Q&A: What is the purpose of ‘ס’ or ‘פ’ following a verse?

These are markers of the traditional Jewish division of the text into parashot (“passages” or “episodes”), which don’t correspond with the chapter divisions devised by Archbishop Langton in the 13th century. The {פ} marker indicates that the parashah (passage) is “open” (ptuḥah), and {ס} means that it is “closed”  (sgurah or stumah).

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Examples of a parashah stumah (1) and a parashah ptuḥah (2). In the KJV, they’re both marked simply with a new paragraph sign (3)

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