19 But he will join his ancestors;[a] they will never again see the light of day.[b] 20 Wealthy people do not understand;[c] they are like animals[d] that perish.[e]
Psalm 49:19tnVerses 18-19a are one long sentence in the Hebrew text, which reads: “Though he blesses his soul in his life, [saying], ‘And let them praise you, for you do well for yourself,’ it [that is, his soul] will go to the generation of his fathers.” This has been divided into two sentences in the translation for clarity, in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences.
Psalm 49:19tnHeb “light.” The words “of day” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
Psalm 49:20tnHeb “mankind in honor does not understand.” The Hebrew term יְקָר (yeqar, “honor”) probably refers here to the wealth mentioned in the preceding context. The imperfect verbal form draws attention to what is characteristically true. Some emend יָבִין (yavin, “understands”) to יָלִין (yalin, “remains”), but this is an unnecessary accommodation to the wording of v. 12.
Psalm 49:20tn The Hebrew verb is derived from דָּמָה (damah, “cease, destroy”; BDB 198 s.v.). Another option is to derive the verb from דָּמָה (damah, “be silent”; see HALOT 225 s.v. II דמה, which sees two homonymic roots [I דָּמַה, “be silent,” and II דָּמַה, “destroy”] rather than a single root) and translate, “they are like dumb beasts.” This makes particularly good sense here, where the preceding line focuses on mankind’s lack of understanding.
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