Ketib/Qere in Ruth 1:8

By Billy Doolittle

Ketiv Qere

Within the beginning of chapter of Ruth, there seemingly exists a textual variant written within the margin just outside of Ruth 1:8. This written phenomenon occurs anywhere from 848 to 1566 times in the Hebrew Bible varying between traditions. The scribes from antiquity and modernity supplemented the words from the margin in the place of the similar word within the lines. This became known as Ketib/Qere. Ketib is the Hebrew word for “write” or “what is written” and Qere is the Hebrew word meaning “read” or “what is read.” Scribes then, when reading the text to their congregations, would supplement the qere from the margin in the place of ketib in the line.

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