The word, ‘Selah’ is used 75 times in the Bible.  The first time we read the word is in 2 Kings 14:7 which says, “He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.”  In this instance, the Hebrew word for selah is ‘Çelaʻ and is definitely a place.  This word is also used in Isaiah 16:1, “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.” These are the only two times that the Hebrew word ‘Çelaʻ is used.

The Hebrew word ‘çelâh’ is used 74 times and means: a suspension (of music), i.e. pause.  This word is used 71 times in the book of Psalms and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. 

As I’m sure you know, a psalm is a hymn or a sacred song.  In the book of Psalms, each individual psalm is a different song, written by one of several different writers.  Let us read the first psalm that uses the word ‘selah.’  Psalm 3:1-2, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.”  After writing just these two verses, David injected the word ‘selah’ to denote a musical pause.  He then goes on to write, “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.” (Verses 3-4).  The last verse in this short psalm is verse 8 which says, “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” 

When we see the times that the word ‘selah’ is used, we do well to stop and contemplate on what we just read.  It was a time to pause musically in the Psalms, so it is fitting that we stop spiritually so that the Spirit of God can speak to our hearts about the truths we have just read.  We should do this often no matter what portion of the Bible we are reading.  It is always good to pause often and muse on what we are reading. 

We read in 2 Timothy 2:7, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”  The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to think about what had been said to him.  Through times of thought, times of consideration, times of selah, the Lord will give us “understanding in all things.”  (463.2)