chapters spread over 254 pages. This is surprising and makes us question the authenticity of the version. The Book of Jasher published in 1829 is a small version with only 37 chapters that cover 63 pages. In addition, the references for the chapters and the verses are different.
It is necessary to examine the different version of the Book of Jasher by treating each individually according to the order of publication. There are lots of contradictions concerning the Book of Jasher published in 1829. For instance, the following are examples of the contradictions to the Old Testament. First, in the Bible, it is stated that Moses spent 40 days receiving instructions from God, but according to Jasher of 1829 (Chapter 17), Moses, Joshua, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 more elders spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving instructions from Jethro. Jethro was the father-in-law to Moses. In addition, in the Book of Jasher, it is stated that it is Jethro who instructed Moses how to construct a tabernacle and to build an ark. Other claim made in the Book of Jasher-1829 is that Jethro instructed Moses to choose a priesthood family (Jasher.8-13). All these claims contradict the Bible, since it is written in the Holy Scripture that Good instructed all these things. In addition, when the 40 days were over, Moses conspired with Joshua and other elders, that when they came out of Mount Sinai, they informed people that they had been meeting with the Lord, whereas in reality, it had been Jethro. According to the Book of Jasher, there is no mention of meeting with the Lord on Mount Sinai (Jasher-1829, 17:21-22).
The other contradictions are demonstrated in the Bible that states that Aaron’s sons were killed by fire from God because of the offering of a strange fire on the altar, long after the rebellion of the golden calf. However, in the Book of Jasher-1829, it is stated that Nadab and Abihu, who were Aaron’s sons were killed by the Levites. It is also asserted that it was Moses who commanded the killings. The book of Jasher claims that the pair formed part of the 3000 people who were killed during the golden calf rebellion (1829-Jasher 18-5, 6). As a matter of the golden calf rebellion, the Bible records that the Earth opened up to swallow Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and other 250 fellow rebels. In contrast, the 1829-Jasher claims that Moses instructed the Levites to kill the rebels with the fiery abyss (1829-Jasher, 21:12).
Some Biblical scholars have debated on the issue of Rahab of Jericho, whether Rahab was a prostitute or not. However, the Book of Jasher-1829 raises the status of Rahab to the status of a princess raised of an Israelite father and a Midianite mother. This account enraged the King of Jericho, by referring to Rahab as a whore in a fit of emotions having tried to persuade him to surrender to Joshua (1829-Jasher 27:8, 10, 20). Further reflection on the wonders of Rahab would live readers of the book to wonder how the status of Rahab as a princess could lack the mention of her alleged Israelite father, a king, or her mother being a queen. More so, if Rahab was truly a princess in Midian, what was her business in Jericho?
Other contradictions occur during the crossing of Jordan. According to 1829-Jasher, the Israelites were 50 cubits behind the arc. It contradicts the statements from the Holy Scripture that the children of Israel were 2000 cubits. The Bible also states that the priests had to stand in the middle of River Jordan bearing the ark as people crossed over Jordan. This is another contradicting statement concerning the width of River Jordan compared to the width of the Red sea that the Israelites crossed over in a single night, and the Levite priests who carried the ark of the covenant crossing River Jordan for six full days. Furthermore, the Bible claims that the waters of River Jordan receded and the Israelites crossed over the dry ground. According to the Book of Jasher, the Israelites crossed River Jordan on wood that floated on the water surface (Jasher 28: 10). The Book of Jasher states that the Israelites invented surfboards from this event. The other contradiction is that the Book of Jasher claimed that males who had attained the age of 16 were armed; however, the Bible states that only males with over 20 years and over were armed.
It is also stated in the Bible that during the siege of storming of Jericho, the city was closed since the children of the Israelites. None went out or came in, it means that not all the occupants remained within the walls and were subsequently killed by Joshua and his comrades. According to the Book of Jasher (28:18), the people of Jericho fled to the mountains, hence deserting the city.