|Position in alphabet||15|
|Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician|
Samekh represents a voiceless alveolar fricative /s/. Unlike most Semitic consonants, the pronunciation of /s/ remains constant between vowels and before voiced consonants.[clarification needed]
The numerical value of samekh is 60.
The Phoenician letter may continue a glyph from the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, either based on a hieroglyph for a tent peg or support, possibly the djed "pillar" hieroglyph[clarification needed] (c.f. Hebrew root סמך s-m-kh 'support', סֶמֶךְ semekh 'support, rest', סוֹמֵךְ somekh 'support peg, post', סוֹמְכָה somkha 'armrest', סָמוֹכָה smokha 'stake, support', indirectly s'mikhah סמיכה; Aramaic סַמְכָא samkha 'socket, base', סְמַךְ smakh 'support, help'; Syriac ܣܡܟܐ semkha 'support').
The shape of samek undergoes complicated developments. In archaic scripts, the vertical stroke can be drawn either across or below the three horizontal strokes. The closed form of Hebrew samek is developed only in the Hasmonean period.
(c. 800 BC)
(c. 400 BC)
(c. 400 BC)
(from ca. 50 BC)
The Syriac letter semkaṯ ܣܡܟܬ develops from the Imperial Aramaic "hook" shape 𐡎 into a rounded form by the 1st century. The Old Syriac form further develops into a connected cursive both in the Eastern and Western script variants.
|Various print fonts||Cursive
In Talmudic legend, 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) also cites the opinion that these closed letters included samekh, attributed to Rav Chisda (d. ca. 320).
Arabic Sīn & Nabataean Simkath
Samekh has no continuant in the Arabic alphabet, its numerical value is taken by Arabic Šīn. However the Nabataean alphabet, which is the direct ancestor to the Arabic alphabet, contained the letter Simkath .
Moreover, the letter Sīn takes over the place of Simkath/Samekh at the 15th position of the Arabic abjadi sequence.
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
|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
|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
|Unicode name||NABATAEAN LETTER SAMEKH||ARABIC LETTER SEEN|
|UTF-8||240 144 162 150||F0 90 A2 96||216 179||D8 B3|
|UTF-16||55298 56470||D802 DC96||1587||0633|
|Numeric character reference||𐢖
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Samekh (letter).|
- Betro, M. C. (1996). Hieroglyphics. Abbeyville Press, NY, p. 209.
- Frank Moore Cross, Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (2018), p. 30.
- 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.
- Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon. pp. 25–27.
- The William Davidson Talmud , Shabbat 104a.