What does “selah” mean?

The word “selah” appears 74 times in the Old Testament, 71 of which are found in the Book of Psalms. The other three times is in the Book of Habakkuk (3:3, 9, 13).


The word “selah” is a direct transliteration from the Hebrew. It is derived from another Hebrew word “calah” which means “a pause.” This helps us realize that the word “selah” was used as a contemplative pause as Psalms were sung. It was a moment of reflection upon what was just sung, while the musical instruments played in the background, before resuming with the subsequent verses. So “selah” literally means “stop and think.”

© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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