Selah. Apparently, no one really knows what it means, but by the best guess, it means to pause and praise, to give value. This is apparently one of the root words in Hebrew (and it’s not like there are a lot – 323 at last count) that scholars disagree about. However, it being in Psalms 71 times and in Habakkuk 3 times, means that it is something relatively important. Interestingly, what came to my mind when, after Morning Prayer and I’m attempting to figure out – what did I just read? – is the Arabic ṣalawāt that is said after the name of Mohammad is spoken (generally, something like Peace Be Upon Him).
So then the question becomes, when you’re reading those passages in the Bible and you come to the word “Selah”, do you actually say Selah, or should you say something in praise of what you have just heard? Or should we pause and think about what we’ve heard, giving it the respect and careful consideration it apparently deserves?
So look at Psalm 66:4: “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. Selah.” Is this a time to exemplify what you just read? While I can envision that happening in some churches, it’s hard to even imagine it in the liturgical churches. That could be a truly interesting way to blow everyone’s mind. 🙂 (As I sit here and giggle at the scene in my head.)
I may send this to a couple of pastors/priests and see what they think.