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The Folly of Trust in Riches

To the choirmaster. 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;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.

Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
men who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Truly no man can ransom himself,[a]
    or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of his[b] life is costly,
    and can never suffice,
that he should continue to live on for ever,
    and never see the Pit.

10 Yea, he shall see that even the wise die,
    the fool and the stupid alike must perish
    and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves[c] are their homes for ever,
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they named lands their own.
12 Man cannot abide in his pomp,
    he is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who have foolish confidence,
    the end of those[d] who are pleased with their portion.Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    Death shall be their shepherd;
straight to the grave they descend,[e]
    and their form shall waste away;
    Sheol shall be their home.[f]
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me.Selah

16 Be not afraid when one becomes rich,
    when the glory[g] of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory[h] will not go down after him.
18 Though, while he lives, he counts himself happy,
    and though a man gets praise when he does well for himself,
19 he will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never more see the light.
20 Man cannot abide in his pomp,
    he is like the beasts that perish.


  1. Psalm 49:7 Another reading is no man can ransom his brother
  2. Psalm 49:8 Gk: Heb their
  3. Psalm 49:11 Gk Syr Compare Tg: Heb their inward (thought)
  4. Psalm 49:13 Tg: Heb after them
  5. Psalm 49:14 Cn: Heb the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning
  6. Psalm 49:14 Heb uncertain
  7. Psalm 49:16 Or wealth
  8. Psalm 49:17 Or wealth

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