In the BDB entry for הוא http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1931.htm, the term "Qr perpetuum" appears, but I have no clue what it means. From logical deduction, I can conclude it means something like "from here on out", or "at all times", but google wasn't helpful.

2 Answers 2


The "Masoretic Text" of the Hebrew Bible includes as part of its "mark up" a set of marginal readings known to the Torah scholars who transmitted the text in that form. These variants are known as "ketiv and qere" readings (see also M. Graves, "The Origins of Ketiv-Qere Readings"):

  • ketiv = what is "written" (ketiv), and appears in the text itself;
  • qere = what is "read" (qere), and this is the marginal reading.


The qere "Perpetuum" are those readings where the Masoretes (these "Torah scholars") have a ketiv combined with the vocalization of the qere, but without an accompanying marginal annotation. The parade example is the 3rd person singular independent pronoun in the Pentateuch: very many times you get h-w-ʾ (hûʾ, masculine) where you expect h-y-ʾ (hîʾ, feminine). In this case the Masoretic text has the vowel marking of the latter, with the consonants of the former, leading to the anomalous: הִוא. So in every case where this appears the ketiv is seen, but the (unmarked) qere is pronounced (hîʾ) - in "perpetuity", as it were. The first time this occurs is (I think) in Genesis 3:12, the last time in Deut 30:13, altogether 128 occurrences.

Aleppo Codex

See also:

  • you wrote "The parade example" <-- what does that mean?
    – barlop
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    @barlop A "parade example" is one which is especially prominent or typical, a "leading" example. In other words, if an example is given, it is [often|always] this one. It seems to be especially common in biblical studies and linguistics -- or maybe Google knows my habits! :) Hope that helps!
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:18

Ketiv perpetuum means “written continually” in respects to Bible translations. I’m short: words like “he” and “she” are too numerous. So הוא is Hebrew for “he”, and היא is Hebrew for “she”. Masoretes use the word for “he” for both “perpetuum”, leaving the reader to surmise if it is in fact “he” or “she” based on context of the verse.

This rule is used for all common short words. Whereas ketiv qere is used for the sacred name YHWH only. Here the rule changes the Name to “LORD” instead.

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Shalom Aleichem שלם עליכם “ peace be on you “

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    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 21:14
  • 1
    Qere perpetuum, not ketiv perpetuum. Read continually, not written continually
    – b a
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 22:15

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