Psalm 49 – New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 49[a]

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

  1. Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world,
  2. both low and high, rich and poor alike:
  3. My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
  4. I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:
  5. Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me—
  6. those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?
  7. No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—
  8. the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—
  9. so that they should live on forever and not see decay.
  10. For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.
  11. Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had[c] named lands after themselves.
  12. People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish.
  13. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
  14. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.
  15. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.
  16. Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases;
  17. for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them.
  18. Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper—
  19. they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life.
  20. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.


a. Psalm 49:1 In Hebrew texts 49:1-20 is numbered 49:2-21.
b. Psalm 49:11 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew In their thoughts their houses will remain
c. Psalm 49:11 Or generations, / for they have
d. Psalm 49:13 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 15.

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Psalm 49 – King James Version (KJV)

To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

  1. Hear this, all ye people; Give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
  2. Both low and high, Rich and poor, together.
  3. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
  4. I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
  5. Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
  6. They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
  7. None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him:
  8. (For the redemption of their soul is precious, And it ceaseth for ever:)
  9. That he should still live for ever, And not see corruption.
  10. For he seeth that wise men die, Likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
  11. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, And their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names.
  12. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: He is like the beasts that perish.
  13. This their way is their folly: Yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
  14. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
  15. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: For he shall receive me. Selah.
  16. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased;
  17. For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: His glory shall not descend after him.
  18. Though while he lived he blessed his soul, And men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
  19. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light.
  20. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, Is like the beasts that perish.