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Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)

Read the Bible in the BHS.

Reversed Nun in the BHS

Reversed Nun (also called inverted nun, nun hafukha or nun menuzerret) is a character found in Biblical Hebrew texts. Depending on the particular manuscript or printed edition, it is found in nine places: twice in Nu 10:34-36, and seven times in Psalm 107.

The reversed nun appears to have been used by scribes / editors as some type of annotation or text-critical mark, though it is uncertain what it was intended to signify. For text-processing purposes, it is more like punctuation than a consonant and is displayed surrounded by space, similar to setuma and petuha. It occurs with or without a dot above and the shape varies from a reversed nun, to a mark similar to a roman ‘z’ or zed.

The printed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) includes all nine occurrences of the reversed nun, and it is encoded in Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) (Michigan-Claremont encoding) as the sequence N]8.

Unicode 4.1 defines U+05C6 HEBREW PUNCTUATION NUN HAFUKHA for reversed nun. In version 2.5 of the Ezra SIL fonts, the recommended dot is U+0307.

Puncta in the BHS

Puncta extraordinaria are round or diamond-shaped marks found in some biblical Hebrew texts. The example is of the lower mark. They can appear above or below a consonant, and can occur with other marks. The printed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), includes both upper and lower marks and they are encoded in the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) (Michigan-Claremont encoding) as 52 and 53.

Unicode 4.0 defines a HEBREW MARK UPPER DOT — U+05C4, but does not document how it is to be used. In 2003 it was clarified by a member of The Standards Institution of Israel committee that U+05C4 is the upper punctum, and not the Ketiv-Qere dot or the dot used in a Hebrew numbering system indicating hundreds. The Ezra SIL fonts have encoded U+05C4 as the upper punctum extraordinarium.

Unicode 4.1 defines a HEBREW MARK LOWER DOT — U+05C5 for the lower dot of the puncta extraordinaria, and the Ezra SIL fonts now encode this as the lower punctum extraordinarium. The upper punctum can occur alone (ex. 2) or together with the lower punctum (ex. 1)

In previous versions of the Ezra SIL fonts, we encoded U+0323 COMBINING DOT BELOW as the lower punctum, and before that in the PUA. These should no longer be used.

Meteg and Siluq in the BHS

Meteg is a single stroke mark in biblical Hebrew. It is identical in form to siluq (or silluq) and this discussion refers to both as meteg. The printed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), shows several different placements of the meteg. This was handled in the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) (Michigan-Claremont encoding) by three codes: 35, 75, and 95.

Unicode 4.0 defines one meteg, U+05BD. Because of the many positions of meteg in the text, it is difficult to encode them all with a single code point. Varying the order with other characters is at odds with Unicode recommendations, however it is necessary to accomplish the numerous positions of meteg. In the chart below are listed one example each of known placements of meteg.

Code 75 (left meteg) is the most common meteg encoding, and normally is placed as shown in examples 1 and 2. In the rare occasions when it occurs with another low cant on the same consonant, 75 is coded either before or after the other mark, as in examples 3 and 4. In the special case of Jerusalem and related words, it occurs between two vowels, as in ex. 5.

Code 35 (medial meteg) is used specifically for meteg with hataf vowels — hataf-segol and hataf-patah, ex. 6,7. In the rare occasions where meteg is printed either to the left, ex. 8 or right, ex. 9 of a hataf vowel, this is indicated by codes 75 or 95, rather than 35.

Code 95 (right meteg) identifies meteg which is placed in the unusual position of preceding a vowel, ex. 10. This commonly occurs on the first syllable of a word, but can also occur medially, ex. 11.

In version 2.0 of the Ezra SIL fonts, the different placements of meteg were accomplished by means of control characters. Unicode 4.1 now makes specific recommendations relating to meteg, so for version 2.5 of the Ezra SIL fonts the recommendations are as follows:

  • right metegmeteg + CGJ1 + vowel
  • medial meteg on hatafs – hataf + ZWJ2 + meteg
  • left meteg on hatafs – hataf + ZWNJ3 + meteg
  • left meteg on other vowels – vowel + meteg OR vowel + CGJ + meteg

This method should be adequate for most users. However, a good typesetting program may be the best solution for good typography of meteg in biblical Hebrew.

The control characters, CGJ, ZWJ and ZWNJ, are not required to represent meteg unless the user wants to preserve the positional information. If this is not an issue, then the font default order may be used. In the case of Ezra SIL, this is – vowel (including hatafs) + meteg

Positions of the Mark Meteg in Biblical Hebrew

Ex Position Reference Example in WLC Example in Hebrew Occurrence
1 centered alone Exo 20:1:6 L”)MO75R00 common
2 after vowel 1 Kgs 1:3:7 WA75Y.IM:C:)81W. common
3 before cant Exo 20:4:1 LO7574) rare
4 after cant Exo 20:2:8 (:ABFDI9275YM00 rare
5 between vowels 2 Chron 14:14:9 Y:RW.$FLF75IM00 common
6 medial with hataf 2 Chron 32:15:22 ):E35LOH”YKE80M common
7 medial with hataf 1 Kgs 6:22:8 ):A35$ER-LAD.:BI73YR common
8 left of hataf Psa 50:21:5 H:E75YOWT-)E75H:YE71H rare
9 right of hataf Psa 85:7:1 H:A95LO)-13)AT.FH rare
10 before vowel, first syllable Exo 20:4:2 TA95(:A&E63H-L:KF7174 common
11 before vowel, word-medial Deut 22:26:1 W:LAN.95A(:ARFH03 rare
12 after vowel and accent Psa 2:3:1 13N:75NAT.:QFH occasional

1 CGJ is Combining Grapheme Joiner, defined in Unicode 4.0 at position U+034F.
2 ZWJ is Zero Width Joiner, defined in Unicode at position U+200D.
3 ZWNJ is Zero Width Non-Joiner, defined in Unicode at position U+200C.


Ezra SIL 2.51 for all platforms FONT | 371.6 KB | 4 Oct 2007
Ezra SIL source files 2.51 for all platforms FONT | 697.7 KB | 4 Oct 2007
Ezra SIL web fonts 2.51 for all platforms FONT | 507.0 KB | 16 Jun 2015

“EzraSIL-2.51-source.zip” contains the same files as “EzraSIL-2.51.zip” – plus the FontLab, VOLT, Word, Excel, and Keyman source files. However, it does not contain the .pdf files since the source files are included.

“EzraSIL-2.51-web.zip” contains the same files as “EzraSIL-2.51.zip” – plus Web Open Font Format (WOFF) fonts and sample web files.