Psalm 49:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Both low and high, rich and poor, together. Sons of great men, and children of mean men, men of large estate, and ye who pine in poverty, ye are all bidden to hear the inspired minstrel as he touches his harp to a mournful but instructive lay. The low will be encouraged, the high will be warned, the rich will be sobered, the poor consoled, there will be a useful lesson for each if they are willing to learn it. Our preaching ought to have a voice for all classes, and all should have an ear for it. To suit our word to the rich alone is wicked sycophancy, and to aim only at pleasing the poor is to act the part of a demagogue. Truth may be so spoken as to command the ear of all, and wise men seek to learn that acceptable style. Rich and poor must soon meet together in the grave, they may well be content to meet together now. In the congregation of the dead all differences of rank will be obliterated, they ought not now to be obstructions to united instructions.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. In this Psalm David, as it were, summons and divides mankind. In the first verse he summons: "Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world." In the second verse he divides: Both low and high, rich and poor, together. The word in the Hebrew for high is (fya ynb), bene ish, sons of Ish, and the word for low is (~da ynb) bene Adam, sons of Adam. If we should translate the text directly, according to the letter, the words must run, sons of men and sons of men; for, sons of Adam and sons of Ish are both translated sons of men. Yet when they are set together in a way of opposition, the one signifieth low and the other high; and so our translators render it according to the sense, not sons of men and sons of men, but low and high. Junius translates to this sense, though in more words, as well they who are born of mean men, as they who are born of the honourable. Joseph Caryl.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2.

  1. The common needs of rich and poor men.
  2. The common privileges of rich and poor saints.
  3. Their common service.
  4. Their common heaven.