Psalms 49
Wealth and the Fate of the Wicked
For the music director. Of the sons of Korah. A psalm.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
1Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all you inhabitants of the world,
2both low and high,
rich and poor together.
3My mouth will speak wisdom,
and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.
4I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will propound#Literally “open” my riddle on a lyre.
5Why should I fear in times of calamity,#Literally “the days of evil”
when iniquity surrounds me at my heels,
6those who trust their wealth
and boast about the abundance of their riches?
7Surely a man cannot redeem a brother.
He cannot give to God his ransom
8(since#Hebrew “and” the redemption price for their life is costly
and it always fails),
9so that he may stay alive forever
and not see the pit.
10For he sees that the wise die,
together with the fool and brute they perish,
and leave their wealth to the next generation.
11Within them they think their houses are forever,
their dwelling places from generation to generation.
They name#Literally “call” their lands by their own names.
12But man cannot continue in his pomp.
He is like the beasts that perish.
13This is the journey#Hebrew “way” of those who have foolish confidence,
and those after them who accept their sayings. Selah
14Like sheep they are destined to Sheol;
death will shepherd them.
But the upright will rule over them in the morning,
and their forms will be for Sheol to consume,
far from his lofty abode.
15Surely God will ransom my life
from the power#Literally “hand” of Sheol,
because he will receive me. Selah
16Do not fear when a man becomes rich,
when the wealth#Or “honor” of his house increases,
17because when he dies he will not take away any of it.
His wealth will not follow down after him.
18Though he congratulated his soul while he was living
—and people will praise you when you do well for yourself—
19it#That is, his soul will go to the generation of his fathers.
Never will they see light.
20Humankind in its pomp, but does not understand,
is like the beasts that perish.
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