Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
This Psalm is much in the style of exhortation. It is full of persuasion to show the folly and deceitfulness of all worldly dependence. Towards the close, there is a sweet allusion to Jesus, as the brother of his people.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
The Psalmist demands to be heard in what he had to deliver, on account of its importance; but to conciliate affection, he proposes not to make his subject personal; but, according to the eastern method, he would veil it under the covering of a parable.
He openeth his sermon with proposing a question, What cause is there to fear on account of wickedness? This seems to be the text of his discourse. And he proceeds to give a most satisfactory and decided answer in what follows.
These words are very plain, and speak a truth which every day's experience in the world proves. Every rich man that dies manifests a new testimony, that death is not to be bribed. Neither can one rich man stop the progress of death for his brother. But, doth not this very statement of the inability of riches among rich brethren to redeem each other, seem to point to one who became the brother of the poor in this world, who are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, on purpose to redeem them? Reader! do turn to that sweet scripture, and observe what is said on this subject, Leviticus 25:25, etc.
This blessed passage is enclosed in parentheses; perhaps by way of showing, not only that it stands totally unconnected with what was said before, of a worldling redeeming his brother, which is a thing impossible, but also to point to him who is indeed a brother, and with whom all things are possible. Surely Christ is plainly here. Dear and precious as the redemption of the soul is, and not to be bought with corruptible things, as silver and gold, yet the precious blood of Christ is a rich purchase and more than an equivalent for the redemption of it; and, indeed, so greatly purchased, and so dearly purchased is it, by this price of Jesus's blood, that it ceaseth forever; impossible ever more again to be lost, and impossible evermore to need any further redemption. Reader! what a mercy is here. Oh! Lamb of God! what thanks will a whole eternity be able to show thee, for thy tender compassion to our souls?
This is a sad, but too true picture of unawakened, careless Christless sinners. How poor, and even like senseless animals for slaughter, is their life. How fearful their end!
The Psalmist here draws a fine contrast in the death of the believer to that of the ungodly. His flesh rests in hope.
What a close is here made to the rich man's pomp! How terrible is death to all such characters! Wherein doth he differ from the brutes that perish? A mere animal life was all that belonged to both: and the worm that feeds on such carcasses will only value that which is most corrupt. Asaph, hath drawn another similar representation of wretchedness, Psalms 73:17-20.
READER! while perusing this Psalm, and beholding the death of the rich voluptuary, do not forget that there are poor voluptuaries, as well as wealthy ones, to whom death, whenever it comes, is equally awful. The poor man, who lives without God and without Christ in this world, dies as awfully as the rich. And indeed in one sense he is a greater fool than his rich neighbour; for the man of wealth hath, according to his view of things, something to vaunt himself upon, and to make him put far away from his thoughts the remembrance of death. But for a man to be poor in this world, and to live so regardless of the redemption of his soul as to be poor in the world to come, is one degree of folly greater than his fellow. Reader, how blessed the thought! the redemption, the costly redemption by Jesus, is alike suited both to rich and poor. Jesus buys all his ransomed at the same price. It was sweetly said, with an eye to this, The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for their souls; Exodus 30:15. Blessed Jesus, thou hast purchased the redemption of thy people by thy blood. This redemption indeed is precious; and being once made, it ceased to need any further redemption forever. By that one offering of thyself, once offered, thou hast forever perfected them that are sanctified.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 49 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-49.html. 1828.
the First Week after Epiphany