Blessings Be On Your People Selah
Even though Selah is a small word, it can have a significant impact on our spiritual growth.
Words like Selah create periodic pauses for contemplation. Meditation on the verses and asking the Heavenly Father to show us what we can learn from them will help us to reflect on God’s will.
If a verse doesnât sink into our hearts, we can reread it several times or say it aloud. Using the Lord’s guidance, we can seek to understand the meaning of some of the words we may not understand.
We can look up other verses that cover the same subject by cross-referencing them, and if we ask God for guidance, we can apply those scriptures to our lives.
For more information on Bible verses, download the pray.com app in the iOS App Store or .
The Importance Of The Word Selah In The Bible
Its as beautiful as its mysterious. Is it a word? Or, is it a biblical name?
This word appears mostly in the book of Psalms, and its not an uncommon question to ask why its even in the Bible. The question ofWhat is the meaning of the word Selah in the Bible? has been a major discussion among students, scholars, Bible study groups, and even people wanting to learn more about the Bible.
Many have said that the word Selah means to reflect or to pause, and if you look at the context of how this word is used in the book of Psalms, it makes total sense. That said, theres still the lingering uncertainty or unsureness to what the word actually means, and plenty of Bible books usually have footnotes to explain what Selah means or, at the very least, their interpretation of the word Selah.
If we dont know the exact meaning of the word Selah, then it begs the question of if it matters whether we study about it today or not, or if it does carry any relevance to us Bible readers and Christians today. The quick and short answer is that no one really knows, and the long answer is that its still important to know the meaning for various reasons.
The Importance of Selah
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A Hebrew word, Selah occurs at least seventy-one times in the book of Psalms and three times in Habakkuks book. A total of 39 Psalms contain the word Selah, and its also repeated often within the same Psalms.
- Its a musical term.
- We read the transliteration.
Finding Your Selah Reflections
There are many ways to find time to be still, to pause and calmly think, and it does not always have to be a grand or life-changing moment. More often than not its moments found here and there throughout the day when we take a moment to breathe deep.
- It might mean getting up 30 minutes before the kids are awake, to have a cup of tea , to journal and read your Bible.
- It might mean taking a walk on the beach or a hike in the woods.
- It might mean the last few moments before falling asleep to reflect on your day and prepare for tomorrow.
- It might mean sitting on the porch with your favorite drink as the sun goes down.
- It might be snuggles with your child as they fall asleep.
Its in these moments that we can give our recharge our batteries.
When we take the time to pause, slow down, and and be quiet, its then we can hear Gods still small voice reaching out to us.
So, Im inviting you to actively seek your selah reflections moment today.Im inviting you to be still, breathe deep and just be.
Selah And The Mountain
The first time we see the word Selah in the Bible is in 2 Kings 14:7. More correctly translated as Sela it refers to a strong city and even the capital city of Edom which is surrounded by mountains. The Arabic equivalent is known as Petra, also called so by the Greeks and in English we know it to mean rock.
Selah: Lofty, craggy, ragged rock.
Selah Matters Because It Encourages Us To Pause And Reflect
Many commentators think that Selah meant ‘to pause’ or ‘to reflect’. This could have been a request for the reader or listener to pause and think about what has just been said, or it could have been a space for voices to pause and for instruments play alone. We don’t really know for certain.
Regardless, the word Selah itself indeed causes us to pause and consider what God may be saying even when we don’t fully understand. Selah gives us an opportunity to take a moment away from this crazy, busy, non-stop life we all tend to live and consider the immense mysteries and wonders of God. Paul speaks to this in Colossians 2:2-3, My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Ultimately, Selah is a word that reminds us all to pause and reflect on Christ, in whom we find all treasure and knowledge. We can’t ever truly hope to understand all that God is, and all that Christ does for us daily. Knowing that . . . it is fitting that this beautiful word Selah should be, like our faith, just beyond our full understanding.
