Psalm 49

Misplaced Trust in Wealth

For the choir director. A psalm of the sons of Korah.

Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who inhabit the world,(A)
both low and high,
rich and poor together.(B)
My mouth speaks wisdom;
my heart’s meditation brings understanding.(C)
I turn my ear to a proverb;
I explain my riddle with a lyre.(D)

Why should I fear in times of trouble?
The iniquity of my foes surrounds me.(E)
They trust in their wealth
and boast of their abundant riches.(F)
Yet these cannot redeem a person[a]
or pay his ransom to God(G)
since the price of redeeming him is too costly,
one should forever stop trying[b](H)
so that he may live forever
and not see the Pit.(I)

10 For one can see that the wise die;
the foolish and stupid also pass away.(J)
Then they leave their wealth to others.(K)
11 Their graves are their permanent homes,[c]
their dwellings from generation to generation,
though they have named estates after themselves.(L)
12 But despite his assets,[d] mankind will not last;
he is like the animals that perish.(M)

13 This is the way of those who are arrogant,
and of their followers,
who approve of their words.[e](N)Selah
14 Like sheep they are headed for Sheol;
Death will shepherd them.
The upright will rule over them in the morning,(O)
and their form will waste away in Sheol,[f]
far from their lofty abode.(P)
15 But God will redeem me
from the power of Sheol,
for he will take me.(Q)Selah

16 Do not be afraid when a person gets rich,
when the wealth[g] of his house increases.(R)
17 For when he dies, he will take nothing at all;
his wealth will not follow him down.(S)
18 Though he blesses himself during his lifetime—
and you are acclaimed when you do well for yourself(T)
19 he will go to the generation of his ancestors;
they will never see the light.(U)
20 Mankind, with his assets
but without understanding,
is like the animals that perish.(V)


  1. 49:7 Or Certainly he cannot redeem himself, or Yet he cannot redeem a brother
  2. 49:8 Or costly, it will cease forever
  3. 49:11 LXX, Syr, Tg; MT reads Their inner thought is that their houses are eternal
  4. 49:12 Or honor
  5. 49:13 Lit and after them with their mouth they were pleased
  6. 49:14 Hb obscure
  7. 49:16 Or glory, also in v. 17

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