Psalms 49:8

8 The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn't guarantee

Psalms 49:8 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 49:8

For the redemption of their soul [is] precious
Or "heavy" {s}; it is, as Jarchi observes, "heavier than their substance": it is too weighty a matter for the richest man in the world to engage in; he is not equal to it; his riches are not an equivalent to the redemption of a soul which has sinned, and which is of more worth than the whole world: "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" or another for him? all the substance of his house would be utterly despised. It requires a greater price for the redemption of it than gold and silver, and therefore it is impossible to be obtained by any such means; and which may be the sense of the word here, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; and so it is used for that which is "rare", "difficult", yea, "impossible", not to be found or come at, in ( 1 Samuel 3:1 ) ( Daniel 2:10 Daniel 2:11 ) . The only price of redemption of the soul is the precious blood of Christ; his life is the ransom price, yea, he himself, ( 1 Peter 1:18 1 Peter 1:19 ) ( Matthew 20:28 ) ( 1 Timothy 2:6 ) ; nor is the redemption of the soul possible upon any other ground;

and it ceaseth for ever;
that is, the redemption of the soul; it must have ceased, it could never have been accomplished, had not Christ undertook it and performed it; he has obtained eternal redemption, and in him we have it, and in no other. Or the words may be rendered, "and he ceaseth for ever"; the brother, whose soul or life is to be redeemed, he dies; see ( Psalms 12:1 ) ; and dies the second and eternal death, for aught his brother can do for him, with all his riches: or he that attempts to redeem him, "he leaves off for ever" F20; see ( Psalms 36:3 ) ; whether he will or not, as Jarchi observes; he ceases from redeeming his brother; he finds he cannot do it; his endeavours are vain and fruitless. Some join and connect these words with the following, "and it ceaseth for ever, that he should still live for ever" that is, it is impossible that such an one by such means should live for ever. Gussetius F21 renders and interprets the words quite to another sense, "but the redemption of their soul shall come": the true redemption price by Christ; and which, being once paid and perfectly done, "ceaseth for ever", and shall never be required more; so that he for whom it is made "shall live for ever", as in ( Psalms 49:9 ) , which is a truly evangelic sense.


F19 (rqy) "gravis", De Dieu, Michaelis.
F20 (ldx) "definet", Montanus, Vatablus.
F21 Ebr. Comment. p. 345.

Psalms 49:8 In-Context

6 Shoved around by bullies, demeaned by the arrogant rich?
7 Really! There's no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
8 The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn't guarantee
9 Life forever, or insurance against the Black Hole.
10 Anyone can see that the brightest and best die, wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.