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quasar

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Feb 12 10 9:33 PM

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Its etymology and precise meaning are unknown. This word occurs seventy-one times in thirty-nine of the Psalms, and three times in Habakkuk 3. It is found at the end of Psalms 3, 24, and 46, and in most other cases at the end of a verse, the exceptions being Psalms 55:19, 57:3, and Hab. 3:3, 9.

The significance of this term was apparently not known even by ancient Biblical commentators. This can be seen by the variety of renderings given to it. The Septuagint, Symmachus, and Theodotion translate διάψαλμα — a word as enigmatical in Greek as is "Selah" in Hebrew. The Hexapla simply transliterates σελ. Aquila, Jerome, and the Targum translate it as "always". According to Hippolytus (De Lagarde, "Novæ Psalterii Græci Editionis Specimen" 10), the Greek term διάψαλμα signified a change in rhythm or melody at the places marked by the term, or a change in thought and theme. Against this explanation Baethgen ("Psalmen," p. 15, 1st ed. Göttingen, 1892) notes that Selah also occurs at the end of some psalms.


There is an alternate interpretation: Selah, [celah], is from the primary Hebrew root word [calah] which means 'to hang,' and by implication to measure (weigh). This is readily understood because in Biblical history, money, food and other valuables were 'weighed' by hanging or suspending them on a type of balance (the equivalent of our measuring scale) to determine their value. We find an example of this word [calah] as it is literally translated 'valued,' in the book of Job, indicating that which is measured.

Job 28:15-16

"It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire."

The word translated valued is the exact same Hebrew word [calah], and it quite obviously means "measured against." In this context, God is telling us that wisdom "cannot be measured against the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire." Here the translation 'valued' is to illustrate the measuring of something for an exchange. i.e. wisdom cannot be measured with the gold of Ophir. It is beyond that value. In verse nineteen we see this very same illustration again.

Job 28:19

"The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold."

Again, this word translated valued is the Hebrew word [calah] meaning measured. This passage is declaring of wisdom that, "The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither can it be measured against pure gold." In other words, it is beyond comparison or measuring against. And by these type examples of comparing scripture with scripture, noting a word's context, and how it relates to other words, we can very easily begin to see the true meaning of words. And in this context, this means "measured" against something else, illustrating that wisdom cannot be measured, not even with pure gold. What does Selah Mean So seeing that this Hebrew word [calah] means to 'measure,' as in weighing something in the balances, we better understand how the word Selah [celah], which is derived from it, is illustrating that we should measure or value what has been said. In other words, just as we would say today, the diplomat should, "weigh what he says carefully." Or if we were to say that, "The lawyer measured his words to the Jury." Or again, if we said, "we should consider the Professor's words wisely." All those sentences are speaking of the very same thing. And the word [celah] is used in this very same way. It is an illustration that we should 'measure' or value carefully what has just been said. And you may not realize this (because it's so seldom brought to light), but it is not only in the Psalms and Habakkuk, it is also a word which is used in the lamentations of Jerusalem. And of course, it is 'hardly' illustrating a musical stop or poetic notation there.

Lamentations 1:15

"The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress."

The four words translated 'hath trodden under foot' is actually the very same Hebrew word Selah [celah]. Here in the lamentations or mourning of Jerusalem, God is illustrating that the Lord has "measured" or weighed all the mighty men in the midst of her. In other words, it is an illustration that they were weighed in the balances, and found wanting (Daniel 5:27), thus their judgement is required. So again we see the word is illustrating measured. And just so that there is no confusion, note carefully that the second part of that verse where it says the Lord hath "trodden [darak] the virgin," is an entirely different word, and indeed means to tred. No doubt in this context, this is why it was thought the word [celah] should also be translated trodden. What does Selah Mean As we know, this word is extensively used in the Psalms. And the reason is because the psalms are a prayer book, divinely-inspired songs of the people of Israel, often messianic, allegorical, and historically parabolic. That is to say, history, replete with spiritual meanings. The Selah is there to signal the believer to 'measure' carefully the meaning of what has been said. i.e., here is wisdom, reflect and understand. Just as the Hebrew word Amen [amen] is an exclamation of confidence or truth and certainty of what has been said, so Selah [celah], is an exclamation that we should measure and reflect upon what has been said.

Psalms 4:4

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."

Psalms 9:20

"Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah."

Psalms 57:6

"They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah."

Psalms 62:8

"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."

Psalms 89:3-4

"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah."

Whether of urging our meditation upon our sinfulness, declaring God is our refuge, or speaking in 'types' about Christ, this word is an exhortation for us to be wise and measure or weigh what has been said that we understand. It is used in the Psalms seventy-three times, and is also used in Habakkuk three times. Each time it is illustrating that we should measure wisely or 'weigh' solemnly what is said.

Habakkuk 3:13

"Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah."
This is not a passage to pass over lightly as just a simple narrative. Here is wisdom and spiritual understanding. Whenever we see this word in scripture, we should understand that the Lord is exhorting us to 'weigh' these things thoughtfully, and to reflect and consider in good sense judgment


Blessings,

Quasar

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quasar

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Apr 15 12 7:31 AM

What does ‘selah’ mean in the Bible?

