a'-yen: `ayin, "eye" or "fountain": The 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so named, probably, because the original form resembled the eye. `Ayin (`) is usually neglected in pronunciation, and inverted comma (`) is the sign most commonly employed to represent it in transliteration. The same sound is found in the Arabic and other Semitic languages. The Arabs have two pronunciations, one a very strong guttural formed at the back of the palate, something like a rattled "r" or "rg," the other similar in quality, only less harsh and guttural. The Septuagint reproduced the `ayin (`) in some cases by the Greek letter gamma (g)."The numerical value of this letter is 70. An `ayin (`) begins each verse of the 16th section of Ps 119:1-176 in the Hebrew.

W.W. Davies

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