The Significance of Selah
Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. Psalm 24:10 (KJV)
Selah. This Hebrew word is included 71 times in the Psalms. It is actually a musical term that means a suspension of the music, or a pause. It comes from a root word that means to weigh. It indicates a pause in the music to weigh what the song is saying. It is a moment of reflection or time given to consider the message.
A few other translations and versions render selah differently. A few versions use the word interlude in place of selah. The Amplified Bible Classic Edition (AMPC) says “Pause, and think of that.” The Passion Translation says, “Pause in his presence.” The basic idea is the same- we are to take some time to reflect on what has been said.
How many times have we read a couple chapters in the Bible, closed the book, and realized we really don’t remember much of what we read? We apparently read it for quantity rather than quality. The goal is for us to get in the Word so the Word will get into us. If the Word we are reading is not really sinking in, it is not doing as much good as it could. That is why Bible study, instead of ordinary surface reading of the Bible, is important for our spiritual health and growth.
As we read the Word, we need to pause frequently and consider what is being said. We can meditate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what He wants us to learn from that verse or passage. We can choose to reread a verse several times, even speaking it out loud for it to get in our hearts. We can look up the meanings of some of the words that we may not understand or words about which the Lord is prompting us to gain greater insight. We may do a cross reference and read other verses that speak about the same subject. We can read it in different translations and versions. We can ask God how to apply that scripture to our lives. There are numerous ways to selah.
Although it is a small word, selah can have a big impact on our spiritual walk. Selah gives the Holy Spirit time to convict us or direct us by the Word of God. It gives time for the Word to get past the distractions of life, the demands of our flesh, and the interruptions of our soulish man (mind, will, emotions). As we pause and consider the Word we are reading, it can benefit our spirit man and produce results in our lives.
In the past, you may have read past the word selah and didn’t give it much thought. Today, consider the significance of selah and apply to all of your Bible reading and study. You will experience greater spiritual growth as a result.