Psalm 49:6
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) They thati.e., the rogues implied in the last verse.

Psalm 49:6-9. They, &c. — The psalmist, having said that good men had no sufficient cause of fear on account of what they might suffer from ungodly men, now proceeds to show that the ungodly had no reason to be secure because of their riches. That trust in their wealth — As that which can secure them from calamities. None of them can redeem — Either from the first or second death; his brother — Whom he would do his utmost to preserve, nor consequently himself; nor give to God — The only Lord of life, and the Judge who passes on him the sentence of death; a ransom for him — Hebrew, כפרו, cophro, his expiation, or, the price of his redemption, namely, from death. For the redemption of their soul — Of their life; is precious — Costly, hard to be obtained. And it ceaseth for ever — It is never to be accomplished by any mere man, for himself or for his brother. That he should live for ever — That he should be excused from dying; and not see corruption — Or, the pit, or the grave. These last four verses are well translated by Mudge, thus: “They that trust in their substance, and boast in the abundance of their riches; not one can, in truth, redeem his brother, nor give to God his ransom; (for the ransom of their life is of too high a value, and he is extinct for ever;) so that he should live on continually, and not see the pit.”49:6-14 Here is a description of the spirit and way of worldly people. A man may have wealth, and may have his heart enlarged in love, thankfulness, and obedience, and may do good with it. Therefore it is not men's having riches that proves them to be worldly, but their setting their hearts upon them as the best things. Worldly men have only some floating thoughts of the things of God, while their fixed thoughts, their inward thoughts, are about the world; that lies nearest the heart. But with all their wealth they cannot save the life of the dearest friend they have. This looks further, to the eternal redemption to be wrought out by the Messiah. The redemption of the soul shall cost very dear; but, being once wrought, it shall never need to be repeated. And he, the Redeemer, shall rise again before he sees corruption, and then shall live for evermore, Re 1:18. This likewise shows the folly of worldly people, who sell their souls for that which will never buy them. With all their wealth they cannot secure themselves from the stroke of death. Yet one generation after another applaud their maxims; and the character of a fool, as drawn by heavenly Wisdom itself, Lu 12:16-21, continues to be followed even among professed Christians. Death will ask the proud sinner, Where is thy wealth, thy pomp? And in the morning of the resurrection, when all that sleep in the dust shall awake, the upright shall be advanced to the highest honour, when the wicked shall be filled with everlasting shame and contempt, Da 12:2. Let us now judge of things as they will appear in that day. The beauty of holiness is that alone which the grave cannot touch, or damage.They that trust in their wealth - The first reason why there was no cause of alarm is drawn Psalm 49:6-10 from the "powerlessness" of wealth, as illustrated by the fact that it can do nothing to save life or to prevent death. He refers to those who possess it as "trusting" in their wealth, or "relying on" that as the source of their power.

And boast themselves - Pride themselves; or feel conscious of safety and strength because they are rich. It is the "power" which wealth is supposed to confer, that is alluded to here.

In the multitude of their riches - The abundance of their wealth.

6. They are vainglorious. As that which can and will secure them from God’s judgments, and from the calamities of human life. The psalmist having said that he and other good men had no sufficient cause of fear from their present sufferings from ungodly men, now he proceeds, on the contrary, to show that his ungodly enemies had no reason to be secure and confident because of their present riches and prosperous success. They that trust in their wealth,.... In their outward force, power, and strength; their horses, chariots, and armies; see Psalm 33:16; or in their worldly goods and substance; which seems to be the sense of the word here, as appears from Psalm 49:10. To "trust" in them is to set the eye and heart upon them; or to take up rest in them, to depend on them, to the neglect of divine Providence, with respect to future living in this world; and to expect eternal happiness hereafter, because favoured with many earthly enjoyments here: so to do is evil. Therefore the Targum is, "woe to the wicked that trust in their substance". And it is also very weak and foolish to trust in riches, since they are uncertain, are here today, and gone tomorrow; and are unsatisfying, he that has much would still have more: nor can they deliver from evil, from present judgments, from the sword, the pestilence, and famine; nor from death, nor from the future judgment, and wrath to come; and are often injurious to the spiritual and eternal welfare of men; see 1 Timothy 6:9;

and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; of their acquisition of them by their own diligence and industry; and of their having them because of some peculiar virtue and excellency in themselves; and of the abundance of them. Such rejoicing and boasting is evil; since riches are the gifts of God, the blessings of his Providence; and are often bestowed on persons neither wise nor diligent, and much less deserving; see Jeremiah 9:23. The whole may be applied to the Romish antichrist and his followers, who trust in and boast of their temporal riches, which in one hour will come to nought, Revelation 18:7; and of the treasure of the church, of merit; and works of supererogation; with all which they cannot redeem one soul from ruin and destruction, as follows:

