TO THE CHIEF MUSICIAN. A PSALM FOR THE SONS OF KORAH.
[Psalms 49:1] HEAR THIS, ALL YE PEOPLE; GIVE EAR, ALL YE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD:
The Mairi says that the purpose of this Psalm is to arouse a person to realize that the main point should be spiritual matters and the World to Come and that Judah should not despair in the throes of Exile.
This Psalm is directed to all mankind.
[Psalms 49:2] BOTH LOW AND HIGH, RICH AND POOR, TOGETHER.
[Psalms 49:3] MY MOUTH SHALL SPEAK OF WISDOM; AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART SHALL BE OF UNDERSTANDING.
[Psalms 49:4] I WILL INCLINE MINE EAR TO A PARABLE: I WILL OPEN MY DARK SAYING UPON THE HARP.
<<DARK SAYING>>: Hebrew "Chidati" (Hidati) meaning conundrum or riddle.
[Psalms 49:5] WHEREFORE SHOULD I FEAR IN THE DAYS OF EVIL, WHEN THE INIQUITY OF MY HEELS SHALL COMPASS ME ABOUT?
The Malbim interprets this in accordance with a nuance of the Hebrew original: Why should I be afraid in evil times [when I die]? The only thing that may hold me back is the sinfulness of the ways I was accustomed to.
[Psalms 49:6] THEY THAT TRUST IN THEIR WEALTH, AND BOAST THEMSELVES IN THE MULTITUDE OF THEIR RICHES;
[Psalms 49:7] NONE OF THEM CAN BY ANY MEANS REDEEM HIS BROTHER, NOR GIVE TO GOD A RANSOM FOR HIM:
The Malbim explains this and the following verses to be saying: Would a person not pay a ransom to save the life of his own brother? Even more so would someone not be prepared to pay for the ransom of themselves? The Eternal Life of the sinner is in endangered. He should redeem himself while he can.
[Psalms 49:8] (FOR THE REDEMPTION OF THEIR SOUL IS PRECIOUS, AND IT CEASETH FOR EVER:)
To redeem one's own soul should be worth a lot since the stakes last for eternity.
[Psalms 49:9] THAT HE SHOULD STILL LIVE FOR EVER, AND NOT SEE CORRUPTION.
[Psalms 49:10] FOR HE SEETH THAT WISE MEN DIE, LIKEWISE THE FOOL AND THE BRUTISH PERSON PERISH, AND LEAVE THEIR WEALTH TO OTHERS.
Use your wealth to do good in this world in order to enjoy the next one.
Gain eternal life while it is going for a low price.
This principle is exemplified by a saying of Monbaz King of Adiabene:
'''Adiabene''' (In Syriac: &1818;&1813;&1821;&1808;&1810;) was an ancient Assyrian kingdom in Mesopotamia with its capital at Arbela. Its rulers converted to Judaism in the 1st Century. The Queen of Adiabene at the time of the convertion to Judaism, Queen Heleni, moved to Jerusalem, and built palaces for herself and her son, King Monbaz at the northern part of the city of David, south of the Temple Mount. According to the Talmud, both Heleni and Monbaz donated large funds for the Temple.
Monbaz, the local monarch of Adiabene was related to the rulers of Parthia, converted
to Judaism and assisted the Jews of Jerusalem against the Romans as did
other members of his family. His mother, Heleni, once helped save
Jerusalem from famine and donated valuable utensils to the Temple.
There is a street named in her honor in the center of the New City of Jerusalem adjacent to the Old.
The Parthians were a Scythian people who conquered the Persian Empire.
At some stage other Scythian-Sacae from Scythia invaded the Parthian domain
but were subdued and settled in Sakastan in East Iran and in the Provinces of
Adiabene and Carrhae in Iraq in the former regions of the Assyrian Empire.
These Sakae invaders belonged to the same stock as the Angles and Saxons
who at that stage were also still in the area, at least in part.
The Ruling House of Adiabene intermarried with the Arsacid Rulers of Parthia
and also with the Himyarite rulers of Yemen.
At some stage or other all these ruling houses converted to Judaism.
