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The Confidence of the Foolish

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

49 Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Both low and high,
Rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will disclose my [a]dark saying on the harp.

Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who (A)trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor (B)give to God a ransom for him—
For (C)the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And (D)not [b]see the Pit.

10 For he sees wise men die;
Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
11 [c]Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
Their dwelling places to all generations;
They (E)call their lands after their own names.
12 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not [d]remain;
He is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the way of those who are (F)foolish,
And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah
14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
Death shall feed on them;
(G)The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
(H)And their beauty shall be consumed in [e]the grave, far from their dwelling.
15 But God (I)will redeem my soul from the power of [f]the grave,
For He shall (J)receive me. Selah

16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives (K)he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see (L)light.[g]
20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
(M)Is like the beasts that perish.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 49:4 riddle
  2. Psalm 49:9 experience corruption
  3. Psalm 49:11 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. Their graves shall be their houses forever
  4. Psalm 49:12 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr., Vg. understand (cf. v. 20)
  5. Psalm 49:14 Or Sheol
  6. Psalm 49:15 Or Sheol
  7. Psalm 49:19 The light of life

Psalm 49[a]

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

Hear(A) this, all you peoples;(B)
    listen, all who live in this world,(C)
both low and high,(D)
    rich and poor alike:
My mouth will speak words of wisdom;(E)
    the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.(F)
I will turn my ear to a proverb;(G)
    with the harp(H) I will expound my riddle:(I)

Why should I fear(J) when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me—
those who trust in their wealth(K)
    and boast(L) of their great riches?(M)
No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom(N) for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—(O)
so that they should live on(P) forever
    and not see decay.(Q)
10 For all can see that the wise die,(R)
    that the foolish and the senseless(S) also perish,
    leaving their wealth(T) to others.(U)
11 Their tombs(V) will remain their houses[b] forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,(W)
    though they had[c] named(X) lands after themselves.

12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;(Y)
    they are like the beasts that perish.(Z)

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,(AA)
    and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
14 They are like sheep and are destined(AB) to die;(AC)
    death will be their shepherd
    (but the upright will prevail(AD) over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
    far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;(AE)
    he will surely take me to himself.(AF)
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
    when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing(AG) with them when they die,
    their splendor will not descend with them.(AH)
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—(AI)
    and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,(AJ)
    who will never again see the light(AK) of life.

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding(AL)
    are like the beasts that perish.(AM)

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 49:1 In Hebrew texts 49:1-20 is numbered 49:2-21.
  2. Psalm 49:11 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew In their thoughts their houses will remain
  3. Psalm 49:11 Or generations, / for they have
  4. Psalm 49:13 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 15.

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