Two-thirds of the CCM vocal trio Selah grew up in Africa, and that influence made itself felt immediately on the group's distinctive 1999 debut album, Be Still My Soul. Formed by siblings Todd and Nicol Smith plus Allan Hall, the group's musical style was specialized thanks to the Smiths' childhood as missionary children in Africa. Signed to Curb Records, Selah found success with their debut, Be Still My Soul, which earned critical praise as well as a Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year. They repeated the feat with 2001's Press On, and released the Christmas album Rose of Bethlehem in 2002.

 

Nicol, married and having pursued a concurrent solo career since 2000, left the group soon after; she was replaced first by Melodie Crittenden, then permanently by Amy Perry. (The baton was passed back and forth in 2006, when both Crittenden and Perry appeared on separate tracks of a Selah duets album, Bless the Broken Road, which also won the Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year.) The trio of Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry solidified their presence on the CCM landscape with 2009's You Deliver Me and 2011's Hope of the Broken World. Their ninth album for Curb, the critically acclaimed You Amaze Us, was released in 2014. In 2016 the group issued a new EP, O the Blood, as well as a second volume of Greatest Hymns. A year later, they returned with the Unbreakable, which featured production from Jason Kyle Saetveit, Scott Cash, and Charlie Peacock. 

Selah in The Bible

Selah ( or with pronounced audible H; Hebrew: סֶלָה‬, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used seventy-four times in the Hebrew Bible—seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. The meaning of the word is not known, though various interpretations are given below. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela` (Hebrew: סֶלַע‬) which means "rock", or in an adjectival form, "like a rock", i.e.: firm, hard, heavy) It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen." Selah can also be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm. The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that." It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph. At least some of the Psalms were sung accompanied by musical instruments and there are references to this in many chapters. Thirty-one of the thirty-nine psalms with the caption "To the choir-master" include the word selah. Selah may indicate a break in the song whose purpose is similar to that of Amen (Hebrew: "so be it") in that it stresses the truth and importance of the preceding passage; this interpretation is consistent with the meaning of the Semitic root ṣ-l-ḥ also reflected in Arabic cognate salih (variously "valid" the logical sense of "truth-preserving", "honest," and "righteous"). Alternatively, selah may mean "forever," as it does in some places in the liturgy (notably the second to last blessing of the Amidah). Another interpretation claims that selah comes from the primary Hebrew root word salah (סָלָה‬) which means "to hang," and by implication to measure (weigh).

Etymology

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: altogether 74 times in the Bible. 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, 13. 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 (diapsalma, or "apart from psalm") — a word as enigmatic 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.

Modern ideas

One proposed meaning is given by assigning it to the root, as an imperative that should not properly have been vocalized, "Sollah" (Ewald, "Kritische Grammatik der Hebräischen Sprache,"p. 554; König, "Historisch-Kritisches Lehrgebäude der Hebräischen Sprache," ii., part i., p. 539). The meaning of this imperative is given as "Lift up," equivalent to "loud" or "fortissimo," a direction to the accompanying musicians to break in at the place marked with crash of cymbals and blare of Tets, the orchestra playing an interlude while the singers' voices were hushed. The effect, as far as the singer was concerned, was to mark a pause. This significance, too, has been read into the expression or sign, selah being held to be a variant of "shelah" (="pause"). But as the interchange of shin ש and samek ס is not usual in Biblical Hebrew, and as the meaning "pause" is not held to be applicable in the middle of a verse, or where a pause would interrupt the sequence of thought, this proposition has met with little favor. Grätz argues that selah introduces a new paragraph, and also in some instances a quotation (e.g., Psalms 57:8 et seq. from 108:2 et seq.) The fact that the term occurs four times at the end of a Psalm would not weigh against this theory. The Psalms were meant to be read in sequence, and, moreover, many of them are fragments; indeed, Psalm 9 is reckoned one with Psalm 10 in the Septuagint, which omits διάψαλμα (diapsalma) also at the end of Psalms 3, 24, 46 and 68 B. Jacob (l.c.) concludes (1) that since no etymological explanation is possible, selah signifies a pause in or for the Temple song; and (2) that its meaning was concealed lest the Temple privileges should be obtained by the synagogues or perhaps even by the churches. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon shows that the main derivation of the Hebrew word selah is found through the fientive verb root סֶ֜לָה which means "to lift up (voices)" or "to exalt," and also carries a close connotational relationship to the verb סָלַל, which is similar in meaning: "to lift up" or "to cast up." The word סֶלָה, which shifts the accent back to the last syllable of the verb form, indicates that in this context, the verb is being used in the imperative mood as somewhat of a directive to the reader. As such, perhaps the most instructive way to view the use of this word, particularly in the context of the Psalms, would be as the writer's instruction to the reader to pause and exalt the Lord.

