Siman (סַימָן), like the Greek σημεῖον, σῆμα, a sign or a symbol, denotes among the Masorites:
1. A chapter of a book or the number of a psalm. In the Pentateuch neither book nor chapter is quoted, but always the section, which is called פרשה, or סדר and סדרא. Thus the Masora Finalis on כאלה remarks: סימןי8 8 ו ג8 וסימניהוןנמסר בירמיה סימןנ8 8א וארוב ריש, i.e. "it occurs three times, and the passages are found in Jeremiah 51, and in Job at the beginning of ch. 16." On, לפני אלהי the Masorah remarks: ד8 וסימניהוןנמסר בתלי םסימןנ8 8 ז, i.e." — it occurs four times, and the passages are quoted in Psalm 56." On, אמר אלהי it is remarked, בפרשת בראשית ו8 וסימנוהוןנמסר, i.e. "it occurs six times, and the passages are quoted in the section Bereshith" [i.e. Ge 1:1-6,8. By comparing the Masoretic note in the Rabbinic Bible, it will be found that the passages are quoted at the beginning of the third chapter, since the phrase אמר אלהי occurs here for the first time].
2. It denotes passages, examples, which are quoted in order to confirm the Masoretic notes.
3. It is used as a symbol or memotechnical sign. Thus when a word occurs three times, four times, etc., as often as it occurs a corresponding symbol, which is generally of a very artificial character, is given. Thus "the Masora Parva remarks on יקח (Ge 18:4), דגברא פרזלא נ8 וסימןמוי, i.e." it occurs three times, and the symbol is the water of the mighty, iron." Now each of these three words represents a symbol, signifying the passage in which the word יקח occurs. Thus מוי, "water," is the symbol of the passage in which we read, יקח נא מעט מי, "let a little water be fetched" (ver. 4). The second word, דגברא, "of the mighty," refers to the passage ג םשבי גבור יקח, "even the Captivity of the mighty shall be taken away" (Isa 49:25). The third word, פרזלא, "iron," refers toמעפר יקח ברזל, "iron is taken out of the earth" (Job 28:2). In the same verse the Masorah remarks on ורחצו, "and wash," ג8 וסי8 מיא דעבדא דכיא, i.e. "it occurs three times, and its symbol is 'the waters, of the servant, are clean.'" The first word, מיא, "the waters," refers to that verse in which before ורחצו is read, מי [i.e. in the same verse]; the second word, דעבדא, "of the servant," refers to, עבדכ, "your servant," which occurs in Ge 19:2. The third word, דכיא, "clean," refers to Isa 1:16, רחגו הזכו, "wash you, make you clean."
4. The word סימ stands alone without any addition or explanation, and in this position it serves as a monitor:
a. When one word differs from a similar one, either by its prefix or through another letter, and in this instance it calls the attention to the difference. Thus in Le 25:25 we read כיאּימואִחי, "if thy brother be waxen poor;" but in ver. 35 we read וכיאּימואִחי, "and if thy brother," etc. To the latter passage the Masorah adds סימ, to call attention to the כי in ver. 25, and וכי in ver. 35.
b. When the difference is caused by another word. Thus in Nu 4:6,14, we read ושמו בדיי, "and shall put in the staves thereof;" but in ver. 8, 11 we read בדיו ושמו את, "and shall put," etc. Here, in this instance, the Masorah places סימ to the first form. Comp. also Le 19:5; Le 22:29; Ps 56:5,12.
c. When a difference consists in the accents. Thus in Nu 4:30 we read עוד בןאּחמשי םשנה, "even until fifty years;" but in ver. 35 we read בןאּחמשי םשנה In this instance the attention is called to the difference of the accents, viz. the first ועד has the Tebir., the second the Tiphcha, These few examples will show the importance of the meaning of the סימ in its different stages. See Buxtorf, Tiberias, seu Massoreticus Commentarius, p. 259 sq.; Frensdorff, Massora Magna, introd. p. 9. (B.P.)