What is the reason for the kri ksiv in בראשית פרק כ''ד פסוק ל''ג, in which the ksiv is ויישם but the kri וַיּוּשַׂם?

I would like to know the reason for how the ksiv fits in to the pasuk and how the kri fits in to the pasuk. Please cite any sources for your answers.

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    As I see that you have an interest in Kri / Ktiv anomalies, you may want to purchase / borrow the Art Scroll Kestenbaum edition of Tikun Lakor'im. It is a huge book and quite heavy, but besides its obvious purpose of being a Tikun for Torah readers, in the margin, the commentaries tend to explain nearly every Kri / Ktiv anomaly in the torah. I also thnk the Me'am Lo'ez commentary does this, as well. I am unaware of something that handles problems in the rest of Tanac"h. – DanF Jun 16 '15 at 14:15

Radak on Genesis 24:33:1:

ויישם, כתיב, וכן ויישם בארון (שמות כ"ה) שרש ישם; וקרי ויושם מבנין הפעל, הושם לפניו לאכול על יד נערי הבית.


, the word is spelled ויישם, “he placed,” although it is read as vayussam, “it was placed.” We find a similar anomaly in Genesis 50,26 when placing Joseph’s remains in a coffin is reported. The root of the verb is ישם.

In other words, the Ktiv indicates the active voice, whereas the Kri indicates the passive voice. As Rada"k doesn't explain any "hidden" meaning, and the verse itself mentions no direct subject, one might wonder who did the placement. Thus, the kri seems to correct the grammatical problem, or avoid the vagueness by changing the active to passive.

(FYI, this is a common grammatical technique in English. I learned that when writing always use the active voice. Passive should be used when you don't want to tell your readers who did the action, or that information is irrelevant.)

  • Follow up comment on my own answer. The root form Rada"k mentions is ישם which is not the usual 3-letter shoresh for "to place" which is שים. Is this an "older" root form that was used at the time? – DanF Jun 16 '15 at 14:57

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