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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 49:16

 

 

Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased;

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich - Do not be envious; do not grieve: it will do you no harm; it will do him no good. All he gets will be left behind; he can carry nothing with him. Even his glory must stay behind; he shall mingle with the common earth.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-49.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich - Do not dread the power derived from wealth; do not fear anything which a man can do merely because he is rich. The original is, “when a “man” becomes rich.” The allusion is not necessarily to a bad man, though that is implied in the whole passage, since there is no reason for fearing a “good” man, whether he is rich or poor. The only thing that seems to have been apprehended in the mind of the psalmist was that power of doing injury to others, or of employing means to injure others, which wealth confers on a bad man. The psalmist here changes the form of the expression, no longer referring to himself, and to his own feelings, as in the former part of the psalm, but making an application of the whole course of thought to others, showing them, as the result of his own reflection and observation, that no man had any real cause for dread and alarm when riches increased in the hands of the wicked. The reasons why this power should not be feared are stated in the following verses.

When the glory of his house is increased - Rich people often lavish much of their wealth on their dwellings; on the dwelling itself; on the furniture; on the grounds and appendages of their habitation. This is evidently referred to here as “the “glory” of their house;” as that which would be adapted to make an impression of the power and rank of its possessor.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-49.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

RECAPITULATION OF THE FIRST PORTION

"Be not thou afraid when one is made rich,

When the glory of his house is increased:

For when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away;

His glory shall not descend after him.

Though while he lived he blessed his soul

(And men praise thee when thou doest well to thyself),

He shall go to the generation of his fathers;

They shall never see the light.

Man that is in honor, and understandeth not,

Is like the beasts that perish."

The futility of trusting in riches continues to be the theme here. Psalms 49:17 reminds us of what the apostle Paul said, "We brought nothing into this world, and neither can we carry anything out" (1 Timothy 6:7). The proverb, "You can't take it with you," is not nullified by Bob Hope's wisecrack, that, "If I can't take it with me, I ain't goin'." All men need to be reminded that a hearse never has a U-haul trailer! Also, for the curious question which reporters always ask the survivors, namely, `How much did he leave'? the monotonous answer is always the same, `He left everything; he left it all.'

"His glory shall not descend after him" (Psalms 49:17). "The `glory' here is contrasted with the `darkness' there (Psalms 49:19)."[24]

McCaw also commented on the change in the RSV, which omits the words, `and understandeth not,' "If for all his dignity man does not understand the eternal issues of life, and death, and salvation, then, indeed, what is his dignity worth?"[25]

However, Rawlinson saw the words omitted in RSV as, "An important qualification in the refrain. All men die; but only those who are `without understanding' die, like the beasts without hope."[26] Men of understanding are entitled to the hope of Psalms 49:15, provided, of course, that they are willing to receive it upon the conditions laid down in the New Testament by the Christ.

We think Jones' prayer is an appropriate conclusion for this wonderful psalm.

My rich brother, trust not in uncertain riches; use thy wealth wisely that it may bless both thee and others. My poor brother neither envy nor fear the power of wealthy worldlings; but rejoice in thine own inalienable and blessed portion.[27]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-49.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich,.... Who before was poor, or not so rich; but now become so, either by inheritance, or by his own diligence and industry, through the permission of Providence. This is to be understood, not of a good man, from whom oppression is not to be feared; but it may be hoped he will do good with his riches, by relieving the poor, and ministering to the support of the interest of religion, and using what power and authority he may have in defence of it: but it is to be interpreted of a wicked man; of one who neither fears God, nor regards man; who makes an ill use of his riches, power, and authority, to the oppression of the poor, and the persecution of the saints, and who seeks to be feared when he is not loved; see Proverbs 28:12; but the people of God should not be afraid when this is the case, since God is their strength, their light, and their salvation; and since wicked men can go no further than permitted, and at most can do no more than kill the body; see Psalm 27:1; these words are an apostrophe of the psalmist, either to his own soul, or to the saints, and every particular believer;

when the glory of his house is increased; either the same with riches, so called, Genesis 31:1; because men are apt to glory in them, and for the most part obtain honour and glory from men by them; or children, and an increase of them, and especially when they come to honour; as also the advancement of themselves to high places of honour and trust; as well as additional buildings, large stately edifices, to make them look great, and perpetuate their names.


Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-49.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;

Afraid — Discouraged.


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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 49:16". "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

16Be not thou afraid The Psalmist repeats, in the form of an exhortation, the same sentiment which he had formerly expressed, that the children of God have no reason to dread the wealth and power of their enemies, or to envy their evanescent prosperity; and as the best preservative against despondency, he would have them to direct their eyes habitually to the end of life. The effect of such a contemplation will be at once to check any impatience we might be apt to feel under our short-lived miseries, and to raise our minds in holy contempt above the boasted but delusory grandeur of the wicked. That this may not impose upon our minds, the prophet recalls us to the consideration of the subject of death — that event which is immediately at hand, and which no sooner arrives than it strips them of their false glory, and consigns them to the tomb. So much is implied in the words, He shall not carry away all these things when he dieth (232) Be their lives ever so illustrious in the eyes of their fellow-creatures, this glory is necessarily bounded by the present world. The same truth is further asserted in the succeeding clause of the verse, His glory shall not descend after him Infatuated men may strain every nerve, as if in defiance of the very laws of nature, to perpetuate their glory after death, but they never can escape the corruption and nakedness of the tomb; for, in the language of the poet Juvenal, -

Mots sola fatetur Quantula sint hominum corpuscula,” —

“It is death which forces us to confess how worthless the bodies of men are.”


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-49.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 49:16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;

Ver. 16. Be not thou afraid] David was comforted, and so he would have others to be; for as it was said of a certain bishop of Lincoln, that he held nothing his own but what he had bestowed upon others, Hoc habeo quodcunque dedi; so the saints think their comforts nothing so comfortable unless others may share in them, and fare the better by them.

When the glory of his house is increased] viz. By a numerous offspring, stately building, gay furniture, great rents and revenues; for as they say of the metal they make glass of, it is nearest melting when it shineth brightest; so are the wicked nearest destruction when at greatest lustre.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-49.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Afraid, i.e. discouraged or dejected. The prosperity of the sinners is oft matter of fear and dread to good men; partly because it enables them to do more mischief; and partly because it shakes their faith in God’s providence and promises, and is apt to engender suspicions in men’s minds, as if God did not regard the actions and affairs of men, and made no difference between the good and the bad, and consequently all religion were vain and unprofitable. See Psalms 73:12,13.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-49.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sinner. He is not blamed for praying: but his hypocrisy is condemned. (Berthier) --- The world is full of such hypocrites, who have God in their mouths, but not in their hearts, and whose voice alone is the voice of Jacob, Genesis xxvii. 22., Isaias xxix. 13., and Titus i. 16. --- The wicked judges, who condemned Susanna, (Daniel xiii.) should have attended to these lessons. (Calmet) --- Thou that teachest another, teachest not thyself, Romans ii. 21. --- It is surely to be expected, (Haydock) that those who undertake to teach others, should shew good example, and serve God with sincerity, (Worthington) and not content themselves with the glory of their vocation. (Menochius)


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-49.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Be not thou afraid. This, with Psalms 49:5, gives the scope of the Psalm. See the Structure (p. 767).

one = a man. Hebrew. "ish.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-49.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;

The conclusion (Psalms 49:16-20).

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich - resuming Psalms 49:5, "Wherefore should I fear," etc.

When the glory of his house is increased - by the possession of wealth.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-49.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
Be not
5; 37:1,7; Esther 3:1-6; Proverbs 28:12
glory
Genesis 31:1; Esther 5:11; Revelation 21:24,26

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 49:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-49.html.

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