Psalm 49

Earthly advantages are not

reliable for permanent


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.
2 Listen, ordinary and important people alike.
      Listen, those of you who are rich or poor.

 3 My mouth will speak wise words.
      What I say from my heart will give understanding.
4 I will pay attention to a proverb.
      I will explain my riddle as I play the harp.
5 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.
6 They trust in their wealth.
      They brag about how rich they are.

 7 No man can pay for the life of anyone else.
      No one can give God what that would cost.

 8 The price for a life is very high.
      No payment is ever enough.
9 No one can pay enough to live forever
      and not rot in the grave.

 10 Everyone can see that even wise people die.
      Foolish and dumb people also pass away.
      All of them leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves 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 Like sheep they will end up in the grave.
      Death will swallow them up.
   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 grave.
      He will certainly take me to himself.

 16 Don’t be upset when someone becomes rich.
      Don’t be troubled when he becomes more and more wealthy.

 17 He won’t take anything with him when he dies.
      His riches won’t go down to the grave with him.

 18 While he lived, he believed he was blessed.
      People praised him when things were going well for him.

19 But he will die, like his people of long ago.
      He will never again see the light that leads to life.

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

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