Selah is a Hebrew word rendered from s_lah, “to praise”; and s_lal, “to lift up.” The word Selah appears 74 times in the Bible, 71 in the book of Psalms and 3 in Habakkuk.
It is typically used as a musical notation, indicating a pause or break in the music or singing. The exact meaning of selah is uncertain, but it is thought to be a call for the reader or singer to pause and reflect on the words that have been read or sung. Selah is important because it reminds us to take time to meditate on and ponder the truths of God’s Word, allowing them to sink deep into our hearts and minds. This can help us to better understand and apply God’s truth to our lives, leading to greater obedience and worship.
The frequent use of selah in the Psalms reminds us of the importance of taking time to meditate on and ponder the truths of God’s Word. In our busy and hectic lives, it can be easy to rush through our readings of the Bible, skimming the words without truly considering their meaning and significance. However, when we pause and reflect on the words of God, we are able to more fully understand and apply them to our lives. This can lead to greater obedience and worship, as well as a deeper relationship with God.
One example of the use of selah in the Psalms is found in Psalm 3:2, where the Psalmist says, “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ Selah” (NIV). In this verse, the use of selah encourages the reader to pause and think about the words that have just been read, allowing them to sink in and have a deeper impact. The Psalmist is expressing his trust in God’s deliverance, even in the face of opposition and doubt from others. By pausing and reflecting on this truth, we can be reminded of God’s faithfulness and our own need to trust in Him.
Selah is also used as a call to worship and praise. In Psalm 75:1, the Psalmist says, “We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds. Selah” (NIV). In this verse, the use of selah encourages the reader to pause and reflect on the wondrous deeds of God, leading to a response of thanksgiving and praise.