|Position in alphabet||15|
The origin of samekh is unclear. The Arabic alphabet uses a letter based on Phoenician Šīn to represent /s/; however, that glyph takes samekh's place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic alphabet. The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek xi (Ξ, ξ). However, its name gave rise to sigma. The Phoenician letter may continue a glyph from the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, either based on a hieroglyph for a tent peg / some kind of prop (s'mikhah, Hebrew: סמיכה, or t'mikhah, Hebrew: תמיכה, in modern Hebrew means to support), and thus may be derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph djed.
Samekh in gematria has the value 60.
Samekh and mem can be combined to form the abbreviation ס''ם, known as samekh-mem, a euphemism used for the name of the angel Samael to avoid speaking his name aloud and thereby attracting his attention. It also stands for centimeter.
In some legends, samekh is said to have been a miracle of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 32:15 records that the tablets "were written on both their sides." The Jerusalem Talmud interprets this as meaning that the inscription went through the full thickness of the tablets. The stone in the center parts of the letters ayin and teth should have fallen out, as it was not connected to the rest of the tablet, but it miraculously remained in place. The Babylonian Talmud (tractate Shabbat 104a), on the other hand, attributes this instead to samekh, but samekh did not have such a hollow form in the sacred Paleo-Hebrew alphabet that would presumably have been used for the tablets. However, this would be appropriate for the Rabbis who maintained that the Torah or the Ten Commandments were given in the later Hebrew "Assyrian" script (Sanhedrin 21b-22a).
|Various print fonts||Cursive
Hebrew spelling: סָמֶךְ
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER SAMEKH||SYRIAC LETTER SEMKATH||SYRIAC LETTER FINAL SEMKATH||SAMARITAN LETTER SINGAAT|
|UTF-8||215 161||D7 A1||220 163||DC A3||220 164||DC A4||224 160 142||E0 A0 8E|
|Numeric character reference||ס||ס||ܣ||ܣ||ܤ||ܤ||ࠎ||ࠎ|
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER SAMKA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER SAMEKH||PHOENICIAN LETTER SEMKA|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 146||F0 90 8E 92||240 144 161 142||F0 90 A1 8E||240 144 164 142||F0 90 A4 8E|
|UTF-16||55296 57234||D800 DF92||55298 56398||D802 DC4E||55298 56590||D802 DD0E|
|Numeric character reference||𐎒||𐎒||𐡎||𐡎||𐤎||𐤎|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to ס.|
- Muss-Arnolt, W. (1892). On Semitic Words in Greek and Latin. Transactions of the American Philological Association v. 23, p. 35-156. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Betro, M. C. (1996). Hieroglyphics. Abbeyville Press, NY, p. 209.
- Dennis, Geoffrey. W (2016). The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism: Second Edition. Llewellyn. p. 370. ISBN 978-0738745916.