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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 49:12

 

 

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

Adam Clarke Commentary

Man being in honor abideth not - However rich, wise, or honorable, they must die; and if they die not with a sure hope of eternal life, they die like beasts. See on Psalm 49:20; (note).


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-49.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Nevertheless, man being in honor abideth not - No matter to what rank he may rise, no matter how much wealth he may accumulate, no matter how fixed and secure he may seem to make his possessions, he cannot make them permanent and enduring. He must pass away and leave all this to others. The word rendered “abideth” - ילין yālı̂yn - means properly to pass the night; to remain over night; to lodge, as one does for a night; and the idea is, that he is not to lodge or remain permanently in that condition; or, more strictly, he will not lodge there even for a night; that is, he will soon pass away. It is possible that the Saviour had his eye on this passage in the parable of the rich fool, and especially in the declaration, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee,” Luke 12:20.

He is like the beasts that perish - He is like the beasts; they perish. This does not mean that in all respects he is like them, but only in this respect, that he must die as they do; that he cannot by his wealth make himself immortal. He must pass away just as if he were an animal of the inferior creation, and had no power of accumulating wealth, or of laying plans that stretch into the future. The squirrel and the beaver - animals that “lay up” something, or that, like people, have the power of “accumulating,” die just like other animals. So the rich “man.” His intelligence, his high hopes, his far-reaching schemes, make no difference between him and his fellow-men and the brute in regard to death. They all die alike.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-49.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 49:12

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

The worldling’s downfall

I. A carnal man may possibly thrive and prosper, and grow great here on earth (Psalms 73:3; Jeremiah 12:1; Job 21:7-10). The Scripture also giveth more light to this doctrine by examples, proving thus much unto us, that even the children of God, such as fear Him, and make conscience of their ways, come often far behind the wicked in outward prosperity. Jacob, the loved, is put forth to keep sheep, and Esau, the hated, goes on hunting. If you look for Joseph, you shall find him in prison; for Daniel, you shall see him in the den.

II. The prosperity of the wicked is not perpetual. He shall not continue in honour; the words are properly, He shall not tarry all night in honour. We are wont to describe a short abode, by lodging in an inn, where a man seldom stayeth in his travel above a night. Now, the continuance of the carnal man in his honour and prosperity shall be far less; the time shall be, as it were, a degree shorter. The truth hereof is fulfilled by two means. For, first, either his prosperity continueth not to him, or else, secondly, he not to his prosperity.

III. The worldly man’s death like a beast’s. In four things especially.

1. The first is, that he dieth unwillingly. So it is with the beasts. It is in the nature of everything to desire the preservation of itself, and to abhor the contrary. Hereupon in the unreasonable creature there is a kind of struggling and wrestling with death, so that it doth not but by violence yield thereunto. Even so it is with the ungodly, which mindeth only earthly things. His death may be peaceable in show (the natural strength being wasted and abated by some long sickness), and in speech, he may pretend a willingness to depart; but it is impossible that it should be with fulness of inward consent.

2. The second particular wherein this earthly man is like to the dying beasts is this: the carcase of the beast so dying cannot choose but be noisome and unsavoury; the smell is offensive unto every one that passeth by, and the sight unpleasing. So is the dying worldling in God’s sight.

3. The third degree of likeness betwixt the dying beast and the dying worldling is this: the body of a beast, whom such a disease hath quelled, becometh a prey to the fowls of the air, and is torn in pieces by other beasts; Where the carcase is, thither the eagles resort, saith our Saviour. It fareth so with the worldling: for as his goods ill-gotten come many times, through the just judgment of God, to be a prey to others, and to be the spoil of strangers, so his soul is seized upon by the damned spirits, and is presently arraigned before the judgment seat of God.

4. The fourth point of likeness is this: there is no regard had of the death of a brute beast, the remembrance is soon gone. The owner may haply bewail that loss, it being some diminution of iris substance; but otherwise it is a matter which the world passeth by and taketh no notice of. So is the death of the carnal worldling. There may be some sorrow among his own people, who received some outward benefit by his means, and with them his memory may continue. But else there is no miss. (S. Hieron.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 49:12". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-49.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not,.... Or Adam: and some understand this of the first man Adam, who was created and crowned with glory and honour; but it did not abide with him, nor he in that: so some Jewish writersF25Bereshit Rabba, s. 11. fol. 9. 1. 2. Pirke Eliezer, c. 19. interpret it. But whether the words will admit of this sense or not, the general view of the psalmist, which is to show the inconstancy and instability of worldly honour, may be exemplified in the case of the first man; he was in honour he was created after the image and likeness of God, and so was the glory of God, being his image; he was in friendship with God, as many instances show, and had dominion over all the creatures below; he had much knowledge of God, and communion with him, and was a pure, holy, and upright creature; but he continued not long in this state of honour and glory; "he lodged not a night"F26בל ילין "non pernoctabit", Montanus, Amama; so Ainsworth. , as the words may be rendered; see Genesis 28:11; and as they are by some, who conclude from hence that Adam fell the same day in which he was created; and which is the sense of the above Jewish writers, who say, he was driven out of paradise the evening of that day; but though he might stand longer, and the word is sometimes used of a longer continuance; see Psalm 25:13; yet by the account in Genesis it looks as if he continued in his state of honour but a short time;

