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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Keri And Chethib

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These terms refer to the various readings appended to the printed Hebrew Bible. The keri (or qeri ) are placed in the notes, and signify 'to be read,' instead of what is in the text, which latter is called chethib (or kethib ), 'written.' A small circle or star is placed in the text to call attention to the alteration, and where one word is substituted for another the word to be read is printed in the notes, without points, the points that belong to it being given in the text, though they do not belong to the word there printed. The total number of these alterations has been calculated to amount to 1353.

Several different accounts have been given as to the origin of these various readings, some endeavouring to trace them back to Moses; others, to Ezra; and others to the Sanhedrim; so that there seems no reliable clue to their authority. The great bulk of the alterations are corrections of errors made by mistaking one letter for another, or similar faults of the copyist; but there are some variations of importance, and what may seem strange is that in the A.V. in some instances the keri is adopted and in others the chethib, without its being stated why. What influenced the selection is now unknown. For instance there are above a dozen places in which the keri substitutes לו, the personal pronoun, for אלal, the negative particle, which greatly alters the sense. A few of these are adopted in the A.V. as Job 13:15 ; Psalm 100:3 ; Isaiah 63:9 . May we not be assured that even in this God has guarded His own Book, and especially the version most widely circulated — the English Bible?


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Keri And Chethib '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/k/keri-and-chethib.html. 1897.

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