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To the Director: A song by the Sons of Korah.

The Destiny of the Wicked and the Upright

49 Listen to this, all you people!
    Pay attention, all you who live in the world,
both average people and those of means,[a]
    the rich and the poor together.
My mouth will speak wisely,
    and I will understand what I think about.
I will focus my attention on[b] a proverb;
    I will use the harp to expound my riddle.
Why should I be afraid when evil days come my way,
    when the wickedness of those who deceive me surrounds me—
those who put confidence in their wealth
    and boast about their great riches?
No man can redeem the life of another,[c]
    nor can he give to God a sufficient payment for him—
for it would cost too much to redeem his life,
    and the payments would go on forever—
that he should go on living
    and not see corruption.

10 Indeed, he will see wise people die;
    the stupid and the senseless will meet their doom
        and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their inner thoughts are on[d] their homes forever;
    their dwellings from generation to generation.
        They even name their lands after themselves.
12 But humanity cannot last, despite its conceit;[e]
    it will pass away just like the animals.[f]
13 This is the fate of those who are foolish
    and of those who correct their words after they speak.
Interlude

14 Like sheep, they are destined for the realm of the dead,[g]
    with death as their shepherd.
The upright will have dominion over them in the morning;
    their strength will be consumed in the afterlife,[h]
        so that they have no home.
15 God will truly redeem me from the power[i] of Sheol.[j]
    He will surely receive me!
Interlude

16 Don’t be afraid when someone gets rich,
    when the glory of his household increases.
17 When he dies, he will not be able to take it all with him[k]
    his possessions[l] will not follow him to the grave,[m]
18 although he considers himself blessed while he’s alive.

Though people praise you for doing well,
19 you will end up like your[n] ancestors’ generation,
        never again to see the light of day!

20 Humanity, despite its conceit, does not understand
    that it will perish, just like the animals.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 49:2 Lit. both sons of Adam and sons of men
  2. Psalm 49:4 Lit. will incline my ear to
  3. Psalm 49:7 Lit. of a brother
  4. Psalm 49:11 So MT DSS 4QPsc 4QPsj; LXX reads Their graves are
  5. Psalm 49:12 So MT; DSS 4QPsc Syr LXX read Humans, held in honor, had no understanding;
  6. Psalm 49:12 So MT; LXX reads they resembled senseless animals, and became like them; DSS 4QPsc read they are like animals that perish
  7. Psalm 49:14 Lit. for Sheol; i.e. the realm of the dead
  8. Psalm 49:14 Lit. in Sheol; i.e. the realm of the dead
  9. Psalm 49:15 Lit. hand
  10. Psalm 49:15 I.e. the realm of the dead
  11. Psalm 49:17 The Heb. lacks with him
  12. Psalm 49:17 Or glory
  13. Psalm 49:17 The Heb. lacks to the grave
  14. Psalm 49:19 Lit. his

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