Psalm 49  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Psalms 49
Psa 49:1(top)
Psa 49:2(top)
Psa 49:3(top)
Psa 49:4(top)
Psa 49:5

“of those who deceive me.” The Masoretic Hebrew text reads, “of my heels,” which can be understood in a few different ways. The word “heel” can be understood as “supplanter” (as with “Jacob,” the supplanter, the “heel grabber”).a Or it can refer to those “at the heels,” those seeking to trip the psalmist up in various ways. Or the Hebrew might have not been copied correctly and a slight emendation would yield readings such as “those who deceive me.” Most critical commentaries on Psalms cover the options in some detail.

Cp. Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms, 110-11.
Psa 49:6(top)
Psa 49:7

“nor give God a ransom for him.” The scholars debate whether this second stanza is saying the same thing as the first (cp. CJB; CSB; NIV) or whether the second “him” should be “himself” (cp. NAB; NJB; NRSV; Rotherham). Even if the second stanza refers to the same person as the first stanza, it is still true that a person cannot pay to ransom himself from death. There has to be a redeemer who can pay, and that redeemer is Jesus Christ.

Psa 49:8

“life.” The Hebrew word is nephesh (#05315 נֶפֶשׁ), often translated “soul,” and here it refers to human life. The redemption payment for a human life is costly. So costly in fact that no sinful human can pay it, it had to be paid for by the innocent blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, the second Adam.

[For more on the meaning of “nephesh,” see Appendix 16: “Usages of ‘Soul.’”]

Psa 49:9

“see the pit.” That is, experience death and being dead, lifeless, “in Sheol.” This is an example of the word “see” meaning “experience.”

[For more on the dead being dead see Appendix 3: “The Dead Are Dead.”]

Psa 49:10(top)
Psa 49:11(top)
Psa 49:12

“riches.” The Hebrew word is more literally “honor,” but in this context, the “honor” comes from being wealthy and powerful. Nevertheless, as Psalm 49:12 says, there is no amount of money and no amount of power and authority that will keep a person from dying, and after death comes God’s judgment (Heb. 9:27; Ecc. 12:14; 2 Cor. 5:10).

Psa 49:13(top)
Psa 49:14

“The upright will have dominion over them in the morning.” This is a reference to the fact that when this “present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) is over, the wicked will no longer rule the godly, but the godly will have their day of vengeance and dominion. The ungodly will be resurrected and judged, and then will be condemned to the Lake of Fire and everlasting death. Thus, as the Psalm says, the ungodly are appointed for Sheol, the state of being dead, because that is their eternal destiny.

[For information on the dead being dead until the resurrection, see Appendix 3: “The Dead are Dead.” For more on “Sheol” referring to the state of being dead, see commentary on Revelation 20:13. For more on the resurrections, see commentary on Acts 24:15. For more on the soul not being immortal but dying when the person dies, see Appendix 16: “Usages of ‘Soul.’”]

Psa 49:15

“the power of Sheol.” The Hebrew is idiomatic, literally, “the hand of Sheol,” where the “hand” of Sheol stands for the power of Sheol.

“soul.” The Hebrew word “soul” is nephesh (#05315 נֶפֶשׁ), and here it refers either to the human life or to the person himself. The verse can legitimately be translated either as “redeem me from the power of Sheol” (CJB; GWN; NIV), or “redeem my life from the power of Sheol” (HCSB; NAB; NET). In the mind of the Psalmist, “redeem my nephesh from the power of Sheol” referred to the living person being redeemed from the power of Sheol, so both “me” and “my life” referred to the same basic thing. This is a very good verse that shows that when a person dies, his life force, his “soul,” does not “go to heaven or to hell,” but is in Sheol. Sheol is the state of being dead. When a person dies, he is “in Sheol” and is dead in every way: body, soul, and spirit, and is awaiting the resurrection from the dead.

[For more on the dead being dead and not alive in any way or form, see Appendix 3: “The Dead are Dead.” For more on the meaning of “soul,” see Appendix 16: “Usages of ‘Soul.’” For information about the translations “Hell” and “Hades,” see commentary on Revelation 20:13. For information on people being annihilated in the Lake of Fire and not burning forever, see Appendix 4: “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.” For more on what happens to “spirit” when a person dies, see Appendix 15: “Usages of ‘Spirit.’”]

Psa 49:16(top)
Psa 49:17(top)
Psa 49:18(top)
Psa 49:19(top)
Psa 49:20

“is like the animals that perish.” The Bible teaches that when a person dies they are dead in every way and are in “Sheol” (the state of being dead) until they are raised from the dead by Jesus Christ at the Rapture or one of the resurrections. When people die they do not go to heaven or “hell” as is commonly taught, but are dead in the ground and will be there until they are raised by the Lord. Furthermore, unsaved people, when they are raised from the dead on the Day of Judgment, are not thrown into “hell” where they burn forever, but are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15) where they burn up and are annihilated. Thus the unsaved are like animals that perish, they don’t live forever at all, even in a bad place, they “perish” (cp. John 3:16; Rom. 6:23).

[For more on death being the total absence of life, see Appendix 3: “The Dead are Dead.” For more on people not burning forever but being annihilated, see Appendix 4: “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.”]


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