he is like the beasts that perish; becoming mortal in his body, and brutish and stupid in his understanding. Or, "he is like the beasts", "they perish", or "are cut off"F1נדמו "excisi sunt", Montanus. ; the word being in the plural number, which shows that not a single individual person is meant, but men in general; or, however, such of the sons of Adam that come to honour; these do not abide long in it, their honour is a very short lived one, sometimes it does not last their lives: they that are in high places are in slippery ones, and are often cast down from the pinnacle of honour in a moment; and if their glory does abide with them throughout the day of life, yet it shall not lodge with them in the night of the grave; thither their glory shall not descend after them, Psalm 49:17; and when they die, they perish like the beasts; as they are like them in life, stupid, brutish, and ignorant, so in death; as the beast dies, so do they, Ecclesiastes 3:19; as the one dies without any thought of or preparation for death, so do the other; as the one carries nothing along with it, so neither do the other: as beasts that die of themselves, for such are here meant, as Junius well observes, are good for nothing but to be cast into the ditch; so are wicked men, notwithstanding all their riches and honours; yea, it is worse with them than with the beasts, since after death comes judgment, and after that the second death, the wrath of God.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-49.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Nevertheless man [being] in honour abideth not: he is like the h beasts [that] perish.

(h) Concerning the death of the body.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-49.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Contrasted with this vanity is their frailty. However honored, man

abideth not — literally, “lodgeth not,” remains not till morning, but suddenly perishes as (wild) beasts, whose lives are taken without warning.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-49.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

Man — Living in all splendor and glory.

Abideth not — All his dreams of perpetuating his name and estate, shall be confuted by experience.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-49.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

12And man shall not abide in honor Having exposed the vain and delusory nature of the fancies entertained by the ungodly, he next shows that however fondly they may cherish them, they must experience the same fate with the beasts of the field. It is true that there is a great difference, so far as the soul is concerned, between man and the brute creation; but the Psalmist speaks of things as they appear in this world, and in this respect he was warranted to say of the ungodly that they die as the beasts. His subject does not lead him to speak of the world to come. He is reasoning with the children of this world, who have no respect to another, and no idea of a farther happiness than that which they enjoy here. He accordingly ridicules their folly in conceiving of themselves as privileged with exemption from the ordinary lot of humanity, and warns them that death will soon be near to humble their presumptuous thoughts, and put them on a level with the meanest of the lower creatures. This I prefer to the more ingenious interpretation which some would put upon the words, that they reduced themselves to the level of beasts by not recognising the true dignity of their nature, which consists in the possession of a never-dying soul. The Psalmist’s great aim is to show the vanity of the boasting of the wicked, from the nearness of death, which must join them in one common fate with the beasts of the field. The last word in the verse gives the reason why the ungodly may be compared to the beasts — they perish It matters little whether or not we consider the relative אשר , asher, as understood, and read, that perish


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-49.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 49:12 Nevertheless man [being] in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts [that] perish.

Ver. 12. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not] Howsoever he think to eternalize himself, and be grown never so great, die he must, whether lord or lowly; and die like a beast, a carrion beast (unless he be the better man), but only for this pillow and bolster. At one end of the library at Dublin was a globe, at the other a skeleton; to show, that though a man was lord of all the world, yet he must die, his honour must be laid in the dust. The mortal scythe (saith one) is master of the royal sceptre, and it moweth down the lilies of the crown as well as the grass of the field. Perperam accommodatur hic versiculus, saith another; this verse is not well interpreted of the first man, Adam, to prove that he sinned the same day wherein he was created, and lodged not one night in paradise.

He is like the beasts that perish] Pecoribus, morticinis, saith Junius, the beasts that die of the murrain, and so become carrion, and are good for nothing.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-49.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 49:12. Nevertheless, &c.— Yet man, while he is in honour, understandeth or regardeth not; as the beasts are cut off, so is he, Psalms 49:13. This their way is their folly; yet their posterity will run the same way, or approve their doings. See Houb. and Mudge.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-49.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Notwithstanding all these fine fancies and devices

man being in honour, living in all the splendour and glory above mentioned,

abideth not. The Hebrew word properly signifies to lodge for a night, as Genesis 32:21 Jude 19:10; and thence to abide for a long or considerable time, as Psalms 25:13 55:7 Proverbs 15:31. All his dreams of perpetuating his name and estate shall vanish and be confuted by experience.

That perish, i.e. that are utterly lost and extinct. So he is in reference to all his wealth and honour, of which he here speaks.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-49.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. Notwithstanding their impotence to avert, and the futility of their schemes to disguise, the utter desolations of death, they are not won to wisdom.

Abideth not—In Psalms 49:20 it reads, “understandeth not,” and which the Septuagint, followed by the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, reads in this place, in order to make the two refrains correspond, but without authority, for variations in refrains are quite common.

Like the beasts— All their attempts to perpetuate their name, and thus maintain an ideal immortality, are abortive, for still they “abide not,” but, like cattle, they die. The resemblance here seems to be not merely in the common fate of mortality, as in Ecclesiastes 3:19, “As the one dieth, so dieth the other,… so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast,” but in their stupidity as to the life to come, and their not seeing that wealth cannot raise them above this condition. See on Psalms 49:20


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-49.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man. Hebrew. "adam. App-14. This corresponds with Psalms 49:20. See the Structure, above.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-49.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-49.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
in honour
20; 39:5; 82:7; James 1:10,11; 1 Peter 1:24
abideth
The word yalin, rendered abideth, signifies to lodge for a night. Man's continuance in the world, or in honour or distinction, resembles a traveller's lodging at an inn, whence he removes in the morning; and is frequently far more transient and evanescent.
beasts
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21; 9:12

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 49:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-49.html.

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