Chapter 49

1For the conductor, by the sons of Korah, a song.   אלַֽמְנַצֵּ֬חַ | לִבְנֵי־קֹ֬רַח מִזְמֽוֹר:
2Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all You inhabitants of the earth.   בשִׁמְעוּ־זֹ֥את כָּל־הָֽעַמִּ֑ים הַֽ֜אֲזִ֗ינוּ כָּל־י֥שְׁבֵי חָֽלֶד:
Hear this, all you peoples: Because this psalm is based on people who rely on their riches, he says, “all you peoples,” for they all require admonition.  
earth: Heb. חלוד. That [term] is [used to describe] the earth because it is old and rusty (חלודה), rodile in Old French, rust, rouille in modern French. But our Sages explained that it is because of the weasel (חֻלְדָה) , which frequents the dry land but is not found in the sea, for the Rabbis taught (Hul. 127a): Whatever is on the dry land is found in the sea, except the weasel.  
3Both the sons of "adam," and the sons of "ish," together rich and poor.   גגַּם־בְּנֵ֣י אָ֖דָם גַּם־בְּנֵי־אִ֑ישׁ יַ֜֗חַד עָשִׁ֥יר וְאֶבְיֽוֹן:
Both the sons of “adam”: The sons of Abraham, who was called (Josh. 14:15): “the greatest man (האדם) among the giants” ; the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Keturah.  
and the sons of “ish”: The sons of Noah, who was called (Gen. 6:9): “a righteous man צדיק) (איש.”  
4My mouth shall speak wisdoms and the thoughts of my heart are understanding.   דפִּי יְדַבֵּ֣ר חָכְמ֑וֹת וְהָג֖וּת לִבִּ֣י תְבוּנֽוֹת:
and the thoughts of my heart are understanding: The thoughts of my heart are understanding.  
5I will bend my ear to a parable; with a lyre, I will solve my riddle.   האַטֶּ֣ה לְמָשָׁ֣ל אָזְנִ֑י אֶפְתַּ֥ח בְּ֜כִנּ֗וֹר חִידָתִֽי:
I will bend my ear to a parable: To the words of Torah, which is called (I Sam. 24: 13), “the parable of the Ancient One.”  
I will solve: this my riddle for you with a lyre. And this is the riddle: Why must I fear in days of misfortune, on the day of the visitation for iniquity? Because the iniquity of my heels surrounds me. The iniquities that I tread with my heels, that I treat lightly, that I view as minor sinsthey condemn me in judgment, and surely the wealthy.  
6Why should I fear in days of misfortune? The iniquity of my heels surrounds me.   ולָ֣מָּה אִ֖ירָא בִּ֣ימֵי רָ֑ע עֲו‍ֹ֖ן עֲקֵבַ֣י יְסוּבֵּֽנִי:
7Those who rely on their possessions and boast of their great wealth,   זהַבֹּֽטְחִ֥ים עַל־חֵילָ֑ם וּבְרֹ֥ב עָ֜שְׁרָ֗ם יִתְהַלָּֽלוּ:
Those who rely on their possessions: Of what use is their money? Is it not so that…  
8-a brother cannot redeem a man, he cannot give his ransom to God.   חאָ֗ח לֹֽא־פָדֹ֣ה יִפְדֶּ֣ה אִ֑ישׁ לֹֽא־יִתֵּ֖ן לֵֽאלֹהִ֣ים כָּפְרֽוֹ:
A brother: cannot ransom his brother with money because the ransom of their soul is dearer than any possession. Therefore, perforce, his redemption is forever unattainable.  
9The redemption of their soul will be too dear, and unattainable forever.   טוְיֵקַ֖ר פִּדְי֥וֹן נַפְשָׁ֗ם וְחָ֘דַ֥ל לְעוֹלָֽם:
will be too dear: that he will live forever and not see the Pit. Menachem (p. 158) associated it as an expression of withholding, as (Isa. 13:12): “I will make mortal man dearer (אוקיר) than fine gold” ; (Lev. 26:21), “I will go with them with wrath of withdrawal (קיר)” i.e., the ransom of their soul will be withheld.  
