To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
1 HEAR THIS, all you peoples; give ear, all you inhabitants of the world,
2 Both low and high, rich and poor together:
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4 I will submit and consent to a parable or proverb; to the music of a lyre I will unfold my riddle (my problem).
5 Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of those who would supplant me surrounds me on every side,
6 Even of those who trust in and lean on their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 None of them can by any means redeem [either himself or] his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him–
8 For the ransom of a life is too costly, and [the price one can pay] can never suffice–
9 So that he should live on forever and never see the pit (the grave) and corruption.
10 For he sees that even wise men die; the [self-confident] fool and the stupid alike perish and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inward thought is that their houses will continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands their own [apart from God] and after their own names.
12 But man, with all his honor and pomp, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who are foolishly confident, yet after them men approve their sayings. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol (the place of the dead); death shall be their shepherd. And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their form and beauty shall be consumed, for Sheol shall be their dwelling.
15 But God will redeem me from the power of Sheol (the place of the dead); for He will receive me. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
16 Be not afraid when [an ungodly] one is made rich, when the wealth and glory of his house are increased;
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives he counts himself happy and prosperous, and though a man gets praise when he does well [for himself],
19 He will go to the generation of his fathers, who will nevermore see the light.
20 A man who is held in honor and understands not is like the beasts that perish.