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49:1 Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
49:2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
49:3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
49:4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
49:5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
49:6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
49:7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
49:8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
49:9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
49:10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
49:11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
49:12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
49:13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
49:14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
49:16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
49:17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
49:18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
49:19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
49:20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

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Everything King James Bible:Psalms
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 49

A Call for attention. (1-5) Folly of worldlings. (6-14)
Against fear of Death. (15-20)

1-5 We seldom meet with a more solemn introduction: there is No
Truth of greater importance. Let all hear this with application
to ourselves. The Poor are in danger from undue desire toward
the wealth of the world, as rich people from undue delight in
it. The psalmist begins with applying it to himself, and that is
the right method in which to treat of Divine things. Before he
sets down the folly of Carnal security, he lays down, from his
own experience, the benefit and comfort of a holy, gracious
security, which they enjoy who trust in God, and not in their
worldly wealth. In the Day of Judgment, the iniquity of our
heels, or of our steps, our past sins, will compass us. In those
days, worldly, wicked people will be afraid; but wherefore
should a Man fear Death who has God with him?

6-14 Here is a description of the Spirit and way of worldly
people. A Man may have wealth, and may have his Heart enlarged
in Love, thankfulness, and obedience, and may do good with it.
Therefore it is not men's having riches that proves them to be
worldly, but their setting their hearts upon them as the best
things. Worldly men have only some floating thoughts of the
things of God, while their fixed thoughts, their inward
thoughts, are about the world; that lies nearest the Heart. But
with all their wealth they cannot save the Life of the dearest
friend they have. This looks further, to the eternal Redemption
to be wrought out By the Messiah. The Redemption of the soul
shall cost very dear; but, being once wrought, it shall never
need to be repeated. And he, the Redeemer, shall rise again
before he sees corruption, and then shall live for evermore, Re
1:18. This likewise shows the folly of worldly people, who sell
their souls for that which will never buy them. With all their
wealth they cannot secure themselves from the stroke of Death.
Yet one Generation after another applaud their maxims; and the
character of a fool, as drawn By heavenly Wisdom itself, Lu
12:16-21, continues to be followed even among professed
Christians. Death will ask the proud sinner, Where is thy
wealth, thy pomp? And in the morning of the resurrection, when
all that sleep in the Dust shall awake, the upright shall be
advanced to the highest honour, when the wicked shall be filled
with Everlasting shame and contempt, Da 12:2. Let us now Judge
of things as they will appear in that Day. The beauty of
Holiness is that alone which the Grave cannot touch, or damage.

15-20 Believers should not fear Death. The distinction of men's
outward conditions, how great soever in Life, makes none at
Death; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though in
this Life it may seem of small account, yet at and after Death
is very great. The soul is often Put for the Life. The God of
Life, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemer
at last. It includes the Salvation of the soul from eternal
ruin. Believers will be under strong Temptation to envy the
prosperity of sinners. Men will praise thee, and cry thee up, as
having done Well for thyself in raising an estate and family.
But what will it avail to be approved of men, if God condemn us?
Those that are rich in the graces and comforts of the Spirit,
have something of which Death cannot strip them, nay, which
Death will improve; but as for worldly possessions, as we
brought nothing into the world, So it is certain that we shall
carry nothing out; we must leave all to others. The sum of the
whole matter is, that it can profit a Man nothing to gain the
whole world, to become possessed of all its wealth and all its
power, if he lose his own soul, and is cast away for want of
that holy and heavenly Wisdom which distinguishes Man from the
brutes, in his Life and at his Death. And are there men who can
prefer the Lot of the rich sinner to that of Poor Lazarus, in
Life and Death, and to eternity? Assuredly there are. What need
then we have of the teaching of the Holy Ghost; when, with all
our boasted powers, we are prone to such folly in the most
important of all concerns!

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