and boast 2 in their great riches.
he cannot pay God an adequate ransom price 4
and his wealth multiplies! 6
49:17 For he will take nothing with him when he dies;
his wealth will not follow him down into the grave. 7
49:18 He pronounces this blessing on himself while he is alive:
“May men praise you, for you have done well!”
they will never again see the light of day. 9
2 tn The imperfect verbal form emphasizes their characteristic behavior.
3 tn Heb “a brother, he surely does not ransom, a man.” The sequence אִישׁ...אָח (’akh...’ish, “a brother…a man”) is problematic, for the usual combination is אָח...אָח (“a brother…a brother”) or אִישׁ...אִישׁ (“a man…a man”). When אִישׁ and אָח are combined, the usual order is אָח...אִישׁ (“a man…a brother”), with “brother” having a third masculine singular suffix, “his brother.” This suggests that “brother” is the object of the verb and “man” the subject. (1) Perhaps the altered word order and absence of the suffix can be explained by the text’s poetic character, for ellipsis is a feature of Hebrew poetic style. (2) Another option, supported by a few medieval Hebrew
4 tn Heb “he cannot pay to God his ransom price.” Num 35:31 may supply the legal background for the metaphorical language used here. The psalmist pictures God as having a claim on the soul of the individual. When God comes to claim the life that ultimately belongs to him, he demands a ransom price that is beyond the capability of anyone to pay. The psalmist’s point is that God has ultimate authority over life and death; all the money in the world cannot buy anyone a single day of life beyond what God has decreed.
6 tn Heb “when the glory of his house grows great.”
7 tn Heb “his glory will not go down after him.”
8 tn Verses 18-19a are one long sentence in the Hebrew text, which reads: “Though he blesses his soul in his life, [saying], ‘And let them praise you, for you do well for yourself,’ it [that is, his soul] will go to the generation of his fathers.” This has been divided into two sentences in the translation for clarity, in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences.
9 tn Heb “light.” The words “of day” are supplied in the translation for clarification.