September 17, 2013

Books Within The Good Book

The Good Book mentions non-Biblical books within its pages. Many will say that the Bible therefore draws on resources that are not inspired. Some will claim they should’ve been included because they are referenced. This is like saying that we should include all people in the military solely because they exist. Never mind the fact that many are not qualified such as children, the old or infirm, the mentally impaired, etc…so too the books mentioned in the Bible as they too do not equally qualify as Scripture. They are merely reference points in the culture, history or surrounding world at the time of the writing of the inspired biblical texts that these worldly books are mentioned in. In the end the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God. Therefore, it is important to know just which books belong in the Bible and which books do not. The following list is of books that are mentioned in the text of Scripture but should never be considered part of God’s inspired word. Although God had is purposes for allowing their mention, the books referenced are not inspired of the Holy Spirit as part of our canonized Bible.

As such I will provide the Biblical verse that a few of these ancient books show up in and perhaps comment about them where information on these obsolete and mysterious books is available.

Numbers 21:14-15 ~ “Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord, “Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon, and the slope of the valleys that extends to the seat of Ar, and leans to the border of Moab.”

This book appears to have contained an anthology of poems describing the victories of the Lord over the enemies of Israel.  According to Aramaic Targums the words "The Wars of the Lord" are the beginning of the poetic quotation and are not part of the name of the book itself. The book referred to then would be the Torah. There is a geographical reference but tells us virtually nothing about the book. Arnon was in the desert and is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

Joshua 10:13 ~ “And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.

2 Samuel 1:17 ~ “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…

The Book of Jasher is a work known in the original Hebrew as ספר הישר or sefer ha yashar. The original Hebrew translates as "Book of the Upright". The book of the upright means a book of righteous men or true members of the theocracy, or godly men. Similar to the Chronicles is can be implied that this book was verses or elegies in praise of certain heroes of the theocracy, interwoven with historical notices of their achievements. Since we see the book’s reference in an elegy to Jonathan and Saul by David, this fact should not surprise us.

As seen above, the book was important enough to have been referenced in the Bible twice. As stated in my introduction, often times secular non-canon books are mentioned to use as reference points in the culture or surrounding world. In this case it could be to show the unbeliever of Joshua’s time (or now) the truth of a supernatural event as in the case of the sun standing still in battle. It can also be used as a connection to history to show conclusive fact of God acting supernaturally in a historical event. This is to show that supernatural events of God happen in real human history. In other words it shows supernatural events recorded by someone other than Joshua who would have a clear God-centered bias.

1 Kings 11:41 ~ “Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon?”

The Book of the Acts of Solomon probably served as a source material for the compiler of the book of Kings. It is also probable that the source material very likely contained court or temple records, treaties, private journals for the reign of Solomon (Brian Roberts). As much as many will attempt to imply that books like this should’ve been included in the Scripture, it is clear they disqualified themselves or they would already be in the Bible as God would’ve assured they were there. The very fact that they are not shows God himself through their obsolescence discounted them in history.

The name Solomon and allusion to his reign has yet been found in any contemporary extra-biblical source. This means we have to rely solely on the biblical sources for reconstruction of the Solomon period. Scholars treat some passages in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 1–11 as primary sources. Other than this we know little of this book.

1 Chronicles 29:29 ~ “Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer, and in the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet, and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer

The Chronicles of Samuel more than likely refer to the canonical books of 1 and 2 Samuel but in 1 Samuel 25:1 we see that Samuel dies. We therefore know that he could not have entirely written even the first Book that bears his name, because it goes on for another 6 chapters after his death. When we get to 1 Samuel 22:5, we find that it is the prophet Gad, not Samuel that is giving instructions to David. “Then the prophet Gad said to David…” It is possible to have other prophets guiding David, it’s just not possible that their writings are canonized…or they’d already be in our Bible. Therefore it is possible that there were other books…just not in the Bible. This means the Chronicles of Nathan the prophet and in the Chronicles of Gad the seer are not biblical as we would expect.

2 Chronicles 12:15 ~ “Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the chronicles of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam”

This book was also called the Story of the Prophet Iddo or The Annals of the Prophet (2 Chronicles 9:29, 12:15, 13:22). Iddo was a seer who lived during the reigns of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah. His deeds were recorded in this book, which has been completely lost to history. It is clear Iddo was a minor prophet but there are no biblical books attributed to him. In a blurb from Barnes Notes, Iddo seems to have been the author of three works: A visions against Jeroboam, a book of genealogies and commentary or history.

The remaining books I will mention without detail other than maybe the passage they are found in for reference.

Joshua 18:9 ~ “So the men went and passed up and down in the land and wrote in a book a description of it by towns in seven divisions. Then they came to Joshua to the camp at Shiloh”

1 Samuel 10:25 ~ “Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home.”

The Book of Records

Ezra 4:14-16 ~ Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”

The Deeds of Uzziah by Isaiah the Prophet

2 Chronicles 26:22 ~ “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote.

2 Chronicles 32:32 ~ “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

The Book of Jehu

2 Chronicles 20:34 ~ “Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani, which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

The Record book of Ahasuerus

Esther 2:23 ~ “When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Esther 6:1 ~ “On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.

The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia

Esther 10:2 ~ “And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?”

The Book of Remembrance

Malachi 3:16 ~ “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.

The Book of Judgment

Daniel 7:10 ~ “A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened [of judgment].

Revelation 20:12 ~ “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”

Not really a book per se but worthy of mention is Paul's first letter to Corinth, that predated the present "1 Corinthians"? "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people" 1 Corinthians 5:9…or this could merely be a reference to the present letter of 1 Corinthians.

Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans in Colossians 4:16

The Seven-Sealed Book

Revelation 5:1 ~ “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals”

An Angel's Book

Revelation 10:2 ~ “He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land…”

…and how can we forget the Lamb’s Book of Life in which all the saved are recorded by God. It is referenced all over the Old and New Testament.

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