Yeshayahu 40:31:

וְקוֹיֵ֤ יְהוָה֙ יַחֲלִ֣יפוּ כֹ֔חַ יַעֲל֥וּ אֵ֖בֶר כַּנְּשָׁרִ֑ים יָר֙וּצוּ֙ וְלֹ֣א יִיגָ֔עוּ יֵלְכ֖וּ וְלֹ֥א יִיעָֽפוּ׃

It seems that the oldest surviving manuscripts have the first word of the verse vowelized as it appears at the Sefaria link above, with the tzere under the yod, so that the word is pronounced something like vekoyei.

However, many seem to believe that the word is actually vowelized with the tzere under the vav, so that the word is pronounced something like vekovei.

Where does the version vekovei come from? Do we have any manuscript evidence for it? Is it simply a scribal or printing error that became popular?

  • 3
    The same word is found in Tehillim 37:9, and there the correct pronunciation is vekovei (see Radak in both places). So that may have just been mistakenly transferred to the one in Yeshayah. (Although see Minchas Shai on Tehillim there.)
    – Meir
    Oct 28, 2020 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


According to Radak to the posuk, the first Yud of the verb is dropped when it is written.

וקוי ה'. וקוי כתיב ביו"ד אחת לבד והיא עי"ן הפעל ויו"ד הרבים נעלמת מהמכתב ונשארם במבטא, אמר הרשעים כשול יכשלו אבל ישראל שהם קוי ה' בגלות ואפס כחם עוד יחליפו כח כמו העץ אם יכרת ועוד יחליף והוא ענין התחדשות הדבר בתמורת הדבר שחלף ועבר:

So the verb root is like is found in Jastrow page 1356 of volume 2 for קווי קיווי.

קִיוּוּי, קִוּוּי m. (קָוָה) hope, faith. Gen. R. s. 98 הכל בק׳ יסורין בק׳ וכ׳ in every condition of life faith is a potent factor, sufferings are borne by faith, sanctification of the Name (martyrdom) rests on faith &c. Yalk. Ps. 736 (ref. to Ps. XL, 2) אם אין ביד ישראל אלא הק׳ כדאי הן לגאולה בשכר הק׳ if Israel possess no merit except faith, it is worthy of redemption as a reward for its faith; Midr. Till. to Ps. l. c. (corr. acc.). Yalk. Ex. 241 (ref. to Ps. l. c.) מתוך הק׳ ויט אלי וכ׳ out of this hope it came to pass that he inclined to me &c.; Tanḥ. ed. Bub., B’shall. 12; ib. (ref. to Ps. XXVII, 14) אם בא קִוּוּיְךָ יפה וכ׳ (not קויך) if what thou hast hoped for, comes to pass, it is well; if not, hope again; a. e.

This would mean the the Cholam (the vowel point over the Vav) would be on the hidden first Yud and the Tzere would be under the Vav. The resulting pronunciation would be vekoveh.

  • 2
    The Radak says the opposite of what you say. וקוי כתיב ביו"ד אחת לבד והיא עי"ן הפעל - i.e. the י is the second letter of the root (and therefore the tsere has to be under it); ויו"ד הרבים נעלמת - i.e. the second י of קויי is hidden
    – b a
    Oct 28, 2020 at 14:23
  • I agree that the root is ק-ו-ה/י but I'm not sure what you mean by 'the hidden first yud'. If this yud was written in full, how would the word be spelled?
    – Joel K
    Oct 28, 2020 at 14:27
  • @JoelK The letter Yud has a dual state of being depending on where and how it is used. I am referring to the Peniel-Penuel transformation. In the case of the usage in the Navi cited and in the context of what Radak writes there, this appears to be what is going on. Oct 28, 2020 at 17:32

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