The Kethiv

This site follows the Scripture text strictly. The Scripture text is followed even when this conflicts with the margin notes of the Hebrew manuscripts.

Several hundred of years after the completion of the New Testament, a system of vowel marks, accents, and margin notes began to be added to the new copies of the Old Testament text. This system was meant to aid the reading and interpretation of the Scripture and was created by Jewish scholars known as Masorets. Since this system is not part of the Scripture, it was written with small characters, while the Scripture text was written with large characters. Occasionally, the notes ask the reader to use a different word in the place of a written word. In such instances, the written word is called Kethiv (כתיב "what is written") and the replacement is called Qere (קרי "what is to be read"). Qere notes appear typically in passages in which the written text may seem difficult to interpret. The figure shows an example of a Qere note from the text of Nu 12:3 in the St. Petersburg Codex.

In order to interpret literally the Bible, this site follows the Kethiv. In certain instances, a translation that follows the Kethiv will differ significantly from a translation that follows the Qere. Traditionally, Bible translations have followed the Qere.



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