“Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” – Psalm 49 (KJV)
The Fool Trusts in Riches
For the choir director. By the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
1 Hear this, all you peoples.
Pay attention, all you inhabitants of this world,
2 all you children of Adam, all mankind,
rich and poor alike.
3 My mouth will speak wisdom.
The meditation of my heart will give understanding.
4 I will listen carefully to wise teaching.
With a lyre I will explain deep truths.
The Limitations of Riches
5 Why should I fear days of trouble,
days when the wickedness of my pursuers surrounds me?[a]
6 They trust in their wealth.
They place their confidence in the abundance of their riches.
7 But no one can by any means redeem himself.[b]
He cannot give God a ransom for himself—
8 (Yes, the ransom for their souls is costly.
Any payment would fall short.)[c]
9 —so that he could live on forever and not see the pit.
10 Yes, we can see that wise men die.
The fool and the senseless alike perish,
and they leave their wealth to others.
11 They think their houses will remain forever,
their dwellings for generation after generation[d]
because they named lands after themselves.
12 But man, though he has riches, does not even spend a night here.
He is like the animals that perish.
13 This way of theirs is foolishness,
but their followers approve of what they say. Interlude
14 They are like a flock destined for the grave.
Death will be their shepherd.
The upright will rule over them in the morning.
Their bodies will be consumed by the grave,
far from their mansions.[e]
The Limitless Power of God
15 But surely God will redeem my life from the power of the grave.
Yes, he will take me to himself. Interlude
Review and Conclusion
16 Do not be afraid when a man grows rich,
when the glory of his house increases,
17 because when he dies, he cannot take anything along.
His glory will not go down with him.
18 Throughout his life he congratulates himself:
“People praise you because you have done so well for yourself.”
19 He will go to the gathering place of his fathers.
They will never see the light!
20 A man who has riches but does not understand
is like the animals that perish. – Psalm 49 (EHV)
[a] Psalm 49:5 The line is unclear. The Hebrew reads the wickedness of my heels surrounds me.
[b] Psalm 49:7 The translation follows a few Hebrew manuscripts. Many Hebrew manuscripts read he cannot redeem a brother.
[c] Psalm 49:8 The line is cryptic: it/he ceases forever. This may mean that no payment is ever enough or that at death the man’s earthly life ends forever.
[d] Psalm 49:11 The translation follows the Hebrew. Ancient versions read their tombs will remain their houses forever.
[e] Psalm 49:14 The Hebrew of this line reads their form for consuming of Sheol, from a lofty residence to him. The meaning is unclear.