Psalm 49:2
Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
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(2) Both high and low.—The two Hebrew expressions here used, benê-âdam and benê-îsh, answer to one another much as homo and vir in Latin. The LXX. and Vulg., taking âdam in its primary sense, render “sons of the soil and sons of men.” Symmachus makes the expressions stand for men in general and men as individuals.

Shall be of understanding.—The copula supplied by the Authorised Version is unnecessary. The word rendered meditation may mean, from its etymology, “muttered thoughts,” and it is quite consistent to say, my musings speak of understanding. So LXX. and Vulgate.

49:1-5 We seldom meet with a more solemn introduction: there is no truth of greater importance. Let all hear this with application to ourselves. The poor are in danger from undue desire toward the wealth of the world, as rich people from undue delight in it. The psalmist begins with applying it to himself, and that is the right method in which to treat of Divine things. Before he sets down the folly of carnal security, he lays down, from his own experience, the benefit and comfort of a holy, gracious security, which they enjoy who trust in God, and not in their worldly wealth. In the day of judgment, the iniquity of our heels, or of our steps, our past sins, will compass us. In those days, worldly, wicked people will be afraid; but wherefore should a man fear death who has God with him?Both low and high - Those alike of humble and those of exalted rank, for it pertains equally to all. On the meaning of the "terms" employed here, see the notes at Isaiah 2:9. These truths pertained to the "low;" that is, to those of humble rank, as teaching them not to envy the rich, and not to fear their power; and they pertained to those of exalted rank, as teaching them not to trust in their riches, and not to suppose that they could permanently possess and enjoy them.

Rich and poor together - As equally interested in these truths; that is, What the psalmist was about to say was adapted to impart useful lessons to both classes. Both needed instruction on the subject; and the same class of truths was adapted to furnish that instruction. The class of truths referred to was derived from the powerlessness of wealth in regard to the things of most importance to man, and from the fact that all which a man can gain must soon be left: teaching those of one class that they should not set their heart on wealth, and should not pride themselves on possessing it, and teaching the other class that they should not envy or fear the possessor of riches.


Ps 49:1-20. This Psalm instructs and consoles. It teaches that earthly advantages are not reliable for permanent happiness, and that, however prosperous worldly men may be for a time, their ultimate destiny is ruin, while the pious are safe in God's care.

1-3. All are called to hear what interests all.

world—literally, "duration of life," the present time.

No text from Poole on this verse. Both low and high,.... Or "both the sons of Adam and the sons of men". By the sons of "Adam" are meant the multitude of the people, as Ben Melech explains it; the common people, the meaner sort, the base things of this world; and such are they, generally speaking, who are called by grace under the Gospel dispensation: and by "the sons of men" are meant the princes, nobles, and great men of the earth; men of high birth and illustrious extraction: so Adam is rendered, "the mean man", and "Ish", the word here used, "the great man", in Isaiah 2:9. And though not many, yet some of this sort are called by grace; and all of them have a peculiar concern in many things spoken of in this psalm; see Psalm 49:12;

rich and poor together: these are called upon to hearken to what is after said, that the one may not be elated with and trust in their riches, and that the other may not be dejected on account of their poverty; and seeing both must die, and meet together at the judgment day; and inasmuch as the Gospel is preached to one as to another; and for the most part the poor hear it, receive it, and are called by it.

Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
2. Both low and high] So the A.V. rightly paraphrases the Heb. sons of mankind (âdâm) and sons of men (’îsh): those whose personality is lost in the common multitude, and those who are individually distinguished; plebeians and patricians. Adâm corresponds to ἄνθρωπος, homo; ’îsh to ἀνήρ, vir. Cp. Psalm 4:2; Psalm 62:9. The P.B.V. (high and low) wrongly inverts the meanings.

rich and poor together] The rich that they may recognise the vanity of riches, and take warning: the poor that they may learn to be contented with their lot, and not to envy the rich.Verse 2. - Both high and low, rich and poor, together. The teaching of the psalm concerns all ranks alike. To the great and rich it will carry warning; to the poor and lowly, consolation. (Heb.: 48:10-12) Now follows grateful praise to God, who hears prayer and executes justice, to the joy of His city and of His people. By דּמּינוּ the poet refers back to the service held in the temple before the army set out, as narrated in 2 Chronicles 20, to the prayers offered in the time of their impending danger, and to the remembrance of the favour hitherto shown towards Jerusalem, from which source they drew the comfort of hope for the present time. דּמּה, to compare, to hold one thing over against another, in this instance by causing the history of the past to pass before one's mind. To God's mighty deeds of old is now added a new one. The Name of God, i.e., the sum of His self-attestations hitherto, was the subject of the דמינו in the temple, and more particularly of the Korahitic songs (2 Chronicles 20:19); and this name has gloriously verified itself by a new deed of righteousness. His fame extends even to the ends of the earth (2 Chronicles 20:29). He has proved Himself to be One whose right hand is full of righteousness, and who practises righteousness or justice where it is necessary. Let, then, the Holy City, let the country cities of Judah (Isaiah 40:9, cf. Psalm 16:2) rejoice. The whole inheritance of Israel was threatened. Now it is most gloriously delivered.
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