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Psalm 49

Psalm 49a

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

1Hear this, all you peoples;

listen, all who live in this world,

2both low and high,

rich and poor alike:

3My mouth will speak words of wisdom;

the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.

4I will turn my ear to a proverb;

with the harp I will expound my riddle:

5Why should I fear when evil days come,

when wicked deceivers surround me—

6those who trust in their wealth

and boast of their great riches?

7No one can redeem the life of another

or give to God a ransom for them—

8the ransom for a life is costly,

no payment is ever enough—

9so that they should live on forever

and not see decay.

10For all can see that the wise die,

that the foolish and the senseless also perish,

leaving their wealth to others.

11Their tombs will remain their housesb forever,

their dwellings for endless generations,

though they hadc named lands after themselves.

12People, despite their wealth, do not endure;

they are like the beasts that perish.

13This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,

and of their followers, who approve their sayings.d

14They 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.

15But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;

he will surely take me to himself.

16Do not be overawed when others grow rich,

when the splendor of their houses increases;

17for they will take nothing with them when they die,

their splendor will not descend with them.

18Though while they live they count themselves blessed—

and people praise you when you prosper—

19they will join those who have gone before them,

who will never again see the light of life.

20People who have wealth but lack understanding

are like the beasts that perish.

a 1 In Hebrew texts 49:1-20 is numbered 49:2-21.
b 11 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew In their thoughts their houses will remain
c 11 Or generations,
     for they have

d 13 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 15.

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