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49 1-2 Listen, everyone! High and low, rich and poor, all around the world—listen to my words, for they are wise and filled with insight.

I will tell in song accompanied by harps the answer to one of life’s most perplexing problems:

There is no need to fear when times of trouble come, even though surrounded by enemies! They trust in their wealth and boast about how rich they are, yet not one of them, though rich as kings, can ransom his own brother from the penalty of sin! For God’s forgiveness does not come that way.[a] 8-9 For a soul is far too precious to be ransomed by mere earthly wealth. There is not enough of it in all the earth to buy eternal life for just one soul, to keep it out of hell.[b]

10 Rich man! Proud man! Wise man! You must die like all the rest! You have no greater lease on life than foolish, stupid men. You must leave your wealth to others. 11 You name your estates after yourselves as though your lands could be forever yours and you could live on them eternally. 12 But man with all his pomp must die like any animal. 13 Such is the folly of these men, though after they die they will be quoted as having great wisdom.

14 Death is the shepherd of all mankind. And “in the morning” those who are evil will be the slaves of those who are good. For the power of their wealth is gone when they die;[c] they cannot take it with them.

15 But as for me, God will redeem my soul from the power of death, for he will receive me. 16 So do not be dismayed when evil men grow rich and build their lovely homes. 17 For when they die, they carry nothing with them! Their honors will not follow them. 18 Though a man calls himself happy all through his life—and the world loudly applauds success— 19 yet in the end he dies like everyone else and enters eternal darkness.

20 For man with all his pomp[d] must die like any animal.


  1. Psalm 49:7 For God’s forgiveness does not come that way, implied in text.
  2. Psalm 49:8 to keep it out of hell, literally, “so that he should not see the Pit.”
  3. Psalm 49:14 For the power of their wealth is gone when they die, literally, “Their beauty shall be for Sheol to consume.”
  4. Psalm 49:20 with all his pomp, literally, “but without insight.” It is uncertain whether this phrase was part of the original text.

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