Q.

What does the word “selah” mean? I’m referring to the Psalms.

A.
The word “selah” is one of several musical terms in psalm superscriptions. These terms designate types of songs or names of melodies. This particular word appears about seventy times in the Psalms and three times in the book of Habakkuk.

We are not certain of the exact meaning of “selah.” Some scholars think it might come from the Hebrew root word selah, which means “to lift up.” If that’s the case, it might indicate the lifting up of the music in a benediction, either in voice or in instrument.

Perhaps it was like a rest sign in our music. Or it may have been an indication of prayer or that something was significant and should be noticed carefully.

Whatever the meaning of this word, we can still pause whenever we see it and consider what God has to say to us.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (October 1991).
© 1991 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.