Psalm 49

1    Hear this, all you peoples;  

listen, all you that dwell in the world,

2    You of low or high degree,  

both rich and poor together.

3    My mouth shall speak of wisdom  

and my heart shall meditate on understanding.

4    I will incline my ear to a parable;  

I will unfold my riddle with the lyre.

5    Why should I fear in evil days,  

when the malice of my foes surrounds me,

6  Such as trust in their goods  

and glory in the abundance of their riches?

7    For no one can indeed ransom another  

or pay to God the price of deliverance.

8    To ransom a soul is too costly;  

there is no price one could pay for it,

9    So that they might live for ever,  

and never see the grave.

10  For we see that the wise die also;

    with the foolish and ignorant they perish  

and leave their riches to others.

11  Their tomb is their home for ever,

    their dwelling through all generations,  

though they call their lands after their own names.

12  Those who have honour, but lack understanding,  

are like the beasts that perish.

13  Such is the way of those who boast in themselves,  

the end of those who delight in their own words.

14  Like a flock of sheep they are destined to die;

    death is their shepherd;  

they go down straight to the Pit.

15  Their beauty shall waste away,  

and the land of the dead shall be their dwelling.

16  But God shall ransom my soul;  

from the grasp of death will he take me.

17  Be not afraid if some grow rich  

and the glory of their house increases,

18  For they will carry nothing away when they die,  

nor will their glory follow after them.

19  Though they count themselves happy while they live  

and praise you for your success,

20  They shall enter the company of their ancestors  

who will nevermore see the light.

21  Those who have honour, but lack understanding,  

are like the beasts that perish.


Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included here,
is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2000 and published by Church House Publishing.

Download the Reflections on the Psalms app