Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Selah



Psalms 61 and 62 in the 13th-century Parma Psalter (Ms. Parm. 1870; Codex De Rossi 510), in the collection of the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma, Italy

From Biblical Hebrew סֶלָה(sélā), of unknown origin.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsiːlə/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: se‧lah



  1. (biblical) A word occurring between verses or paragraphs in parts of the Hebrew Bible, namely in Habakkuk and the Psalms; perhaps indicating a pause, either for contemplation or for the singer to clear his or her throat.
    • 1568, Matthew Parker, The holie. Bible. Conteynyng the Olde Testament and the Newe [The Bishops' Bible], London: Imprinted at London in povvles Churchyarde by Richarde Iugge, printer to the Queenes Maiestie, OCLC 48899368, Habakkuk 3:3:
      God commeth from Theman, and the holy one from mount Paran, Selah. his glorie couereth the heauens, and the earth is full of his prayse.
    • LORD, how are they increased that trouble mee: many are they that riſe vp againſt me. / Many there bee which ſay of my ſoule, There is no helpe for him in God. Selah. / But thou, O LORD, art a ſheild for me; my glory, and the lifter vp of mine head. / I cryed vnto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of holy hill. Selah.
    • 1769, The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments: Newly Translated out of the Original Tongues, and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by His Majesty's Special Command. Appointed to be Read in Churches [King James Version], Cambridge: Printed by John Archdeacon printer to the University; and sold by John Beecroft, John Rivington, Benjamin White, and Edward Dilly, in London; and T. & J. Merrill, in Cambridge, OCLC 508807898, Psalm 61:1–4:
      Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. / From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. / For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. / I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
    • 1863 December 4, “Art. III. – The Meaning and Use of סֶלָה (Selah.)”, Robert J[efferson] Breckinridge [et al.], editors, The Danville Quarterly Review, volume IV, number II, Danville, Ky.; Cincinnati, Oh.: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 25 West Fourth Street, published June 1864, OCLC 4609985, page 240:
      [] Ps[alm] xlvi has three Selahs (vs. 3, 7, 11,) and likewise a repetition in vs. 7, 11, which, as we have already fully illustrated, Selah greatly intensifies. In Ps. xlix there are two Selahs (vs. 13, 15,) indicating the refrain, "Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:" and, also, a repetition, (with some variation,) of the following words, "Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish." Vs. 12, 20.
    • 1968, Rembert Sorg, Habaqquq III and Selah, Fifield, Wis.: King of Martyrs Priory, OCLC 18128, page 33:
      Students of Selah have been puzzled because in the psalms, which Mishna ascribes to each day of the week for the daily sacrifice, the desired number of Selahs is not to be found. The answer is that the peraqim were timed to the ritual at the altar and that, even though the term Selah might not occur at all in some of these psalms, the peraqim and prostrations referred to the actual Selah ceremony.


selah (plural selahs)

  1. (Christianity) A pause or rest of a contemplative nature.
    • 1981, Millie Stamm, Be Still and Know, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, →ISBN, page 14:
      At times, we too, need to experience a "Selah" in our lives, a time when we pause and rest. To be still and rest is good therapy for today's fast pace of living. The heart strings may be taut, even on the verge of snapping. Suddenly, God inserts a "Selah," a rest, that we might pause and calmly think of Him.
    • 2003, Stan Smith, Prophetic Song: Gateway to Glory, [s.l.]: Xulon Press, →ISBN, page 142:
      Unless the musicians themselves develop a prophetic lifestyle, the selah will be only an irritating piece of ritual. But if the musicians have an ear to hear, a selah will be a highly creative interlude that opens the door for the Holy Spirit to take the church into a higher level of inspiration.
    • 2004, Nancie Carmichael, Selah: Your Moment to Stop, Think, and Step into Your Future, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Fleming H. Revell Company, →ISBN, page 133:
      Your crossroads moment is often a transition time, or Selah, for him as well. Two Selahs happening at once can create added stress.
    • 2014, Joshua Woods, A Song for the Lonely: The Missing Key to Once and for All Seal Your Pact With God, Bloomington, Ind.: Balboa Press, →ISBN, page 200:
      Maybe this is a good time for a Selah. Lol. It is for me. Selah means “pause, and think about that” or a more literal definition, “God had spoken.”

Alternative forms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Old High German[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *selh.


selah m

  1. seal



  • Middle High German: sëleh


  1. Köbler, Gerhard, Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch, (6. Auflage) 2014