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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 49:7

 

 

No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him--

Adam Clarke Commentary

Sone of them can by any means redeem his brother - Wealth cannot save from death; brother, however rich, cannot save his brother; nor will God accept riches as a ransom for the life or soul of any transgressor. To procure health of body, peace of mind, redemption from death, and eternal glory, riches are sought for and applied in vain.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-49.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

None of them can bid any means redeem his brother - None of those who are rich. This verse might be literally rendered, “a brother cannot by redeeming redeem; a man cannot give to God his own ransom.” The passage, therefore, may mean either, as in our version, that no one, however rich, can redeem a brother - his own brother - by his wealth; or, that a brother - one who sustains the relation of a brother - cannot rescue another from death. On the word “redeem,” see Psalm 25:22, note; Isaiah 43:3, note. It means here that he could not rescue him, or save him from the grave; he could not by his wealth preserve him in life. The whole expression is emphatic: “redeeming he cannot redeem;” that is - according to Hebrew usage - he cannot “possibly” do it; it “cannot” be done. There is here no particular reference to the “means” to be employed, but only an emphatic statement of the fact that “it cannot by any possibility be done.” The object is to show how powerless and valueless is wealth in regard to the things that most pertain to a man‘s welfare. It can do literally “nothing” in that which most deeply affects man, and in which he most needs help. There is no allusion here to the redemption of the soul, or to the great work of redemption, as that term is commonly understood; but it “is” true, in the highest sense, that if wealth cannot “redeem” life, or keep our best and nearest friend from the grave, much less can it avail in that which is so much more important, and so much more difficult, the redemption of the soul from eternal ruin. Here, also, as in the matter of saving from the grave, it is absolutely true that wealth can do “nothing” - literally, “nothing” - in saving the soul of its possessor, or in enabling its possessor to save his best friend. Nothing but the blood of the cross can avail then; and the wealth of the richest can do no more here than the poverty of the poorest.

Nor give to God a ransom for him - This would be more literally rendered, “a man cannot give to God his ransom;” that is, he cannot, though in the possession of the most ample wealth, give to God that which would purchase his own release from the grave. On the word “ransom,” see as above, the notes at Isaiah 43:3. Compare Matthew 16:26.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-49.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

None of them can by any means redeem his brother,.... That is, "with their substance", or "riches", as the Targum and Jarchi supply. Some, according to the order of the words in the original, render them, "a brother redeeming cannot redeem a man", or "anyone"F17So Cocceius; and some in Michaelis. : but, as Aben Ezra observes, אח, "a brother", is the effect, and איש, "a man", is the cause. The Targum is, "his brother that is a captive, a man redeeming cannot redeem with his substance"; or by any means redeem. Indeed a rich man may redeem his brother from debt, or from a prison, into which he is cast for it, by paying his debts for him; or from thraldom and bondage, being taken captive and becoming a prisoner of war, by giving a ransom for him. This he may do with respect to man; but, with respect to God, he cannot, with all his riches, pay the debts he owes to the law and justice of God; nor free him from his bondage to sin, Satan, and the law, by whom he is held a captive. The sense here is, that he cannot redeem him from death; he cannot, with all his money, secure him from dying; nor, when dead, bring him back from the grave; and much less deliver him from eternal death, or wrath to come; this only God can do, see Psalm 49:15;

nor give to God a ransom for him; a ransom to redeem from sin, and so from the curse of the law and eternal death, must be given to God, against whom sin is committed, the lawgiver that is able to save and destroy; whose law is transgressed by it, and must be fulfilled; and whose justice is affronted and injured, and must be satisfied; and who is the creditor to whom men are debtors, and therefore the payment must be made to him. Hence our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of his people, paid the ransom price to God, and offered himself a sacrifice to him; see Ephesians 5:2. But this ransom is not of man's giving, but of God's; it is of his finding out in his infinite wisdom: he set forth and sent forth Christ to be the ransom or "propitiation"F18כפרו "propitiationem suam", Pagninus, Montanus. , as the word here used signifies; and Christ came to give his life and himself a ransom for many, and is the propitiation for their sins: and this is a sufficient one, a plenteous redemption, and there needs no other, not is there any other; there were typical atonements under the law, but there is no real atonement, propitiation, or ransom, but by the precious blood of Christ; not by corruptible things, as silver and gold; with these a man cannot give to God a ransom for himself, or for his brother.


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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.
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 49:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-49.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

Redeem — Neither from the first death, nor from the second.

Brother — Whom he would do his utmost to preserve.


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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 49:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-49.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

redeem

(See Scofield "Isaiah 59:20") See Scofield "Exodus 14:30"


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Psalms 49:7". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/psalms-49.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 49:7 None [of them] can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

Ver. 7. None of them can by any means redeem his brother] And therefore all money that hath been given for masses, dirges, trentals, {A set of thirty requiem masses, said on the same day or on different days, ŒD} &c., hath been cast away; seeing Christ is the only Redeemer, and in the other world money beareth no mastery. Neither can a man buy off death, though he would give never so much. Death will not regard any ransom, neither will he rest content though thou givest many gifts, as Solomon saith in another case, Proverbs 6:35. Fie, quoth that great Cardinal Beaufort, will not death be hired? Will money do nothing? Why should I die, being so rich? If the whole realm would save my life, I am able either by policy to get it or by riches to buy it (Acts and Mon. in H. 6). Lewis XI would not hear of death all the time of his last sickness, but when he saw there was no remedy, he sent for holy water from Rheims, together with Aaron’s rod, as they called it, and other holy relics, thinking therewith to stop death’s mouth, and to stave him off; but it would not be (Epit. Hist. Gall.). O Miser (saith one thereupon) hoc assidue times quod semel faciendum est? Hoc times quod in tua manu est ne timeas? Pietatem assume, superstitionem omitte; mors tua vita erit, et quidem beata atque aeterna (Val. Max. Christ., p. 391).


