Page 165 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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LUR I E /OUR LIBRARY OF LOST BOOKS
157
comm en ta ry on N um be rs , A b raham K ahana ind icates th a t
verses 14-15 a re a p a r t o f th e Book o f th e Wars o f the Lo rd
an d they a re in t ro d u c e d in o r d e r to b e a r o u t th e p rev ious verse
which states th a t th e A rn o n is the b o u n d a ry o f Moab.
BOOK OF JASHAR
“And the sun stood still and the moon halted, while a nation
wreaked judgment on its foes — as is written in the Book o f
Jashar.” (Josh. 10:13)
“And David intoned this dirge over Saul and his son Jonathan
— He ordered the Judites to be taught [The Song o f the] Bow.
It is recorded in the Book o f Jashar.” (II Sam. 1:17-18)
T h e poem in th e book o f J o sh u a speaks o f G ibeon and
Aijalon, whereas th e accoun t o f the battle has a lready taken
us m uch f u r th e r to Azekah . I t is c lear th a t the verse does no t
fit in to the story he re . It is no t a song o f victory, bu t ra th e r
a call to battle. It is possible th a t this is an anc ien t poem b o r ­
rowed from the Ugaritic.
T h e m en tion o f th e Book o f J a s h a r in Dav id’s d irg e over
Saul also seems to be o u t o f place, fo r the verse has no con ­
nection with th e subject o f the d irg e which deals with the d ea th
o f th e king an d his sons. Verse 17 con tains two sep a ra te ideas:
(a) H e [Saul] o rd e r e d to teach the sons o f J u d a h the bow and
(b) this d irg e o r poem is re co rd ed in the Book o f Ja sh a r .
T h e no tion th a t th e ch i ld ren o f Israel had to be ta u g h t th e
m artia l a r ts h ad long been c u r r e n t am ong them , since the time
th a t they h ad failed to achieve the g re a t goal o f conqu e r ing
all o f the P rom ised Land , from the r ive r o f Egypt to the g rea t
river, the rive r E uph ra te s . T h e book o f Ju d g e s exp lains th a t
this fa ilu re o c cu r red “so th a t succeed ing gene ra tion s o f Is ra ­
elites m igh t be m ade to exp e r ien c e w ar — b u t only those who
had no t known th e fo rm e r w ars” (3:2).
It is common ly th o u g h t th a t the pow erfu l verse in the d irge
over Saul an d J o n a th a n — “O hills o f Gilboa — let th e re be
no dew o r ra in on you” o r ig in a ted with David, the sweet singer
o f Israel. However, this is no t so! It ap p ea rs th a t David b o r ­
row ed from th e tre a su ry o f anc ien t song a d irg e over th e d ea th
o f a son o r fr ien d o r w a r r io r who fell in battle. David only
ad ap ted the anc ien t song to his subject — to the d ea th o f Saul