Psalms 49 – Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?

This song is one of the few passages in the Old Testament that speaks so clearly about eternal life.  Focusing at first on the type of wealthy people who arrogantly live as if they will last forever in their position, verses 7-8 comment that no man can ransom his own life, or that of another, because the price is too great.  Of course, Jesus was no ordinary man, and he did pay the ransom for us (1 Timothy 2:6).

cross03The ESV does a poor job in translating verse 11 as saying “their graves are their homes forever.”  The NASB and other versions correctly translate it as “their inner thought is that their houses are forever,” dramatically changing the meaning to illustrate the point the psalmist intended – that they placed their trust in their wealth instead of in God.

Verse 13 expands the focus to all of those who have foolish confidence.  Obviously talking about those who live wicked lives, the psalmist allows that they will never escape death.  But he is confident that God will ransom his soul and receive him (verse 15).  Rich, poor, living on easy street, or enrolled in the school of hard knocks – it’s all the same in the end.  All of our fears will amount to nothing if we have served the Lord.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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