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Selah Matters Where You Are
The word Selah is a Hebrew word that occurs seventy-one times in the book of Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. The seventy-one occurrences in Psalms occur within thirty-nine of the Psalms, as the word Selah is often repeated within the same Psalm. But why is it there?
Based on the context, it is generally accepted that Selah is a musical term of some kind, and is there to provide musical direction.
Thirty-one of the thirty-nine Psalms that include the word Selah are entitled to the choirmaster. The prophetic book of Habakkuk, like the Psalms, is a book of poetry, and the third chapter is a prayer in the form of a song. It is in this musical chapter that we find the word Selah. This certainly reinforces the idea that Selah is a kind of musical notation or expression, and that it was known and understood by musicians and even those who just sang.
The fact that Selah is often found at the end of a verse or chapter also supports the idea that it suggests a pause since it appears in places where we would normally place a period or a new paragraph.
Psalm 3 contains the words Selah three times, at the end of the thought sections and at the end of the Psalm:
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
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The Word Selah In The Bible
The mysterious word Selah is an expletive of similar gist as the familiar words Amen and Hallelujah, with as main distinction that we don’t really know what Selah means or what function it might have had.
Selah occurs three times in the Shigionoth-based prayer of the prophet Habakkuk , and seventy-one times in thirty-nine Psalms. It most commonly occurs per Psalm just once , or twice but it also occurs three times and once it occurs four times . It occurs three times at the end of a Psalm and all Psalms that contain Selah, except 61 and 81, have titles that indicate the kind of Psalm.
It appears that the meaning and function of our word Selah have been missing in action since antiquity. The authors of the Septuagint translated this word with , which means as much as through the psalm, or inter-psalmic. The Vulgate offers the even more enigmatic semper, which means always.
Some scholars have proposed that Selah may have been used to indicate a change in rhythm or theme, but the obvious lack of consistency makes this idea unlikely correct . Others maintain that Selah marked a moment of contemplation, which curiously suggests that the rest of the Psalter required no such regard. Others have forwarded elaborate theories based on grammar derived from Masoretic vowel symbols, but these symbols were added many centuries after the truth behind Selah was lost, and these theories can subsequently be dismissed.
If You Enjoyed This Article On What Does Selah Mean Watch This 5 Minute Video To Encourage You Even Further
Beatriz is a fairly new Christian and she was faced with a very difficult decision about her career. Watch this quick 5 minute video on how Beatriz used the principle of selah to see the hand of God move and bless her beyond anything she could have imagined. Never underestimate the power of trusting God to guide you!
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Etymology Of The Word Selah
Since it’s not clear what Selah was supposed to indicate, it’s also problematic to establish from which root it came. Our word is spelled the same as the verb , meaning to heap up or toss together, apparently to compare the heap with a standard of some sort. But commonly our word is thought to derive from the verb , and assumed to be parallel with the use of this verb in Psalm 68:4, which speaks of “lifting up” a song to YHWH:
The verb primarily means to cast or heap up, and is mostly used in relation to building highways. Highways, of course, come to pass when first a heap of individuals individually choose to take the same route, thus creating a natural path, after which a government of sorts piles rocks upon the path and tops it off with pavement.
In much the same way, collective handiness evolves into a natural or spontaneous cultural quality, and finally a formal technology from which even foreigners may benefit. Likewise the command to create a highway for the Lord in the desert has nothing to do with Jeeps and Land Rovers and everything with growing smarter as a natural people and finally bringing forth formal science . Likewise “lifting up the Lord” has nothing to do with howling inane homages toward the church ceiling, but rather with achieving responsible mastery of created nature.
Think On This In The Bible
Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah
Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.
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Selah: An Invitation To Pause
Post updated July 29, 2021
Occasionally I get asked where does the name selah reflections come from?
To be honest Im not sure!
The word selah has always intrigued me, and one day I researched its meaning. As my research continued, the word reflect or reflection often showed up, too.
