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Psalm 49 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Wisdom Better Than Wealth

49 For the Pure and Shining One
A poetic song, by the prophetic singers of Korah’s clan
1–2 Listen, one and all!
Both rich and poor together, all over the world—
everyone listen to what I have to say!
For wisdom will come from my mouth;
words of insight and understanding will be heard
from the musings of my heart.
I will break open mysteries with my music,
and my song will release riddles solved.
There’s no reason to fear when troubling times come,
even when you’re surrounded with problems
and persecutors who chase at your heels.[a]
6–7 They trust in their treasures and boast in their riches,
yet not one of them, though rich as a king,
could rescue his own brother from the guilt of his sins.
Not one could give God the ransom price
for the soul of another, let alone for himself.
8–9 A soul’s redemption is too costly and precious
for anyone to pay with earthly wealth.
The price to pay is never enough
to purchase eternal life for even one, to keep them out of hell.
10–11 The brightest and best, along with the foolish and senseless,
God sees that they all will die one day,
leaving their houses and wealth to others.
Even though they name streets and lands after themselves,[b]
hoping to have their memory endure beyond the grave,
legends in their own minds,
their home address is now the cemetery!
12 The honor of man is short-lived and fleeting.
There’s little difference between man and beast,
for both will one day perish.
13 Such is the path of foolish men
and those who quote everything they say,
for they are here today and gone tomorrow!
Pause in his presence
14 A shepherd called “Death” herds them,
leading them like mindless sheep straight to hell.
Yet at daybreak you will find the righteous ruling in their place.
Every trace of them will be gone forever,
with all their “glory” lost in the darkness of their doom.
15 But I know the loving God will redeem my soul,
raising me up from the dark power of death,
taking me as his bridal partner.[c]
Pause in his presence
16 So don’t be disturbed when you see the rich
surround you with the “glory” of their wealth on full display.
17 For when they die they will carry nothing with them,
and their riches will not follow them beyond the grave.
18–19 Though they have the greatest rewards of this world
and all applaud them for their accomplishments,
they will follow those who have gone before them
and go straight into the realm of darkness,
where they never ever see the light again.
20 So this is the way of mortal man—
honored for a moment, yet without eternal insight,
like a beast that will one day perish.


  1. Psalm 49:5 This phrase contains a variant form of the name Jacob, which means “heel grabber.”
  2. Psalm 49:10 Or “They read their names in the ground.”
  3. Psalm 49:15 Or “He will offer his hand to me in marriage.”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

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Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Psalm 49 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 49[a]

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

Hear this, all you peoples;
    listen, all who live in this world,
both low and high,
    rich and poor alike:
My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
I will turn my ear to a proverb;
    with the harp I will expound my riddle:

Why should I fear when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me—
those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of their great riches?
No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,
    though they had[c] named lands after themselves.

12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
    they are like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
    and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die;
    death will be their shepherd
    (but the upright will prevail 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;
    he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
    when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
    their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
    and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
    who will never again see the light of life.

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
    are like the beasts that perish.


  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.
New International Version (NIV)

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