Psalm 49:3
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
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Psalm 49:3-4. My mouth shall speak of wisdom — I shall not treat of trivial things, nor of those I have but slightly considered; but about the most weighty matters, which my mind hath greatly pondered. I will enrich your souls with wisdom, which is better than the wealth of the world, which you covet; and I will teach you how to direct all your actions aright unto that scope at which you aim, the being happy. I will incline mine ear — I will hearken to what God by his Spirit speaks to me, and that I will now speak to you. To a parable — Which properly is an allegorical speech, but is often taken for an important, and withal dark doctrine or sentence. I will open — I will not smother it in my own breast, but publish it to the world. My dark saying — So he calls the following discourse, because the thing in question ever hath been thought hard to be understood. “Much of the eastern wisdom consisted in the understanding of parables; and in the interpretation of dark sayings or riddles: the mysterious cover to this kind of wisdom made it the most high-prized accomplishment. And here, when the psalmist was to raise and engage the attention of his audience, he promises that he would speak of those things, in which the highest wisdom was supposed to consist: and, indeed, it must be confessed that, in the composition of this Psalm, he has made use of every art to render it worthy the subject.” — Dodd, and Warburton’s Divine Legation.49:1-5 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?My mouth shall speak of wisdom - That is, I will utter sentiments that are wise, or that are of importance to all; sentiments that will enable all to take a just view of the subject on which I speak. This indicates "confidence" in what he was about to utter, as being eminently deserving of attention.

And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding - What I reflect on, and what I give utterance to, in the matter under consideration. The idea is, that he had meditated on the subject, as to what was real wisdom in the matter, and that he would now give utterance to the result of his meditations. It was not wisdom in general, or intelligence or understanding as such on which he designed to express the results of his thoughts, but it was only in respect to the proper value to be attached to wealth, and as to the fact of its causing fear Psalm 49:5 in those who were not possessed of it, and who might be subjected to the oppressive acts of those who were rich.


Ps 49:1-20. This Psalm instructs and consoles. It teaches that earthly advantages are not reliable for permanent happiness, and that, however prosperous worldly men may be for a time, their ultimate destiny is ruin, while the pious are safe in God's care.

1-3. All are called to hear what interests all.

world—literally, "duration of life," the present time.

It concerns you diligently to attend to me, for I am about to speak not of vulgar and trivial things, or such as come suddenly into my mind, and rush as hastily out of my mouth, but of such things as are the result of my most serious and considerate thoughts, and such as, if you observe them and lay them to heart, will make you truly wise, and keep you from those errors, and follies, and mischiefs, which the generality of mankind, for want of a right understanding, do run into. My mouth shall speak of wisdom,.... Or "wisdoms" (m); of Christ, who is so called, Proverbs 1:20. He being as a divine Person the wisdom of God, and the only wise God; and having all the treasures of wisdom in him, as man and Mediator: of him the prophet spake, and of him the apostles and all Gospel ministers speak; of the glories of his Person, of the fulness of his grace, and of his wonderful works; especially of that of redemption and salvation by him, in which there is an abounding of wisdom and prudence. Or the Gospel may be meant, and all the truths of it, in which there is a glorious display of divine wisdom; it is the wisdom of God in a mystery; hidden and ancient wisdom; and which, when truly understood, makes a man wise unto salvation; see 1 Corinthians 2:6;

and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding; or "understandings" (n); and this is in order to the former; what the heart meditates the mouth speaks. If the heart meditates on understanding, the mouth will speak of wisdom; and a man should think before he speaks, especially the ministers of the Gospel: they ought to meditate on the word of God, the Gospel, and the truths of it, that their profiling may appear to all; that they may understand divine things themselves, and deliver them out to the understanding of others: their concern should be, that through meditation they may have a good treasure of wisdom and knowledge in their hearts, that out of it they may bring forth things pleasant and profitable unto others.

(m) "sapientias", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. (n) "intelligentias", Pagninus, Montanus.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
3. My mouth shall speak wisdom,

And the meditation of my heart shall be (full of) understanding.

The words for wisdom and understanding are both plural in the Heb., denoting manifold wisdom and profound insight.Verse 3. - My mouth shall speak of wisdom (comp. Job 33:3, 4). It is not his own "wisdom" that the psalmist is about to utter, but a wisdom communicated to him from without, to which he has "to incline his ear" (ver. 4). And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding; or, of discernment (Kay). (Heb.: 48:10-12) Now follows grateful praise to God, who hears prayer and executes justice, to the joy of His city and of His people. By דּמּינוּ the poet refers back to the service held in the temple before the army set out, as narrated in 2 Chronicles 20, to the prayers offered in the time of their impending danger, and to the remembrance of the favour hitherto shown towards Jerusalem, from which source they drew the comfort of hope for the present time. דּמּה, to compare, to hold one thing over against another, in this instance by causing the history of the past to pass before one's mind. To God's mighty deeds of old is now added a new one. The Name of God, i.e., the sum of His self-attestations hitherto, was the subject of the דמינו in the temple, and more particularly of the Korahitic songs (2 Chronicles 20:19); and this name has gloriously verified itself by a new deed of righteousness. His fame extends even to the ends of the earth (2 Chronicles 20:29). He has proved Himself to be One whose right hand is full of righteousness, and who practises righteousness or justice where it is necessary. Let, then, the Holy City, let the country cities of Judah (Isaiah 40:9, cf. Psalm 16:2) rejoice. The whole inheritance of Israel was threatened. Now it is most gloriously delivered.
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