Psalm 48.  Audite hæc, omnes
The end of all

 This is a didactic poem; in the spirit of the Old Testament it attempts to solve the riddle of the prosperity of the godless.  The chief theme is the nothingness of riches; man cannot use them to lengthen his life, and when he dies he has to leave them all behind.

We Christians, fortunately, have a much more satisfying answer to this riddle.  As we pray this Psalm, we should be more and more conscious of the nothingness of riches.  Avarice is a form of idolatry―we will not serve the wicked mammon.  "A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:23).  The parable of Dives and Lazarus might serve as an illustration of this Psalm.

Invitation to listen

Audíte hæc, omnes Gentes: * áuribus percípite omnes, qui habitátis orbem:
2  Quique terrígenæ, et fílii hóminum: * simul in unum dives et pauper.
3  Os meum loquétur sapiéntiam: * et meditátio cordis mei prudéntiam.
4  Inclinábo in parábolam aurem meam: * apériam in psaltério propositiónem meam.

O hear ye this, all ye nations; * ponder it with your ears, all ye that dwell in the world;
2  All ye that are earthborn, and ye children of men : * one with another, rich and poor.
3  My mouth shall speak of wisdom, * and my heart shall muse of understanding.
4  I will incline mine ear to the parable, * and shew my case upon the harp.

Riddle:  unequal lots

5  Cur timébo in die mala? * iníquitas calcánei mei circúmdabit me:
6  Qui confídunt in virtúte sua: * et in multitúdine divitiárum suárum gloriántur.

5  Wherefore should I fear in the days of wickedness, * and when the wickedness of my heels compasseth me round about?
6  They that put their trust in their own strength, * and glory in the multitude of their riches.

Solution:  death, the great leveller

7  Frater non rédimit, rédimet homo: * non dabit Deo placatiónem suam.
8  Et prétium redemptiónis ánimæ suæ: * et laborábit in ætérnum, et vivet adhuc in finem.
9  Non vidébit intéritum, cum víderit sapiéntes moriéntes: * simul insípiens, et stultus períbunt.
10  Et relínquent aliénis divítias suas: * et sepúlcra eórum domus illórum in ætérnum.
11  Tabernácula eórum in progénie et progénie: * vocavérunt nómina sua in terris suis.
12  Et homo, cum in honóre esset, non intelléxit: * comparátus est juméntis insipiéntibus, et símilis factus est illis.

7  No brother can redeem, nor shall man redeem, * nor shall he give unto God his appeasement.
8  Nor the price of the redemption of his soul, * and he shall labour for ever, and shall live unto the end.
9  He shall not see destruction, when he shall see the wise dying : * the ignorant and foolish shall perish together.
10  And they shall leave their riches for strangers : * and their sepulchres shall be their houses for ever.
11  Their dwelling-places shall endure from one generation to another; * they have called the lands after their own names.
12  And man, when he abided in honour, had no understanding : * he is compared unto the senseless beasts, and is become like unto them.

Judgment in the hereafter

13  Hæc via illórum scándalum ipsis: * et póstea in ore suo complacébunt.
14  Sicut oves in inférno pósiti sunt: * mors depáscet eos.
15  Et dominabúntur eórum justi in matutíno: * et auxílium eórum veteráscet in inférno a glória eórum.
16  Verúmtamen Deus rédimet ánimam meam de manu ínferi: * cum accéperit me.

13  This is their way and it is a stumbling block to them : * and afterwards they shall delight in their mouth.
14  They are laid in the hell like sheep, * death gnaweth upon them.
15  And the righteous shall have domination over them in the morning: * and their help shall decay in hell from their glory.
16  But God will deliver my soul from the hand of hell; * when he shall receive me.

Admonition:  do not envy the rich

17  Ne timúeris, cum dives factus fúerit homo: * et cum multiplicáta fúerit glória domus ejus.
18  Quóniam cum interíerit, non sumet ómnia: * neque descéndet cum eo glória ejus.
19  Quia ánima ejus in vita ipsíus benedicétur: * confitébitur tibi cum beneféceris ei.
20  Introíbit usque in progénies patrum suórum: * et usque in ætérnum non vidébit lumen.
21  Homo, cum in honóre esset, non intelléxit: * comparátus est juméntis insipiéntibus, et símilis factus est illis.

17  Be not thou afraid, though a man be made rich, * or if the glory of his house be increased;
18  For when he shall die he shall carry nothing away, * neither shall his glory descend with him.
19  For while he liveth, his soul shall be blessed; * and he will praise thee when thou doest well unto him.
20  He shall follow the generation of his fathers, * and shall never see light.
21  Man, when he abided in honour, had no understanding: * he is compared unto the senseless beasts, and is become like unto them.