Siphra (also compounded BE-SIPHRA, DE-SIPHRA), from the Heb. סֶפֶר, "a book," is an expression used by the Masorites to denote a certain book to which reference is made, and it is generally quoted with the prefix ב and דספרא בספרא ד, and is also abbreviated in בס8 בספ8. Thus, on וכל in Ge 2:5, the Masora Parva remarks ה ר8 8פ בספרא, i.e. ובלoccurs five times as the beginning of a verse in this book, viz. Genesis. Where books consist of two, as Samuel, Kings, Ezra, and Chronicles [Ezra and Nehemiah forming, according to the Jewish canon, but one book], they are only quoted as one. Thus, on הלוא in 1 Kings 2, the Masorah remarks י8 8ז מלאי םבספרא, i.e. "the word הלוא occurs seventeen times written plene in that book," i.e. in 1 and 2 Kings. The same is the case with the twelve minor prophets, which are also regarded as one book. Thus, כה אמר in Am 3:12, the Masoretic note is ה8בטע םבספרא, i.e. "the word כה אמר occurs five times in that book [viz. in the twelve minor prophets] with the accent." Hence the Masora Magna laid down the following rule ספר תרי עשר׃ דאמריןבמסרה בתרי עשר בספרא פירושו כל נקוט האי כללא בידכִל היכא, i.e. "take this rule into thine hand where in the Masorah the twelve minor prophets are spoken of as 'in the book,' the whole book of the minor prophets is to be understood." Thus on, ארותיכ in Zec 1:2 the note is ג8 מלאי םבספרא, i.e. "the word, אבותיכ is written three times plene in the book," viz. in the minor prophets; or, וא in 14:18, בספרא ג8 ר8 8פ, i.e. "וא ם occurs three times at the beginning of a verse in the book," i.e. not in Zechariah alone) but also in all the other books constituting the minor prophets. It must, however, be observed that when the Masora Parva on the word , אות in Le 15:29 remarks ט8 8 ל מלאי םבספרא, i.e. "there are thirty-nine instances where ten is written plene in this book," viz. in the Pentateuch, this is a mistake, since בספרא is never used for the "Pentateuch," but always בתורה With the servile ד = דספרא we read on Ge 34:25, on the word חד מןפתחיןבאתנחתא דספרא בּטִֵח, i.e. "it is one of the words written with a Pattach and Athnach in that book." To understand this remark, we must call attention to the laws of the vowel-points, viz. that when Athnach and Soph-pasuk come under Pattach and Segol, they convert the latter into a long Kamets. Some instances, however, are left in each book of the Bible which have not been thus converted and these are called פתח דספרא = Pattach de-Siphra, i.e. "Pattach of the book;" and to this the Masoretic remark alludes. See Buxtorf, Tiberias seu Commentarius Massoreticus, p. 262 sq.; Levita, Massoreth Ha-Massoreth (ed. Ginsburg), p. 234 sq., 197; Frensdorff, Massora Magna, p. 9 sq. (B.P.)

Bible concordance for SIRAH.

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