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SAMEKH , the fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; its numerical value is 60. The early Proto-Canaanite form of this letter has not yet been attested, but in the tenth century b.c.e. it consisted of three horizontal strokes crossed by a vertical downstroke . Later there was a tendency to draw the various strokes continuously; thus in the Hebrew script , in the Phoenician , while in the Aramaic the samekh developed as follows: → → → →. Hence the Jewish and Nabataen samekh, , evolved. In the Arabic script the samekh has been replaced by (sin), which developed from the Aramaic shin (Arabic shin =). See*Alphabet, Hebrew.

[Joseph Naveh]