The name Selah Reflections stayed at the top of the list as a potential name for this blog and wouldnt leave. So I shared the name Selah Reflections with a few trusted friends and family. The feedback I received was positive and thus the name of the blog was born.
The Rock In The Bible
He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.
Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
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What Does Selah Mean In The Bible
The word selah is as mysterious as it is beautiful. While its exact meaning has been debated since the second century, Strongs concordance provides multiple definitions.
Pronounced say-luh, scholars are unsure of the words origin. Some believe it was derived from the Hebrew word calah which meant valued or hangs. We read this word in Job 28:19 , The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. Here, Job has concluded that wisdom is of incomparable value. When it hangs in the balance, wisdom outweighs wealth.
Drawing on the frequency of selahs position at the end of a poetic verse or phrase, many Bible students have concluded that selah was a musical term that meant to pause or contemplate similar to the current rest notation used in a musical score. Instrumentalists, for instance, might have continued playing while the chorus or congregation stopped briefly.
Other scholars contend that selah meant forever or that it was designed to prompt congregants to contemplate their relationship with the Lord. As the Amplified version of Psalm 3:4 reflects, With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me out of His holy hill. Selah !
Selah: What Does It Mean And How Does It Change How We Read Scripture
Selah is a mystery that may only be solved when we are able to ask the psalmists personally. Until then, we can make educated guesses on the exact meaning of this ancient Hebrew word. Selah is found seventy-one times in the Psalms, and three times in chapter three of Habakkuk, which also happens to be a prayer written for the choir director, on stringed instruments.
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Selah Matters Simply Because It Is In The Bible
The Bible is truly the words of God given to us, and every one of those words matters, even the words we don’t fully understand and can’t properly translate. After all, we can’t understand all there is to know about God, so it stands to reason that there would be words in Scripture that are beyond our full comprehension. This doesn’t diminish words like Selah, but in some ways can make them a little more meaningful.
Another transliterated word in the Bible that we don’t fully understand is the word shigionoth and its singular form, shiggaion. Each of these words appears in the Bible only once. The important thing for us here is that these two words appear in chapters that are written as music and, you guessed it, also include the word Selah.
Shigionoth is found in Habakkuk 3:1, at the beginning of Habakkuk’s prayer/song which includes three uses of the word Selah, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.”
Shiggaion is found in the title of Psalm 7, “A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord”.
Like the word Selah, no one knows the exact meaning of these words, but many scholars feel that shigionoth and shiggaion are clearly related to music. Some believe that it has to do with strong emotion, and the lyrical content of the songs where it is used would certainly support this idea.
What Does Selah Mean
Remember, no one knows exactly what Selah means, however, Bible scholars say it could mean the following:
- A pause or break at the end of a thought or subject
- A filler to make the melody and line lengths correspond.
- Selah could also mean forever or it is so.
Some think Selah is a notation indicating that the person reading the Psalm should pause to allow the audience to respond or repeat the previous statement for emphasis and meditation. Still others think it is a musical notation like forte or allegro you often see printed in musical scores.
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Practical Tips For Studying Selah In Scripture
Because many of the Psalms include selah, they are a natural place to begin reading and reflecting on the Lord. Some of these include Psalms 3, 4, 7, and 9. You can search for the Psalms that reference selah, or if you would like to receive a weekly selah study prompt, click here.
While reading each of the Psalms, consider the following:
– What were the different emotions and thoughts the Psalmist expressed? Do you share your emotions and thoughts with the Lord in the same way? Why or why not?
– What were the Psalmist’s circumstances?
– Consider reading and praying through the selah Psalms aloud.
– As you pronounce selah, pause, and remember that God is your fortress and strength. Then, exalt and praise his name for a specific gift in your life.
– Record the action verb in each Psalm. How does it relate to your life? Invite the Holy Spirit to teach you from each specific verse.
– Memorize each selah verse.