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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps 49 : Transience of life and wealth.

A wisdom psalm (vv. 3–4 ), in places obscure and difficult, as the textual notes in the NRSV attest. A meditation on death as the common fate of humankind (v. 10 ), it shares a particular affinity with Ecclesiastes. Vv. 12 and 20 are a refrain.

1–4 :

The wisdom teacher addresses all people, not Israel alone; like Ps 47 , it is universalistic.

5–9 :

The grave is the end of those who trust in their wealth, a theme repeated in vv. 16–19 (Prov 13.8; 22.2 ).

13 :

Selah (also v. 15 ), see Ps 3.2n.

14 :

Sheol, the abode of the dead. Death … their shepherd, contrast Ps 23.1 .

15 :

Incipient hope for life with God after death. Receive me, an idiom for divine deliverance from death (Gen 5.24; 2 Kings 2.10 ).

16–17 :

Cf. Eccl 5.15 .

20 :

People are similarly compared to animals in Eccl 3.18–19 .

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