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Psalm 49 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Psalm 49

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

Hear this, all you nations.
    Listen, all you who live in this world.
Listen, people, whether you are ordinary or important.
    Listen, people, whether you are rich or poor.
My mouth will speak wise words.
    What I think about in my heart will give you understanding.
I will pay attention to a proverb.
    I will explain my riddle as I play the harp.

Why should I be afraid when trouble comes?
    Why should I fear when sinners are all around me?
    They are the kind of people who want to take advantage of me.
They trust in their wealth.
    They brag about how rich they are.
No one can pay for the life of anyone else.
    No one can give God what that would cost.
The price for a life is very high.
    No payment is ever enough.
No one can pay enough to live forever
    and not rot in the grave.

10 Everyone can see that even wise people die.
    People who are foolish and who have no sense also pass away.
    All of them leave their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever.
    Their graves will be their homes for all time to come.
    Naming lands after themselves won’t help either.

12 Even though people may be very rich, they don’t live on and on.
    They are like the animals. They die.

13 That’s what happens to those who trust in themselves.
    It also happens to their followers, who agree with what they say.
14 They are like sheep and will end up in the grave.
    Death will be their shepherd.
But when honest people come to power, a new day will dawn.
    The bodies of sinners will waste away in the grave.
    They will end up far away from their princely houses.
15 But God will save me from the place of the dead.
    He will certainly take me to himself.

16 Don’t get too upset when other people become rich.
    Don’t be troubled when they become more and more wealthy.
17 They won’t take anything with them when they die.
    Their riches won’t go down to the grave with them.
18 While they lived, they believed they were blessed.
    People praised them when things were going well for them.
19 But they will die, like their people of long ago.
    They will never again see the light of life.

20 People who have riches but don’t understand
    are like the animals. They die.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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