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(A psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)

Don’t Depend on Wealth

49 Everyone on this earth,
    now listen to what I say!
    Listen, no matter who you are,
    rich or poor.
I speak words of wisdom,
    and my thoughts make sense.
I have in mind a mystery
    that I will explain
    while playing my harp.

Why should I be afraid
    in times of trouble,
    when I am surrounded
    by vicious enemies?
They trust in their riches
    and brag about
    all of their wealth.
You cannot buy back your life
    or pay off God!
    It costs far too much
    to buy back your life.
You can never pay God enough
    to stay alive forever
    and safe from death.

10 We see that wise people die,
    and so do stupid fools.
    Then their money is left
    for someone else.
11 The grave[a] will be their home
    forever and ever,
    although they once had land
    of their own.
12 Our human glory disappears,
    and, like animals, we die.

13 Here is what happens to fools
    and to those who trust
    the words of fools:
14 They are like sheep
with death as their shepherd,
    leading them to the grave.[b]
In the morning God’s people
    will walk all over them,
    as their bodies lie rotting
    in their home, the grave.
15 But God will rescue me
    from the power of death.

16 Don’t let it bother you
    when others get rich
    and live in luxury.
17 Soon they will die
    and all of their wealth
    will be left behind.

18 We humans are praised
    when we do well,
    and all of us are glad
    to be alive.
19 But we each will go down
    to our ancestors,
    never again to see
    the light of day.
20 Our human glory disappears,
    and, like animals, we die.


  1. 49.11 The grave: Some ancient translations; Hebrew “Their inward thoughts.”
  2. 49.14 as their. . . grave: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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