The word “selah” is found in two books of the Bible, but is most prevalent in the Psalms, where it appears 71 times. It also appears three times in the third chapter of the minor prophet Habakkuk.

There is a great deal of confusion about the meaning of “selah,” primarily because the Hebrew root word from which it is translated is uncertain. Well-meaning Bible scholars disagree on the meaning and on the root word, but since God has ordained that it be included in His Word, we should make an effort to find out, as best we can, the meaning.

One possible Hebrew word that is translated “selah” is calah which means “to hang” or “to measure or weigh in the balances.” Referring to wisdom, Job says, “The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold" (Job 28:19). The word translated “valued” in this verse is the Hebrew calah. Here Job is saying that wisdom is beyond comparing against even jewels, and when weighed in the balance against wisdom, the finest jewels cannot equal its value.

“Selah” is also thought to be rendered from two Hebrew words: s_lah, “to praise”; and s_lal, “to lift up.” Another commentator believes it comes from salah, “to pause.” From these words comes the belief that “selah” is a musical direction to the singers and/or instrumentalists who performed the Psalms, which was the hymnbook of the Israelites. If this is true, then each time “selah” appears in a psalm, the musicians paused, either to take a breath, or to sing a cappella or let the instruments play alone. Perhaps they were pausing to praise Him about whom the song was speaking, perhaps even lifting their hands in worship. This would encompass all these meanings—praise, lift up, and pause. When we consider the three verses in Habakkuk, we also see how “selah” could mean “to pause and praise.” Even though Habakkuk was not written to be sung, Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 inspires the reader to pause and praise God for His mercy, power, sustaining grace and sufficiency.

Perhaps the best way to think of “selah” is a combination of all these meanings. The Amplified Bible adds “pause and calmly think about that” to each verse where “selah” appears. When we see the word in a psalm or in Habakkuk 3, we should pause to carefully weigh the meaning of what we have just read or heard, lifting up our hearts in praise to God for His great truths. “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name." Selah! (Psalm 66:4).

Recommended Resource: Bible Answers for Almost all Your Questions by Elmer Towns.

 

From:  www.gotquestions.org

 

 

Quasar



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apologist

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Sep 30 12 9:25 AM

'Selah' is used in Hebrew poetry to indicate a pause to reflect on what has been written.   The word Selah appears often in the Psalms. It's meaning is uncertain, but it's most likely a musical or liturgical indicator of some sort.  http://www.gospel.com/topics/selah


"Let your yes be yes and your no be no. All other communication is from the evil one. "

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quasar

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Sep 30 12 7:40 PM

Thanks for your input, apologist.  There are many who ask what Selah means as I'm sure you have observed as well.

Incidentally, I know who you are.  RW1 @ CRU

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servant

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Oct 1 12 3:00 AM

Psa 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psa 46:11  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

The way church is conducted today is full of song and instruments. Which is good, but there is not a holy quiet time for the Spirit of God to do His work in each heart. There has to be a time of rest beyond the noise, beyond the songs to simply come into God's presence through Christ. In order to hear what He has to say, all the song, music, and dance has to fade away.

The younger generations have to be free to worship God with their new songs of praise and worship, but they also need the quiet work of the Holy Spirit. How will they understand or experience that place if there is constant noise...noise from music, or noise from other's voices speaking all the time. It is ok to be silent in church. That is where reformations are born in each heart. It is also a time that God calls intercessors to do their work as well. If the noise is loud and constant, then how are those intercessors supposed to hear the voice of God. His voice gets drowned out, and put second. There is a time of praise and worship with song and instruments, a time of teaching or ministering the word of God, and then a time of quiet reflection where God draws each heart into a deeper place of worship and prayer. Neglect the quiet time, and neglect the full portion of what God would give.


Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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quasar

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Oct 1 12 6:32 AM

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What does the word Selah mean? There has been much conjecture and speculation by some theologians, and due in no small part to this speculation, Christians are frequently confused as to the true meaning of this word. But having been told everything from "the original Hebrew has been lost," to, "Jewish scholars agree it means forever," it is very easy to understand their confusion. In addition, many are assured that because this word appears only in the psalms and a poetic section of Habakkuk (which is not true), they are justified in "assuming" that it is just a musical term indicating an interlude. I have even read that Selah is from an Aramaic word, and it really means worship. Still others claim it means to "lift up." All of which serves not to enlighten the Church, but to confuse the issue even more.

