Jim Hamilton takes issue with the decision of the NIV translators to remove the word “Selah” from the book of Psalms. He argues:
For reasons textual, structural, intertextual, cultural, and theological the NIV 2011 should reverse itself on this point and put the word Selah back where it belongs: in the text.
When I read an ancient text from a different culture, I don’t want to look into a linguistic mirror. I would like for that text to feel a little foreign, to feel a little ancient. I don’t want it only telling me what I already know. This word Selah occurs over and over all across the Psalter and into Habakkuk 3. One of the challenges of reading and understanding the Bible is paying attention to all the things the Bible says that we don’t understand, studying those things, and trying to come to a place where we begin to learn what the biblical authors were talking about and how they talked about it.
At my church earlier this evening, I heard an expository message on the text of Psalm 59. During the sermon, I was struck by the fact that my English translation had structured the Psalm one way while the preacher understood the structure a different way. The preacher identified the units of the text based on the two occurrences of Selah. No one is really sure what Selah means, but I observed just tonight that it still figures in to the reader’s interpretation of the text.
I agree with Jim on this one and hope that future editions of the NIV will put it back in. Read the rest of Jim’s argument here.