Q. What does “selah” mean? I see this word often in Psalms and no one has been able to tell me what it means.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
“Selah” is used 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk.
It is probably connected with the Hebrew word “salal” which means “to lift up” or to increase the sound. The precise definition of “Selah” is unknown, but most scholars believe that it indicates either a rest or a pause of the voice in singing so that only the instruments were heard, or a break in the psalm where there is a call to rest and reflect on the preceding words. In Psalm 9:16 it follows the word “higgaion”, which means meditations, as in its use in Psalms 19:14. The word is never used at the beginning of a psalm, nor has it any grammatical connection with the context. Its usual position is at the end of a verse, or at the end of a Psalm. Four times it is found in the middle of a verse: Ps. 55:19, 57:3; Habakkuk 3:3, 9.
It often connects what precedes with what follows as if to emphasize both. It may indicate: “This being so, give heed to what is now to be said.” Its connecting significance may be seen in linking one Psalm with another, as in Psalm 3 and 4.