The Hebrew word SELAH (SA-LA) is mentioned in the Old Testament 75 times. It occurs once in the book of 2 Kings 14:7, as the name of a city, that is the capital of Edom. and 3 times in Habakkah. The remaining 71 times, it is used in Psalms, which is the Hebrew word for Songs. In Psalms, the Strong’s Concordance defines the word as a musical notation.
It is defined in different bible translations, as follows:
Amplified Bible (AMP) – Pause and calmly think about that
English Standard Version (ESV) – The meaning of the Hebrew word Selah, used frequently in the Psalms, is uncertain. It may be a musical or liturgical direction
Message Bible (MSG) – it may have been intended to indicate a pause in the vocal music while the instruments rendered an interlude.)
New American Standard Bible (NASB) – Pause, crescendo or musical interlude
New Living Translation (NLT) – Interlude with the footnote: The meaning of this word is uncertain, though it is probably a musical or literary term. It is rendered Interlude throughout the Psalms.
The most common definition used by bible scholars, is to pause, and think about that. It is akin to a comma in the English language. It separates a word or phrase from the rest of the writing (within a sentence) and is accompanied by a slight pause. While reading, you would never call out a comma verbally. When you come to a comma, you perform the function of the comma, by pausing and then, continuing to read. The rules of basic grammar, simply stated, are to pause at a comma, and to stop at a period. However, there are no commas in the Hebrew language. So, when you see the word SELAH in various verses of the Bible, it should be performed and not spoken or read aloud. It is instructing the reader to pause and think about what was just read. When I pause and think about the goodness of God, it is a good opportunity to worship and glorify the name of the Lord.
The songwriter was describing the function of the word “SELAH”, when he penned the words of the song,
“When I think about Jesus and what he’s done for me; when I think about Jesus, and how he set me free, I could dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance all night.”
My Favorite Verses, Found in Psalms, That Refer To The Word “SELAH”.
Don’t forget, when you get to the word Selah, to pause and think about each verse.
Ps 3:4 ¶ I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
Ps 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
Ps 24:6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Ps 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
Ps 44:8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
Ps 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Ps 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
Ps 61:4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
Ps 62:8 ¶ Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Ps 66:4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.
Ps 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Ps 68:32 ¶ Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:
Ps 77:15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
Ps 84:8 ¶ O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Ps 143:6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
Now, pause and think about that (Selah).