New Defender's Study Bible Notes
49:1 inhabitants of the world. The psalmist here explicitly directs his words not only to Israel, but to the whole world, for its promises and warnings are of universal application in every age and nation.
49:4 parable...dark saying. The Hebrew word for “parable” is the same as for “proverb,” meaning a pithy saying. A “dark saying” refers to a more enigmatic saying. Both terms are deemed applicable to this discussion of both the certainty and mystery of death.
49:5 the days of evil. That is, the days of old age (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Ever since the entrance of sin and death into the world, followed by the Protevangelic promise that the Serpent would bruise the heel of the woman’s Seed (Genesis 3:15), her children in every age have been stung by Satan with his iniquities throughout their lives, amassing an impressive total as the end of life nears. In view of God’s promised redemption, however (Psalm 49:8, 15), there is no need to fear.
49:8 ceaseth for ever. The redemption of one’s precious soul must be accomplished prior to his death, or not at all. See Psalm 49:15, and note Hebrews 9:27.
49:10 wise men die. Neither the wealth of the rich (Psalm 49:6) nor the brilliance of the wise can conquer death or pay an adequate ransom to God (Psalm 49:7) to provide redemption from death (I Peter l:19-20).
49:15 the grave. “Grave” here is the Hebrew sheol (also in Psalm 49:14), but this psalm testifies of the certainty of redemption of the righteous from death and hell.
49:15 shall receive me. The understanding acceptance of God’s provision of redemption will assure a welcoming reception by God after death (Hebrews 9:15).
49:20 understandeth not. No matter how rich or wise or honorable a man may be, if he rejects or neglects an understanding acceptance of God’s redemption through Jesus Christ, he is no better off than a dead beast when he dies. Actually he is worse off, for he must yet face God’s judgment and then spend eternity in conscious awareness that he is lost forever (II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:11).
Psalm 50 (title) Asaph. This psalm is the first of twelve attributed to Asaph, one of David’s chief musicians (I Chronicles 15:19). Note also Psalms 73–83.