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1 To the chiefe Musician, a Psalme for the sonnes of Korah. Heare this, all yee people, giue eare all yee inhabitants of the world:

2 Both low, and high, rich and poore together.

3 My mouth shall speake of wisedome: and the meditation of my heart shalbe of vnderstanding.

4 I will incline mine eare to a parable; I will open my darke saying vpon the harpe.

5 Wherefore should I feare in the daies of euill, when the iniquitie of my heeles shall compasse me about?

6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselues in the multitude of their riches:

7 None of them can by any meanes redeeme his brother, nor giue to God a ransome for him:

8 (For the redemption of their soule is precious, and it ceaseth for euer.)

9 That he should still liue for euer, and not see corruption.

10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the foole, and the brutish person perish, and leaue their wealth to others.

11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for euer, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their owne names.

12 Neuerthelesse man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beastes that perish.

13 This their way is their follie; yet their posteritie approue their sayings. Selah.

14 Like sheepe they are layd in the graue, death shall feede on them; and the vpright shall haue dominion ouer them in the morning, and their beauty shall consume in the graue, from their dwelling.

15 But God will redeeme my soule from the power of the graue; for he shall receiue me. Selah.

16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased.

17 For when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

18 Though whiles he liued, he blessed his soule: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thy selfe.

19 Hee shall goe to the generation of his fathers, they shall neuer see light.

20 Man that is in honour and vnderstandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

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Commentary for Psalms 49

A call for attention. (1-5) Folly of worldlings. (6-14) Against fear of death. (15-20)

1-5 We seldom meet with a more solemn introduction: there is no truth of greater importance. Let all hear this with application to ourselves. The poor are in danger from undue desire toward the wealth of the world, as rich people from undue delight in it. The psalmist begins with applying it to himself, and that is the right method in which to treat of Divine things. Before he sets down the folly of carnal security, he lays down, from his own experience, the benefit and comfort of a holy, gracious security, which they enjoy who trust in God, and not in their worldly wealth. In the day of judgment, the iniquity of our heels, or of our steps, our past sins, will compass us. In those days, worldly, wicked people will be afraid; but wherefore should a man fear death who has God with him?

6-14 Here is a description of the spirit and way of worldly people. A man may have wealth, and may have his heart enlarged in love, thankfulness, and obedience, and may do good with it. Therefore it is not men's having riches that proves them to be worldly, but their setting their hearts upon them as the best things. Worldly men have only some floating thoughts of the things of God, while their fixed thoughts, their inward thoughts, are about the world; that lies nearest the heart. But with all their wealth they cannot save the life of the dearest friend they have. This looks further, to the eternal redemption to be wrought out by the Messiah. The redemption of the soul shall cost very dear; but, being once wrought, it shall never need to be repeated. And he, the Redeemer, shall rise again before he sees corruption, and then shall live for evermore, #Re 1:18|. This likewise shows the folly of worldly people, who sell their souls for that which will never buy them. With all their wealth they cannot secure themselves from the stroke of death. Yet one generation after another applaud their maxims; and the character of a fool, as drawn by heavenly Wisdom itself, #Lu 12:16-21|, continues to be followed even among professed Christians. Death will ask the proud sinner, Where is thy wealth, thy pomp? And in the morning of the resurrection, when all that sleep in the dust shall awake, the upright shall be advanced to the highest honour, when the wicked shall be filled with everlasting shame and contempt, #Da 12:2|. Let us now judge of things as they will appear in that day. The beauty of holiness is that alone which the grave cannot touch, or damage.

15-20 Believers should not fear death. The distinction of men's outward conditions, how great soever in life, makes none at death; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though in this life it may seem of small account, yet at and after death is very great. The soul is often put for the life. The God of life, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemer at last. It includes the salvation of the soul from eternal ruin. Believers will be under strong temptation to envy the prosperity of sinners. Men will praise thee, and cry thee up, as having done well for thyself in raising an estate and family. But what will it avail to be approved of men, if God condemn us? Those that are rich in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, have something of which death cannot strip them, nay, which death will improve; but as for worldly possessions, as we brought nothing into the world, so it is certain that we shall carry nothing out; we must leave all to others. The sum of the whole matter is, that it can profit a man nothing to gain the whole world, to become possessed of all its wealth and all its power, if he lose his own soul, and is cast away for want of that holy and heavenly wisdom which distinguishes man from the brutes, in his life and at his death. And are there men who can prefer the lot of the rich sinner to that of poor Lazarus, in life and death, and to eternity? Assuredly there are. What need then we have of the teaching of the Holy Ghost; when, with all our boasted powers, we are prone to such folly in the most important of all concerns!

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Psalms 49

  • Steve morrow
    PSALM49:11their inward thought is that their houses shall continue forever andtheir dwelling places toall generations they call their lands after their own names49:12nevertheless man being in honor abideth not he is like the beasts that perish49:13this their wayis their folly yet their posterity approve their sayings SELAH49:19HE SHALL GO TO THE GENERATION OF HIS FATHERS THEY SHALL NEVER SEE LIGHT
  • Hans Aaland
    Though God makes it clear about those who boast themselves of the multitude of their riches will perish like the beasts, the Psam still leaves chance for him to repent [([8]For the redemption of his soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever:) [9]That he should still live forever, and not see corruption.]
  • Steve morrow
    PSALM 49:6 they that trust in their wealth and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches --49:7-- NONE OF THEM CAN -- by any means redeem his brother --- NOR GIVE TO GOD A RANSOM FOR HIM PSALM 97:7 how long shall they utter and speak hard things and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves
  • A disciple
    "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." There is no more thinking about how we feel or look like, or if we're getting everything we want, and people adore us, once the soul departs the body. All we were and who we were won't be there any more.
  • BSP
    Verses 6,7: Even the wealthiest man or woman can not buy everlasting life. We must put our full faith and confidence in Jehovah God because he is the only one who can provide us with everlasting life.
  • Marshal Albritton
    At the age of 20 years old I had to have 'open heart surgery'. I was confident of where I would go in the possibility of a random medical complication. While laying on the cart, waiting to be pushed into the back room for prep work by the doctors, I had complete sound mind and peace of spirit about the matter. What was the worst thing that could have happened? - - I could have died. GREAT!!

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