10Will he live yet forever and not see the Pit?   יוִֽיחִי־ע֥וֹד לָנֶ֑צַח לֹ֖א יִרְאֶ֣ה הַשָּֽׁחַת:
11For he sees that wise men die, together a fool and a boorish man perish, and leave over their possessions to others.   יאכִּ֚י יִרְאֶ֨ה | חֲכָ֘מִ֚ים יָמ֗וּתוּ יַ֚חַד כְּסִ֣יל וָבַ֣עַר יֹֽאבֵ֑דוּ וְעָֽזְב֖וּ לַֽאֲחֵרִ֣ים חֵילָֽם:
For he sees that wise men die: and are not saved from death. So, perforce, he stops wearying himself and toiling for his brother’s ransom.  
their possessions: Heb. חילם, their money. Death is mentioned in reference to the wise men, because in this world they die only in the body, whereas concerning the fool and the boorish man, perishing is mentioned, because both body and soul perish.  
12In their heart, their houses are forever, their dwellings are for every generation; they call by their names on plots of land.   יבקִרְבָּ֚ם בָּתֵּ֨ימוֹ | לְֽעוֹלָ֗ם מִ֖שְׁכְּנֹתָם לְד֣וֹר וָדֹ֑ר קָֽרְא֥וּ בִ֜שְׁמוֹתָ֗ם עֲלֵ֣י אֲדָמֽוֹת:
In their heart, their houses are forever: Their thoughts are to build for themselves houses that will exist forever.  
they call by their names: their houses that they build so that they will have a memorial. (Gen. 4:17): “and named the city after his son Enoch.” Antiochus built Antioch; Seleucus built Seleucia.  
13But man does not repose in his glory; he is compared to the silenced animals.   יגוְאָדָם בִּיקָ֣ר בַּל־יָלִ֑ין נִמְשַׁ֖ל כַּבְּהֵמ֣וֹת נִדְמֽוּ:
in his glory: Heb. ביקר, an expression of glory and majesty.  
he is compared: Heb. נמשל, an expression of a parable (משל).  
silenced: Heb. נדמו, an expression of silence.  
14This is their way; folly is theirs, and after them they will tell with their mouth forever.   ידזֶ֣ה דַ֖רְכָּם כֶּ֣סֶל לָ֑מוֹ וְאַֽחֲרֵיהֶ֓ם | בְּפִיהֶ֖ם יִרְצ֣וּ סֶֽלָה:
folly: Heb. כסל, madness.  
and after them they will tell with their mouth forever: And those who come after them will speak of them and tell with their mouth what happened to the earlier ones.  
will tell: Heb. ירצו, an expression of narration, retreyront in Old French, But our Sages (Shab. 32b) explained: This is the way of the wicked: they perish in the end but כֶסֶל is theirs. They have fat on their flanks (כסליהם), which covers their kidneys, and they [their kidneys] do not advise them to repent of their evil. Perhaps you will say that it is forgetfulness, that they have forgotten that ultimately they will die? Scripture therefore states: and their end they tell with their mouth; i.e., the day of their end is constantly in their mouth and they are not afraid of it.  
15Like sheep, they are destined to the grave; death will devour them, and the upright will rule over them in the morning, and their form will outlast the grave as his dwelling place.   טוכַּצֹּ֚אן | לִֽשְׁא֣וֹל שַׁתּוּ֘ מָ֪וֶת יִ֫רְעֵ֥ם וַיִּרְדּ֘וּ בָ֚ם יְשָׁרִ֨ים | לַבֹּ֗קֶר ֖וְצוּרָם (כתיב וְ֖ציּרָם) לְבַלּ֥וֹת שְׁא֗וֹל מִזְּבֻ֥ל לֽוֹ:
Like sheep, they are destined to the grave: Like sheep that are gathered to the shed, so are they into the grave.  
