Psalm 49:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

King James Bible
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Darby Bible Translation
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

World English Bible
A man who has riches without understanding, is like the animals that perish. A Psalm by Asaph.

Young's Literal Translation
Man in honour, who understandest not, Hath been like the beasts, they have been cut off!

Psalm 49:20 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Man that is in honor - Man that is in possession of wealth, or that occupies an exalted rank. See the notes at Psalm 49:12.

And understandeth not - That is, who has no proper appreciation of what it is to be a man; of what is his true rank "as" a man; of his relations to God; of his condition as an immortal being - man that values himself only on the fact that he is rich; that lives for this world alone; that regards it as a sufficient distinction that he "is" rich; that degrades his nobler nature in the mere enjoyment of the pleasures of sense - is like the beasts - is in no way elevated above them.

Is like the beasts that perish - They live only for this life. They have no higher nature than that which pertains to the senses, and they live accordingly. The man who, though of exalted rank, lives for this life alone, herein resembles them. See the notes at Psalm 49:12. Alas! what multitudes there are who thus live - whose only aim is to secure the wealth and the honors of this life - who have no more thought of a future state, and who form no more plans in regard to a future world, than do the brutes! For many there are in exalted stations, who are surrounded by all that wealth can give, yet who no more admit the thought of a future world into their hopes and plans than if they had no other endowment than the camel or the ox, and whose conduct in this respect would not be changed if all the higher endowments which constitute the nature of man were withdrawn, and they were at once reduced to the condition of a brute. While, therefore, the main purpose of this psalm is to show that wealth confers no "power" which is to be dreaded - that its possessor, though wicked, cannot permanently injure us, since he must soon pass away by death - the course of thought at the same time teaches us that we should not "desire" wealth as our portion; that we should not live for this, as the main object of life. The possessor of the most ample fortune must soon be laid in the grave. All that he has acquired will pass into other hands, and will be his no more. But he "has" a higher nature. He "may" live in a manner different from the brute that perishes. He "may" act with reference to a higher - an eternal - state of existence; and, when he dies, he "may" leave his earthly inheritance, whether great or small, only to enter on an inheritance that shall he permanent and eternal. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36.

Psalm 49:20 Parallel Commentaries

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
Psalm 49:12
But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 73:22
Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.

Ecclesiastes 3:18
I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts."

Ecclesiastes 3:19
For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.

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