Contemporary usage

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson commonly used the word to end articles and personal letters. Journalist, author and screenwriter George MacDonald Fraser used selah occasionally in The Flashman Papers, a celebrated historical fiction series published between 1969 and 2005. Selah is used in Iyaric Rastafarian vocabulary. It can be heard at the end of spoken-word segments of some reggae songs. Its usage here, again, is to accentuate the magnitude and importance of what has been said, and often is a sort of substitute for Amen. Notable, according to Rastafarian faith, is also the word's similarity with the incarnated god and savior Selassie (Ethiopia's former emperor Haile Selassie). Furman Bisher, the former sports editor and columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for decades signed off his columns with "Selah." The same is often done by political columnist and blogger Ed Kilgore at the close of a day's postings. In Predator 2, just before being killed by the predator, the Jamaican drug lord King Willie says, "His foundation lie in the holy mountain" before pausing and adding "Selah." U2 frontman Bono during a Jimmy Kimmel Live performance announced "Take you to church, Selah," right before the choir started singing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ylSoAxpcKk "Selah" is the name of both a sculpture and a 2017 exhibtion by artist Sanford Biggers.

Literary instances

"Selah" appears several times in the Wanderer and Shadow's song in "Among the Daughters of the Desert" from Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." "Selah!" is used at the end of the second part (titled Dimanche) of Conversations dans le Loir-et-Cher by French writer Paul Claudel (1935). Selah is the last word in Anita Diamant's book The Red Tent and in Edward Dahlberg's Because I Was Flesh, and according to Charlotte Chandler also the last word Groucho Marx chose for the extensive biographical work she did with him. Katherine Kurtz uses it in some of her Deryni novels, including The King's Justice (1985); it is among the acquired Eastern influences on the ritual practices of Deryni at King Kelson's court, largely brought by Richenda, Duchess of Corwyn, after her marriage to Duke Alaric Morgan. It is also the last word in Gilbert Sorrentino's novel Little Casino (2002), probably in homage to Dahlberg. In Hunter S. Thompson's collected works "Songs of the Doomed," "The Proud Highway: Saga of A Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967," and Fear and Loathing in America: the Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, The Gonzo Letters Volume Two 1968-1976 the word Selah is used frequently in letters and diatribes written from the 1960s to the 1990s. The word is used similarly to the word allora in Italy. It is used by the Czech writer and philosopher John Amos Comenius at the end of his book Ksaft. "Selah" is the name of a song by R&B/Hip-Hop artist Lauryn Hill. Selah was defined to mean 'pause and consider' in Babylon 5 episode "Deconstruction of Falling Stars." "Selah" is the title of a miniature for trio (flute, clarinet and piano) by Argentinean composer Juan Maria Solare. The variation "seyla" is used in Battletech as a ritual response during Clan ceremonies. In the 1975 John Huston film The Man Who Would Be King, Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) punctuates his royal proclamations with "selah." In the humorous essay "New Days in Old Bottles," by Robert Benchley, the narrator ends with the paragraph "Life and the Theatre. Who knows? Selah."

Characters named Selah appear in

George Elliot Clarke's long narrative poem Whylah Falls the film The Book of Eli Shane Jones's first novel Light Boxes Charlaine Harris's novel Dead as a Doornail Virginia Hamilton's novel The House of Dies Drear Raymond Barfield's novel The Book of Colors

See also

Jewish prayer List of Jewish prayers and blessings Selah (band)

References

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Selah". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

External links

The Selah Workshop, Galilee, Israel City of Selah, Washington, USA Selah: The Israel Crisis Management Center

Albums & Songs

Live from Blackbird Studio - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Todo (feat. Selah) - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Unbreakable Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
I Got Saved (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Forever Judah (Twins Remix) Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Greatest Hymns, Vol. 1 & 2 Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Rose of Bethlehem (Deluxe Edition) Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Greatest Hymns, Vol. 2 Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Adon (Lord of My Life) - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
O the Blood - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
At the Cross (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
People of the Cross - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Selah Singles - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
You Amaze Us Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
O the Blood (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
More and More of You (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Oh Our Lord (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Without You (Ruby V.) - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
You Amaze Us (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Selah - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
It Must Be You (Moses) [From "The Story"] [Performance Track] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
It Must Be You (Moses) [The Story] - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Be (My Heart, My Hands, My Voice) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
A Voice Cries Out in the Wilderness Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
I Turn To You (Performance Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Rose of Bethlehem (Performance Track Album) Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Hope of the Broken World Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Hope of the Broken World (Performance Track Album) Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
I Want You Out My House - Remixes Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
I Want You Out My House - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Look At You Loving Me Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Woman's World - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Streets Don’t Love You Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Growing Pains, Vol. 2 - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Selah - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
All My Tears (Accompaniment Track) [feat. Kim Hill] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
You Deliver Me Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
The Lord's Prayer (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
You Deliver Me (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Unredeemed (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Beautiful Terrible Cross (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Hosanna (Single) Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Growing Pains - Vol. 1 Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Timeless - The Selah Collection Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Growing Pains Volume 1 - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Memories - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Spiritually Speaking Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Faithful One (Accompaniment Track) [feat. Christy Nockels] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Gentle Healer (Accompaniment Track) [feat. Amy Perry] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
I Will Sing of My Redeemer (Accompaniment Track) [feat. BarlowGirl] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Follow Jesus (Landa Yesu) (Accompaniment Track) [feat. Nicole C. Mullen] - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Bless the Broken Road - The Duets Album Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Bless the Broken Road (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Be Thou My Vision (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Greatest Hymns Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
All My Praise (Accompaniment Track) - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Hiding Place Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
You Raise Me Up - EP Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Press On (Accompaniment Track) - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Wonderful, Merciful Saviour (Accompaniment Track) - Single Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Press On Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes
Be Still My Soul Complete Album Listen Mp3 On Itunes