With all of these "experts" making such contradictory statements, one tends to wonder, "can we even really know what Selah means?" The answer to this question I believe is yes. And the answer really shouldn't be subjective or left to conjecture. Because there is much we can learn about this word from the original Hebrew in which it is written, from allowing the Bible to be its own dictionary, and from comparing scripture with scripture and allowing God to be His own interpreter. All of these things can give us a solid illustration of this word's true meaning. Selah, [celah], is from the primary Hebrew root word [calah] which literally means 'to hang,' and by implication to measure (weigh). This is readily understood because in Biblical history, money, food and other valuables were 'weighed' by hanging or suspending them on a type of balance (the equivalent of our measuring scale) to determine their value. We find an example of this word [calah] as it is literally translated 'valued,' in the book of Job, indicating that which is measured. Job 28:15-16

  • "It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
  • It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire."
The word translated valued is the exact same Hebrew word [calah], and it quite obviously means "measured against." In this context, God is telling us that wisdom "cannot be measured against the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire." Here the translation 'valued' is to illustrate the measuring of something for an exchange. i.e. wisdom cannot be measured with the gold of Ophir. It is beyond that value. In verse nineteen we see this very same illustration again.
Job 28:19
  • "The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold."
Again, this word translated valued is the Hebrew word [calah] meaning measured. This passage is declaring of wisdom, "The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither can it be measured against pure gold." In other words, it is beyond comparison or measuring against. And by these type examples of comparing scripture with scripture, noting a word's context, and how it relates to other words, we can very easily begin to see the true meaning of words. And in this context, this means "measured" against something else, illustrating that the value of wisdom cannot be measured, not even with pure gold.
What does Selah Mean

So seeing that this Hebrew word [calah] means to 'measure,' as in weighing something in the balances, we better understand how the word Selah [celah], which is derived from it, is illustrating that we should measure or value what has been said. In other words, just as we might say today, "The diplomat should, weigh what he says carefully." Or if we were to say that, "The lawyer measured his words to the Jury." Or again, "We should consider the Professor's words circumspectly." All those sentences are speaking of the very same thing. And the word [celah] is used in this very same way. It is an illustration that we should 'measure' or value carefully what has just been said. As in the Psalms, which are often types, very prophetic or Messianic in nature. And you may not realize this (because it's so seldom brought to light), but it is not only in the Psalms and Habakkuk, it is also a word which is used in the lamentations of Jerusalem. And of course, it is 'hardly' illustrating a musical stop or poetic notation there.
Lamentations 1:15

  • "The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress."
The four words translated 'hath trodden under foot' in the KJV is actually the very same Hebrew word Selah [celah]. Here in the lamentations or mourning of Jerusalem, God is illustrating that the Lord has "measured" or weighed all the mighty men in the midst of her. In other words, it is an illustration that they were weighed in the balances, and found wanting (Daniel 5:27), thus their judgement is required. So again we see the word is illustrating the act of measuring. And just so that there is no confusion, note carefully that the second part of that verse where it says the Lord hath "trodden [darak] the virgin," is an entirely different word, and indeed means to tred. No doubt in this context, this is why the translators thought the word [celah] should also be translated trodden.
What does Selah Mean

As we know, this word is extensively used in the Psalms. And the reason is because the psalms are a prayer book, divinely-inspired songs of the people of Israel, often Messianic, allegorical, and historically parabolic. That is to say, history, replete with spiritual meanings. The Selah is there to signal the believer to 'measure' carefully the meaning of what has been said. i.e., here is some deeper wisdom, reflect on it and understand its true meaning. Just as the Hebrew word Amen [amen] is an exclamation of confidence or truth and certainty of what has been said, so Selah [celah], is an exclamation that we should measure and reflect upon what has been said.
Psalms 4:4

  • "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."
Psalms 55:5-7
  • "Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
  • And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
  • Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah".
Psalms 9:20
  • "Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah."
Psalms 57:6
  • "They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah."
Psalms 62:8
  • "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
Psalms 89:3-4
  • "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,
  • Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah."
Whether of urging our meditation upon our sinfulness, declaring God is our refuge, or speaking in 'types' about Christ, this word is an exhortation for us to be wise and measure or weigh what has been said that we understand its true meaning. It is used in the Psalms seventy-three times, and is also used in Habakkuk three times. Each time it is illustrating that we should measure wisely or 'weigh' solemnly what is said.
Habakkuk 3:13
  • "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah."
This is not a passage to pass over lightly as just a simple narrative. The passage is dripping with Soteriology and judgment (Psalms 110:6) to be gleaned only in wisdom and spiritual understanding. Whenever we see this word in scripture, we should understand that the Lord is exhorting us to 'weigh' these things thoughtfully, and to reflect and consider in good sense judgment, what is 'really' being said.
What does Selah Mean

And despite claims to the contrary, there is no substantive Biblical evidence that Selah is an interrupter to pause the music while voices continue, nor is there sound evidence that it is for the pausing of voices while the music continues. These ideas are based upon the conjecture and theories of it being a music stop. These are presuppositions rather than well researched textual conclusions. But what we do know is that it is a word that means to weigh or measure. And in these contexts, it means to weigh the preceding words of God and wisely consider them. It is a signature exhortation from God for our thoughtful reflection and weighing of what we have just read.
Selah

..may the Lord who is gracious above all, give us wisdom and understanding, and guide us all into the truth of His Holy Word.

Amen!

-by Tony Warren


 
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