Monbaz and his mother converted to Judaism Monbaz inherited a vast fortune from
his father King Izates. Monbaz used his wealth to feed the people of Jerusalem during a famine. His advisors protested that he was wasting all the treasure that his father
had stored up. Monbaz replied that his father had stored wealth for use in this world.
whereas Monbaz was creating it for use in the next.
<<Monbaz the king stood and gave all his goods to the poor: his relations sent to him, and said, thy fathers added to that which was their's, and to that which was their fathers; but thou hast given away that which was thine, and that which was thy father's: he replied to them all thus: my fathers , "laid up treasure on earth, but I have laid up treasure in heaven", according to (Psalms 85:11) . My fathers laid up treasures, which do not bring forth fruit; but I have laid up treasures, which bring forth fruit, according to (Isaiah 3:10) . My fathers gathered in a place, where the hand, i.e. of man rules, (where thieves break through and steal,) but I have gathered in a place where the hand of man does not rule, according to (Psalms 97:2) . My fathers gathered mammon, money, but I have gathered souls, according to (Proverbs 11:30) . My fathers gathered for others, but I have gathered , for myself, according to (Deuteronomy 24:13) . My fathers gathered in this world, but I have gathered "for the world to come".>>
Talmud Bab. Baba Bathra, fol. 11a.
Monbaz, his mother Heleni, and other members of their family seem to have led very interesting lives and to be historically important.
There does not however seem to exist any historical studies about them that I can find.
We have opened up new vistas in the historical studies of the Angles and Saxons and related peoples as well as the Celts.
So has Steven Collins.
We have however only scratched the surface.
[Psalms 49:11] THEIR INWARD THOUGHT IS, THAT THEIR HOUSES SHALL CONTINUE FOR EVER, AND THEIR DWELLING PLACES TO ALL GENERATIONS; THEY CALL THEIR LANDS AFTER THEIR OWN NAMES.
Man proposes, God disposes.
[Psalms 49:12] NEVERTHELESS MAN BEING IN HONOUR ABIDETH NOT: HE IS LIKE THE BEASTS THAT PERISH.
[Psalms 49:13] THIS THEIR WAY IS THEIR FOLLY: YET THEIR POSTERITY APPROVE THEIR SAYINGS. SELAH.
We are often like the blind following the blind. Our former leaders did not lead us in the right way yet we often mistakenly assume that they did and follow in their footsteps.
We owes respect to our ancestors but we should not repeat their mistakes.
[Psalms 49:14] LIKE SHEEP THEY ARE LAID IN THE GRAVE; DEATH SHALL FEED ON THEM; AND THE UPRIGHT SHALL HAVE DOMINION OVER THEM IN THE MORNING; AND THEIR BEAUTY SHALL CONSUME IN THE GRAVE FROM THEIR DWELLING.
The Mairi says this is hinting at death and resurrection that are similar to a sleep to which we will awaken "in the morning" cf. AND MANY OF THEM THAT SLEEP IN THE DUST OF THE EARTH SHALL AWAKE, SOME TO EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SOME TO SHAME AND EVERLASTING CONTEMPT [Daniel 12:2].
[Psalms 49:15] BUT GOD WILL REDEEM MY SOUL FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE: FOR HE SHALL RECEIVE ME. SELAH.
Rashi says that when I go in the ways of God, HE will take me unto HIM while I still live and I will be saved from the Underworld (Hebrew: "Sheol" translated as " THE GRAVE").
[Psalms 49:16] BE NOT THOU AFRAID WHEN ONE IS MADE RICH, WHEN THE GLORY OF HIS HOUSE IS INCREASED;
[Psalms 49:17] FOR WHEN HE DIETH HE SHALL CARRY NOTHING AWAY: HIS GLORY SHALL NOT DESCEND AFTER HIM.
You cannot take it with you.
[Psalms 49:18] THOUGH WHILE HE LIVED HE BLESSED HIS SOUL: AND MEN WILL PRAISE THEE, WHEN THOU DOEST WELL TO THYSELF.
[Psalms 49:19] HE SHALL GO TO THE GENERATION OF HIS FATHERS; THEY SHALL NEVER SEE LIGHT.
[Psalms 49:20] MAN THAT IS IN HONOUR, AND UNDERSTANDETH NOT, IS LIKE THE BEASTS THAT PERISH.