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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Psalms 49

Verses 1-20

Psalms 49

Counsel to Foolish Men

Scripture v. 1-20:

Verses 1, 2 call all men of low and high degree, to heed a Divine message. It is for the rich and the poor to heed together, because God is interested in all men, who belong to Him, by creation and His daily sustaining them, Ezekiel 18:4; Acts 17:28; Luke 14:35; See also Deuteronomy 32:1; Psalms 1:1; Micah 1:2; He then warns the rich, v. 6, 7, 17, and con­soles the poor, v. 15, 16.

Verses 3, 4 is a Davidic commitment to speak words of wisdom and meditate from his heart things of spiritual understanding, Proverbs ch. 8; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Jesus is the embodiment, the essence of that wisdom, Colossians 2:13. He added, "I will incline mine ear (to understand) a parable even open my dark saying upon the harp," of praise and thanks­giving to God, who gives wisdom liberally, and does not even scold or chide those who ask Him for it, Proverbs 1:7; James 1:5; 1 Kings 10:1; Psalms 78:2; Amos 8:5.

Verse 5 asks, "why should I fear in the days of evil (of judgment), when the iniquity of my heels, my treacherous foes shall compass (or encircle) me about?" Genesis 25:25; Genesis 27:36. Why fear when God is with you? 1 John 4:18; Psalms 23:4-5.

Verses 6, 7 assert that those who trust in their (uncertain) wealth and boast or gloat in the multitude of riches shall none by any means redeem or ransom his brother (from hell), nor give (dole out) to God a ransom for him, as repeatedly certified Job 31:24; Proverbs 10:15; Proverbs 23:5; Mark 10:24; 1 Timothy 6:17. See also Matthew 16:26; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18.

Verses 8, 9 add that the "redemption of their soul is precious and it ceaseth for ever," Job 36:18. The gold is left behind forever, but not the soul! It lives on forever, in heaven’s joys or hell’s horrors, Luke 12:20.
Verse 9 adds fur­ther "He should live still forever and not, never see, corruption," But to each the response of His faith to the will of God, the call, of God, deter­mined his destiny, as certified 1 Peter 3:15; John 7; John 17; John 6:37; Romans 1:15-16; Romans 10:8-13.

Verse 10 declares that the wealthy sees that wise men die, for "There is (exists) no man that dieth not," Ecclesiastes 9:5; Hebrews 9:26-27. Not only wise ones but also the foolish and the brutish perish, leaving their earthly wealth to others. So it is, and has been, and will ever be! "Naked we came, naked we return, "Job 1:21.

Verses 11-13 describe the ungodly rich whose inward thought is that their houses, estates, dwelling places, and lands will pass on to many generations, called by their names, desirous of earthly honor, Luke 18:14. However man being in honor abideth not that way, is soon forgotten, much as the beast of the field, sporting about without a thought of speedy death, Ecclesiastes 3:19; Ecclesiastes 9:12. It is added that this is their way, course or disposition of life, living for this life only, is one of folly. Yet their (greedy) posterity approve their sayings, their desire to leave a name of earthly honor, Psalms 1:6; Psalms 37:5. They have a "mouth speaking great things," Daniel 7:8; Psalms 73:8. Selah, pause and reflect, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

Verse 14 adds that "like sheep" they come to the grave, Habakkuk 2:5. The worms of death shall "feed on them," and the upright shall have dominion over them, their estates and wealth, "in the morning" of the resurrection. And their former beauty in wealth shall consume in the grave from their dwelling, of the former earthly tabernacle, their temporary residence of their soul while on earth, Psalms 46:5; Daniel 7:22; Malachi 4:3; Revelation 2:2. ,

Verse 15 certifies "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me, Job 19:25-29; Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 5:1; John 5:28-29; Selah, pause and take spiritual nourishment from this, Psalms 73:24.

Verses 16, 17 advise that the righteous be not afraid when he sees the wicked accumulate wealth, as his house is increased, for when he dies, as die he will, he shall carry nothing with him, to the grave, pr into hell; His days of glory are done, Luke 12:20-21.

Verses 18, 20 conclude that though while the wicked rich lived he blessed his soul, lived for this life only, as the rich man in hell, Luke 16:25; And men will praise you when you "do well to yourself, are materially prosperous." But it is added that he who is praised in and for his earthly prosperity, tho he have not God, live wickedly, shall go like his wicked fathers, they shall never see light again, that shines on the saints, Revelation 21:23; but exist in darkness, abandoned of God, for ever and ever, Psalms 9:19. It is concluded that man that is in honor, exalted in things of earth, without God, yet understands not the direction of his soul, is like the dumb beast that perishes, goes headlong to the slaughter, Zechariah 11:3-6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 49". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-49.html. 1985.