They that trust in their {c} wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;

(c) To trust in riches is madness, seeing they can neither restore life, nor prolong it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 6. - They that trust in their wealth; rather, even of them that trust in their wealth. The sense runs on from the preceding verse (so Hengstenberg and Professor Cheyne). And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches. Such men are always persecutors of the righteous. They are worldly, carnal, godless. (Heb.: 48:13-15) The call is addressed not to the enemies of Jerusalem - for it would be absurd to invite such to look round about upon Jerusalem with joy and gladness - but to the people of Jerusalem itself. From the time of the going forth of the army to the arrival of the news of victory, they have remained behind the walls of the city in anxious expectation. Now they are to make the circuit of the city (הקּיף, still more definite than סבב, Joshua 6:3) outside the walls, and examine them and see that its towers are all standing, its bulwark is intact, its palaces are resplendent as formerly. לחילה, "upon its bulwark," equals לחילהּ (Zechariah 9:4), with softened suffix as in Isaiah 23:17; Psalm 45:6, and frequently; Ew. 247, d. פּסּג (according to another reading, הפסיג) signifies, in B. Baba kamma 81b, to cut through (a vineyard in a part where there is no way leading through it); the signification "to take to pieces and examine, to contemplate piece by piece," has no support in the usage of the language, and the signification "to extol" (erhhen, Luther following Jewish tradition) rests upon a false deduction from the name פּסגּה. Louis de Dieu correctly renders it: Dividite palatia, h. e. obambulate inter palatia ejus, secando omnes palatiorum vias, quo omnia possitis commode intueri. They are to convince themselves by all possible means of the uninjured state of the Holy City, in order that they may be able to tell to posterity, that זה, such an one, such a marvellous helper as is now manifest to them, is Elohim our God. He will also in the future guide us.... Here the Psalm closes; for, although נהג is wont to be construed with עלּ in the signification ἄγειν ἐπὶ (Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 49:10), still "at death" [lit. dying], i.e., when it comes to dying (Hengstenberg), or "even unto (על as in Psalm 48:11, Psalm 19:7) death" [lit. dying] (Hupfeld), forms no suitable close to this thoroughly national song, having reference to a people of whom the son of Sirach says (Psalm 37:25): ζωὴ ἀνδρὸς ἐν ἀριθμῷ ἡμερῶν καὶ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Ἰσραήλ ἀναρίθμητοι. The rendering of Mendelssohn, Stier, and others, "over death" i.e., beyond death (Syriac), would be better; more accurately: beyond dying equals destruction (Bunsen, Bibelwerk, Th. i. S. clxi.). but the expression does not admit of this extension, and the thought comes upon one unexpectedly and as a surprise in this Psalm belonging to the time before the Exile. The Jerusalem Talmud, Megilla, ch. ii.((fol. 73, col. b, ed. Venet.), present a choice of the following interpretations: (1) עלמוּת equals בּעלימוּת, in youthfulness, adopting which, but somewhat differently applied, the Targum renders, "in the days of youth;" (2) כעילין עלמות, like virgins, with which Luther's rendering coincides: like youth (wie die Jugent); (3) according to the reading עלמות, which the lxx also reproduces: in this and the future world, noting at the same time that Akilas (Aquila) translates the word by ἀθανασία: "in a world where there is no death." But in connection with this last rendering one would rather expect to find אל־מות (Proverbs 12:28) instead of על־מות. עלמות, however, as equivalent to αἰῶνες is Mishnic, not Biblical; and a Hebrew word עלמוּת (עלימוּת) in the sense of the Aramaic עלּימתּ cannot be justified elsewhere. We see from the wavering of the MSS, some of which give על־מוּת, and others עלמוּת, and from the wavering of expositors, what little success is likely to follow any attempt to gain for על־מות, as a substantial part of the Psalm, any sense that is secure and in accordance both with the genius of the language and with the context. Probably it is a marginal note of the melody, an abbreviation for על־מוּת לבּן, Psalm 9:1. And either this note, as in Habakkuk 3:19 למנצּח בּנגינותי, stands in an exceptional manner at the end instead of the beginning (Hitzig, Reggio), or it belongs to the למנצח of the following Psalm, and is to be inserted there (Bttcher, De inferis, 371). If, however, על־מות does not belong to the Psalm itself, then it must be assumed that the proper closing words are lost. The original close was probably more full-toned, and somewhat like Isaiah 33:22.
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