For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
3 For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
6 They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from deatha
by paying a ransom to God.
8 Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
9 to live forever
and never see the grave.
10 Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
11 The graveb is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
12 but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
13 This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.c
14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave,d
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave.
16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
17 For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
19 But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.
a. 49:7 Some Hebrew manuscripts read no one can redeem the life of another.
b. 49:11 As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads Their inward [thought].
c. 49:13 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
d. 49:14 Hebrew Sheol; also in 49:14b, 15.