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Psalms 49

Wisdom Better Than Wealth
For the Pure and Shining One
A poetic song by the prophetic singers of Korah’s clan
1-2Listen, one and all!
Both rich and poor together, all over the world—
everyone listen to what I have to say!
3For wisdom will come from my mouth;
words of insight and understanding will be heard
from the musings of my heart.
4I will break open mysteries with my music,
and my song will release riddles solved.
5There’s no reason to fear when troubling times come,
even when you’re surrounded with problems
and persecutors who chase at your heels. # 49:5 This phrase contains a variant form of the name Jacob, which means “heel grabber.”
6-7They trust in their treasures and boast in their riches,
yet not one of them, though rich as a king,
could rescue his own brother from the guilt of his sins.
No one could give God the ransom price
for the soul of another, let alone for himself.
8-9A soul’s redemption is too costly and precious
for anyone to pay with earthly wealth.
The price to pay is never enough
to purchase eternal life for even one, to keep them out of hell.
10-11The brightest and best, along with the foolish and senseless,
God sees that they all will die one day,
leaving their houses and wealth to others.
Even though they name streets and lands after themselves, # 49:10–11 Or “They read their names in the ground.”
hoping to have their memory endure beyond the grave,
becoming legends in their own minds,
their home address is now the cemetery!
12The honor of man is short-lived and fleeting.
There’s little difference between man and beast,
for both will one day perish.
13Such is the path of foolish men
and those who quote everything they say,
for they are here today and gone tomorrow!
Pause in his presence
14A shepherd called “Death” herds them,
leading them straight to hell like mindless sheep.
Yet at daybreak you will find the righteous ruling in their place.
Every trace of them will be gone forever,
with all their “glory” lost in the darkness of their doom.
15But I know the loving God will redeem my soul,
raising me up from the dark power of death,
taking me as his bridal partner. # 49:15 Or “he will offer his hand to me in marriage.”
Pause in his presence
16So don’t be disturbed when you see the rich
surround you with the “glory” of their wealth on full display.
17For when they die, they will carry nothing with them,
and their riches will not follow them beyond the grave.
18-19Though they have the greatest rewards of this world
and all applaud them for their accomplishments,
they will follow those who have gone before them
and go straight into the realm of darkness,
where they will never ever see the light again.
20So this is the way of mortal man—
honored for a moment, yet without eternal insight,
like a beast that will one day perish.
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