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-49.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 49:7

These words ought to teach us: (1) that we cannot save other people, however much we may wish to do so, and (2) that other people cannot save us, no matter how great a desire they may feel of doing so. But though we cannot save or, as the text says, redeem our brother, by which we mean anybody, yet there is something we can do: we can try to bring him to One who can save him. Having come to Jesus yourself, the next thing is to try to bring all you can to Him.

I. What the text teaches is that religion must be personal. Every man and woman, every boy and girl, who wishes to be saved must be saved by his own or her own faith and love in the Lord Jesus. Each must himself love Christ; each must believe in Christ; each must serve Christ.

II. Religion must not be mere imitation. It is a thing to have in the heart. When you pray, you must pray with the heart, and not merely with the lips; when you read God's word, it must be from a wish to learn God's will, in order to please and obey Him.

III. No man can redeem himself; our redemption has been worked, and a ransom given for us. Christ laid down His precious life for us, and God has accepted the atonement on condition that we accept it also. Though you may sometimes feel downcast and fear you may fall, yet you will find that the blessed Redeemer will not allow those whom He has "purchased with His own blood" to be wrenched from Him. "Ye are Christ's," and Christ is the safety of the Christian.

G. Litting, Thirty Children's Sermons, p. 182.


References: Psalms 49:7.—T. K. Cheyne, Expositor, 3rd series, vol. ii., p. 400. Psalms 49:8.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 22.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/psalms-49.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Redeem, to wit, from death, as appears from Psalms 49:9,10 &c.; neither from the first death, nor from the second, which he points at Psalms 49:14,19.

His brother; whom he would do his utmost to preserve in life; and consequently not himself. But he seems to mention his brother rather than himself, because when his brother is sick, he being in health hath the full command and free use of all his wealth, and strength, and wit, and all other means of redeeming his brother; which he hath not, when he himself is dangerously or desperately sick.

Nor give to God; the only Lord of life. and the Judge who hath passed upon him the sentence of death.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". 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

Testify. I will require thee to speak the truth, and attest the world, Psalm lxxx. 9. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-49.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

None = no man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

by any means redeem. Hebrew Figure of speech Polyptoton (App-6) = "redeeming will redeem".

redeem = deliver by power. Hebrew. padah. See notes on Exodus 6:6 with Exodus 13:13.

his brother. Some codices read "surely" instead of "a brother". In this case the two lines read, "Surely no man (Hebrew. "ish) can redeem, nor give to God atonement for himself".

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

a ransom = atonement. Hebrew. kapher. See Genesis 6:14 ("pitch"). Exodus 29:33.

him = himself.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-49.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) None of them can.—Brother is here used in the wide sense of Leviticus 19:17, Genesis 13:11 (where rendered “the one”). The sense is the same whether we make it nominative or accusative. Death is the debt which all owe, and which each must pay for himself. No wealth can buy a man off. God, in whose hand are the issues of life and death, is not to be bribed; nor, as the next verse says, even if the arrangement were possible, would any wealth be sufficient.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-49.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
give
Matthew 16:26; 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-49.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him."— Psalm 49:7

The subject is limitations of influence or power, even under the most favourable conditions. Here we have a brother dying; he is surrounded by rich relations; they would gladly redeem him or give a ransom for him, and yet all their generous thought and all their hoarded wealth go for nothing. There is a point at which even love stops, and sacrifice can go no further, and the soul must bow down itself in conscious helplessness and momentary despair. The word "brother" is not merely a family word as used in this connection. It will bear a large human interpretation. Thus we have a universal law, namely, that all men must succumb to the tyranny of the last enemy. Here is the ground upon which our common humanity is realised. Wealth can create great distinctions of a social kind. Wealth can make a great difference in the tombs in which men lie; but, decorate them as we may, they are tombs still, memorials of our frailty and of our helplessness. In view of the certainties of life we ought to have great governing principles. If life were all uncertain together; if death might or might not occur; if we may possibly continue as households century after century; then we may adopt a different basis of calculation: but seeing that our breath is in our nostrils, and that our truest and tenderest relations may at any moment be broken up, seeing that death must come within a few years to the strongest of us all, certainly it is not unreasonable to pause awhile and to consider what we are and whither we are going. The presence of death amid all our living relations is the one fact which the preacher should lay hold of as supplying a fountain of exhortation. We can die in one of two ways: either as believers, or as unbelievers. Dying as unbelievers, we pass into the everlasting darkness without one solitary ray to mitigate the gloom; passing into the future as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can give one another a good hope of reunion amid imperishable conditions of blissful growth. This latter consolation is no ephemeral or insubstantial consideration; it continually turns itself into stimulus and energy, and day by day it lightens the burden and softens the hardness of life. The Christian hope of immortality is not a future blessing; it is an immediate inspiration.


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Bibliography
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 49:7". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/psalms-49.html. 1885-95.

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