they are destined: Heb. שתו. The “tav” is punctuated with a “dagesh,” in place of the second “tav.” שּׁוֹתתוּ into the midst of the foundations (שתותיה) of the nether world, to the lowest level. Likewise (above 73:9): “They have set their mouth against heaven,” is also an expression of foundations; they set their mouth in heaven; their slander.  
death will devour them: Heb. ירעם. The angel of death will devour them. Do not wonder about this expression of eating because we find elsewhere (Job 18:13): “the prince of death shall devour his branches.” Another explanation: [It is] an expression of breaking, as (Jer. 15:12): “Will iron break (הירע) ?”  
and the upright will rule over them in the morning: On the day of the redemption, when the morning of Israel shines, they will rule over them, as it is stated (Malachi 3:21): “And You shall crush the wicked, etc.”  
and their form will outlast the grave: The form of the wicked will outlast the grave. Gehinnom will end, but they will not end.  
as his dwelling place: From being a dwelling place for them. And the Holy One, blessed be He, takes the sun out of its case, and it will burn them up, as it is stated (Mal. 3:19, Ned. 8b). Our Sages, however, explained מִזְבֻל לוֹ to mean that because they stretched out their hand on His dwelling place, they destroyed the Temple (Mid. Ps. 49:3).  
16But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall take me forever.   טזאַךְ־אֱלֹהִ֗ים יִפְדֶּה־נַ֖פְשִׁי מִיַּ֣ד שְׁא֑וֹל כִּ֖י יִקָּחֵ֣נִי סֶֽלָה:
But God will redeem my soul: But I, who have bent my ear to the parableGod will redeem my soul so that I do not go to the grave, because He will take me in my lifetime to go in His ways.  
17Fear not when a man becomes rich, when the honor of his house increases,   יזאַל־תִּ֖ירָא כִּֽי־יַֽעֲשִׁ֣ר אִ֑ישׁ כִּֽי־יִ֜רְבֶּ֗ה כְּב֣וֹד בֵּיתֽוֹ:
18For he will not take anything in his death; his glory will not descend after him.   יחכִּ֚י לֹ֣א בְ֖מוֹתוֹ יִקַּ֣ח הַכֹּ֑ל לֹֽא־יֵרֵ֖ד אַֽחֲרָ֣יו כְּבוֹדֽוֹ:
19Because in his lifetime he blesses himself, but [all] will praise you, for you will benefit yourself.   יטכִּ֣י נַ֖פְשׁוֹ בְּחַיָּ֣יו יְבָרֵ֑ךְ וְ֜יוֹדֻ֗ךָ כִּֽי־תֵיטִ֥יב לָֽךְ:
Because in his lifetime he blesses himself: The wicked man blesses himself during his lifetime and says, “All will be well with you, my soul. No harm will befall you.” But others do not say so about him.  
but [all] will praise you, for you will benefit yourself: But you, if you hearken to my words, all will praise you, for you will benefit your soul by straightening your way.  
20You shall come to the generation of his forefathers; to eternity they will not see light.   כתָּבֹא עַד־דּ֣וֹר אֲבוֹתָ֑יו עַד־נֵ֜֗צַח לֹ֣א יִרְאוּ־אֽוֹר:
You shall come to the generation of his forefathers: When you complete your days and die, you will come and see the generation of the wicked man being judged in Gehinnom, so that they will not see light to eternity.  
21Man is in his glory but he does not understand; he is compared to the silenced animals.   כאאָדָ֣ם בִּ֖יקָר וְלֹ֣א יָבִ֑ין נִמְשַׁ֖ל כַּבְּהֵמ֣וֹת נִדְמֽוּ:
Man is in his glory but he does not understand: The way of life is placed before him; if he follows it, he will be honored, but he does not understand the good [resulting therefrom].