Psalm 49:5
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,

King James Bible
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?

Darby Bible Translation
Wherefore should I fear in the days of adversity, when the iniquity of my supplanters encompasseth me? --

World English Bible
Why should I fear in the days of evil, when iniquity at my heels surrounds me?

Young's Literal Translation
Why do I fear in days of evil? The iniquity of my supplanters doth compass me.

Psalm 49:5 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil - This verse is designed evidently to state the main subject of the psalm; the result of the reflections of the author on what had been to him a source of perplexity; on what had seemed to him to be a dark problem. He "had" evidently felt that there was occasion to dread the power of wicked rich men; but he now felt that he had no ground for that fear and alarm. He saw that their power was short-lived; that all the ability to injure, arising from their station and wealth, must soon cease; that his own highest interests could not be affected by anything which they could do. The "days of evil" here spoken of are the times which are referred to in the following phrase, "when the iniquity of my heels," etc.

When the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about - It would be difficult to make any sense out of this expression, though it is substantially the same rendering which is found in the Vulgate and the Septuagint. Luther renders it "when the iniquity of my oppressors encompasses me." The Chaldee Paraphrase renders it, "why should I fear in the days of evil, unless it be when the guilt of my sin compasses me about?" The Syriac renders it, "the iniquity of "my enemies." The Arabic, "when my enemies surround me." DeWette renders it as Luther does. Rosenmuller, "when the iniquity of those who lay snares against me shall compass me around." Prof. Alexander, "when the iniquity of my oppressors (or supplanters) shall surround me." The word rendered "heels" here - עקב ‛âqêb - means properly "heel," Genesis 3:15; Job 18:9; Judges 5:22; then, the rear of an army, Joshua 8:13; then, in the plural, "footsteps," prints of the heel or foot, Psalm 77:19; and then, according to Gesenius (Lexicon) "a lier in wait, insidiator."

Perhaps there is in the word the idea of craft; of lying in wait; of taking the advantages - from the verb עקב ‛âqab, to be behind, to come from behind; and hence to supplant; to circumvent. So in Hosea 12:3, "in the womb he held his brother by the heel" (compare Genesis 25:26). Hence, the word is used as meaning to supplant; to circumvent, Genesis 27:36; Jeremiah 9:4 (Hebrew, Jeremiah 9:3) This is, undoubtedly, the meaning here. The true idea is, when I am exposed to the crafts, the cunning, the tricks, of those who lie in wait for me; I am liable to be attacked suddenly, or to be taken unawares; but what have I to fear? The psalmist refers to the evil conduct of his enemies, as having given him alarm. They were rich and powerful. They endeavored in some way to supplant him - perhaps, as we should say, to "trip him up" - to overcome him by art, by power, by trick, or by fraud. He "had" been afraid of these powerful foes; but on a calm review of the whole matter, he came to the conclusion that he had really no cause for fear. The reasons for this he proceeds to state in the following part of the psalm.

Psalm 49:5 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Lapse of Time.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."--Eccles. ix. 10. Solomon's advice that we should do whatever our hand findeth to do with our might, naturally directs our thoughts to that great work in which all others are included, which will outlive all other works, and for which alone we really are placed here below--the salvation of our souls. And the consideration of this great work,
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Sense in Which, and End for which all Things were Delivered to the Incarnate Son.
For whereas man sinned, and is fallen, and by his fall all things are in confusion: death prevailed from Adam to Moses (cf. Rom. v. 14), the earth was cursed, Hades was opened, Paradise shut, Heaven offended, man, lastly, corrupted and brutalised (cf. Ps. xlix. 12), while the devil was exulting against us;--then God, in His loving-kindness, not willing man made in His own image to perish, said, Whom shall I send, and who will go?' (Isa. vi. 8). But while all held their peace, the Son [441] said,
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Question Lxxxi of the virtue of Religion
I. Does the Virtue of Religion Direct a Man To God Alone? S. Augustine, sermon, cccxxxiv. 3 " on Psalm lxxvi. 32 sermon, cccxi. 14-15 II. Is Religion a Virtue? III. Is Religion One Virtue? IV. Is Religion a Special Virtue Distinct From Others? V. Is Religion One of the Theological Virtues? VI. Is Religion To Be Preferred To the Other Moral Virtues? VII. Has Religion, Or Latria, Any External Acts? S. Augustine, of Care for the Dead, V. VIII. Is Religion the Same As Sanctity? Cardinal Cajetan,
St. Thomas Aquinas—On Prayer and The Contemplative Life

Cross References
Genesis 2:11
The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

Psalm 94:13
That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, Until a pit is dug for the wicked.

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