(ssee' luh) Place name meaning, “rock.” Major fortified city in Edom. The biblical references lend themselves to varying interpretations, since Sela may also be read as a common noun referring to rocky country or wilderness.
Judges 1:36 refers to a border of the Amorites, though some commentators change this to Edomites (REB). Amaziah of Judah (796-767 B.C.) captured Sela and renamed it Joktheel (2 Kings 14:7). Compare
2 Chronicles 25:12 in NRSV. Isaiah's oracle against Moab calls for action from Sela, which many commentators take to be the rocky wilderness bordering Moab rather than the more distant town of Sela (Isaiah 16:1). Traditionally from the earliest Greek translation on, Sela has been identified with Petra, the capital of Edom, or the nearby umm-Bayyara in the wadi Musa. More recent study has placed it at es-Sela, two and a half miles northwest of Bozrah and five miles southwest of Tafileh. Modern translations include Sela in
Isaiah 42:11, God's call to joy at the coming salvation.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'SELA'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".