Psalms 49:18 MEANING

Psalm 49:18
(18) Though, while he lived. . . .--This is abundantly illustrated by our Lord's parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:19; comp. Deuteronomy 29:19).

And men will.--Rather, and though men praise thee, &c. "Although prosperity produces self-gratulation, and procures the homage of the world as well, yet," &c

Verse 18. - Though while he lived he blessed his soul (comp. Psalm 10:3; Luke 12:19). He thought himself happy, and congratulated himself on his good fortune. And men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. A parenthetic remark. Not only do such men congratulate themselves, but the world's applause follows on them. So long as they are well-to-do, and keep themselves in the forefront of the battle of life, they will have "honour, reverence, and troops of friends," who will admire them and flatter them.

49:15-20 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!Though while he lived he blessed his soul,.... Praised and extolled himself on account of his acquisitions and merit; or proclaimed himself a happy man, because of his wealth and riches; or foolishly flattered himself with peace, prosperity, and length of days, and even with honour and glory after death;

and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself; or "but (k) men will praise thee", &c. both rich and poor, all wise men; when, as the Jewish interpreters (l) generally explain the word, a man regards true wisdom and religion, and is concerned for the welfare of his soul more than that of his body; or "when thou thyself doest well": that is, to others, doing acts of beneficence, communicating to the necessities of the poor; or rather, "when thou doest well to thyself", by enjoying the good things of life, taking his portion, eating the fruit of his labour, which is good and comely; see Ecclesiastes 5:18.

(k) "atque celebraverint te", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (l) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc.

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