The Foolishness of Trusting in Riches.

For the music director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

49 (A)Hear this, all peoples;
Listen, all (B)inhabitants of the world,
Both (C)low and high,
Rich and poor together.
My mouth will (D)speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart will be (E)understanding.
I will incline my ear to (F)a proverb;
(G)I will [a]express my (H)riddle on the harp.

Why should I (I)fear in days of adversity,
When the injustice of those who betray me surrounds me,
Those who (J)trust in their wealth
And boast in the abundance of their riches?
No one can by any means (K)redeem another
Or give God a (L)ransom for him—
For (M)the redemption of [b]his soul is priceless,
And he should cease imagining forever—
That he might (N)live on eternally,
That he might not [c](O)undergo decay.

10 For he sees that even (P)wise people die;
The (Q)foolish and the stupid alike perish
And (R)leave their wealth to others.
11 Their [d](S)inner thought is that their houses (T)are forever
And their dwelling places to all generations;
They have (U)named their lands after their own names.
12 But (V)man in his splendor will not endure;
He is like the animals that [e]perish.

13 This is the (W)way of those who are foolish,
And of those after them who (X)approve their words. Selah
14 Like sheep they sink down (Y)to [f]Sheol;
Death will be their shepherd;
And the (Z)upright will rule over them in the morning,
And their form shall be for [g]Sheol (AA)to consume
[h]So that they have no lofty home.
15 But God will (AB)redeem my soul from the [i]power of [j]Sheol,
For (AC)He will receive me. Selah

16 Do not be afraid (AD)when a person becomes rich,
When the splendor of his house is increased;
17 For when he dies, he will (AE)take nothing with him;
His [k]wealth will not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives he (AF)congratulates [l]himself—
And though people praise you when you do well for yourself—
19 [m]He will (AG)go to the generation of his fathers;
They will never see (AH)the light.
20 (AI)Mankind in its splendor, yet without understanding,
Is (AJ)like the animals that [n]perish.


  1. Psalm 49:4 Lit open up
  2. Psalm 49:8 Lit their
  3. Psalm 49:9 Or see corruption; lit see the pit
  4. Psalm 49:11 Some ancient versions graves are their houses
  5. Psalm 49:12 Lit are destroyed
  6. Psalm 49:14 I.e., the netherworld
  7. Psalm 49:14 I.e., the netherworld
  8. Psalm 49:14 Lit Away from his habitation
  9. Psalm 49:15 Lit hand
  10. Psalm 49:15 I.e., the netherworld
  11. Psalm 49:17 Lit glory
  12. Psalm 49:18 Lit his soul
  13. Psalm 49:19 Lit You; or It
  14. Psalm 49:20 Lit are destroyed

Psalm 49[a]

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

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

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

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

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

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding(AL)
    are like the beasts that perish.(AM)


  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.