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Psalm 49

For the choir director; a psalm by Korah’s descendants.

Listen to this, all you people.
Open your ears, all who live in the world—
    common people and important ones,
        rich people and poor ones.
My mouth will speak wise sayings,
    the insights I have carefully considered.
I will turn my attention to a proverb.
I will explain my riddle with the music of a lyre.
    Why should I be afraid in times of trouble,
        when slanderers surround me with evil?
            They trust their riches
                and brag about their abundant wealth.

No one can ever buy back another person
    or pay God a ransom for his life.
        The price to be paid for his soul is too costly.
            He must always give up
                in order to live forever and never see the pit.

10 Indeed, one can see that wise people die,
    that foolish and stupid people meet the same end.
        They leave their riches to others.
11 Although they named their lands after themselves,
    their graves[a] have become their homes for ages to come,
        their dwelling places throughout every generation.

12 But mortals will not continue here with what they treasure.
    They are like animals that die.

13 This is the final outcome for fools and their followers
    who are delighted by what they say: Selah
14         Like sheep, they are driven to hell
            with death as their shepherd.
                (Decent people will rule them in the morning.)
        Their forms will decay in the grave,
            far away from their comfortable homes.
15 But God will buy me back from the power of hell
    because he will take me. Selah
16 Do not be afraid when someone becomes rich,
    when the greatness of his house increases.
17         He will not take anything with him when he dies.
            His greatness cannot follow him.
18 Even though he blesses himself while he is alive
    (and they praise you when you do well for yourself),
19         he must join the generation of his ancestors,
            who will never see light again.

20 Mortals, with what they treasure, still don’t have understanding.
    They are like animals that die.

Psalm 50

A psalm by Asaph.


  1. Psalm 49:11 Greek, Syriac, Targum; Masoretic Text “their insides.”

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)


  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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