What is the reason for the kri ksiv in בראשית פרק ח' פסוק י''ז, in which the ksiv is הוצא but the kri הַיְצֵא?

I would like to know the reason for how the kri fits in to the pasuk and how the ksiv fits in to the pasuk.


Rashi on Genesis 8:17:1:


הוצא כתיב היצא קרי היצא, אמור להם שיצאו. הוצא, אם אינם רוצים לצאת הוציאם אתה:

Summary of above:

הוצא is written to convey the idea that you should just tell the animals to leave (Who says animals don't understand Hebrew?) However, if they don't leave, היצא, you should (forcefully?) take them out, yourself.


The proposed form of the ketiv הַיְצֵא is also a form of the imperative. This is perhaps a dialectal variant or later form than the one of the classical language. Ibn Ezra mentions a similar phenomenon in PS 5.9: הושר is ketiv הַיְשַׁ֖ר is qeri.

Two points for a better understanding of the observed phenomenon :

1) the Masoretes had to conciliate two contradictory elements, sometimes opposed one to another:

  • A consonant text transmitted by the tradition that is itself the meticulous copy of what is called a "Review" (version) approved by Judaism (rabbis or synagogue Judaism);
  • A living tradition of the text reading (pronunciation of the words written on the scrolls consonant text with the exact words, exact vowels and cantillation). Sometimes the ketiv and qeri do not coincide. But we must consider that the two traditions have value. The qeri is not necessarily the "correction" of kétiv for doctrinal or linguistic reasons. Personally, I find it logical to treat them as a separate traditions.

2) from a linguistic point of view, the pe-yod verbs (the first radical is a yod) are originally pe-waw which became pe-yod, according to the rule observed that waw tends to become yod, yod to become he (and even he to become aleph). The same logic is observed for the lamed-he verbs that are originally lamed-yod (eg עשה which עשיתי). So on יצא or ישר, consider that these verbs are initially וצא and ושר and their waw has mutated into, yod and the kal and piel modes first, and at a later period also for the hiphil mode. The הוצא form is older and היצא is later.

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