16. Be not thou afraid when one shall be made rich, when the glory of his house shall be increased; 17. For when he dieth he shall not carry all away: his glory shall not descend after him: 18. For he will bless his soul in his lifetime, and they shall praise thee when thou doest well to thyself.1 19. He shall come but to the age of his fathers, and will not see the light even for ever. 20. Man is in honour, and will not understand: he is like the beasts: they shall perish.
"Mots sola fatetur Quantula sint hominum corpuscula," --
"It is death which forces us to confess how worthless the bodies of men are."
"Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry," -- (Luke 12:19)
or that they seek their happiness entirely from this world, without cherishing a desire for the life that is to come. Some translate the Hebrew verb, he will do good, and read thus, He will do good to his own soul in his lifetime. But I conceive the phrase to be synonymous in its import with that which is employed by Moses,
"And it come to pass, that he bless himself in his heart;"
that is, flatter himself as if he might despise God with impunity. The inspired penman here represents the stupidity of such as please themselves with a fallacious dream of happiness. In the latter part of the verse the person is changed, and the votary of pleasure is apostrophised;4 the prophet insinuating, by the words he uses, that the preposterous pride with which the wicked are inflamed is in part the consequence of the delusive applause of the world, which pronounces them to be happy, and echoes their praises even when they gratify their most unlicensed passions.
"Non si quid turbida Roma
Elevet, accedas, examenve improbum in illa
Castiges trutina: nec te quaesiveris extra," --
"If Rome, a city full of commotions, exalt or despise any thing, beware of being satisfied with its weight or balance; that is to say, of stopping at its judgment; and do not look to what others say of you, but enter into thyself, and examine what thou art."6 But the disposition to be deceived by flattery is one so strongly marked in our nature, as to require that we should attend to the weightier admonition of one who was inspired.
1 French and Skinner read, "Yea, though men praise thee when thou indulgest thyself;" and they explain men to mean "parasites and flatterers," and "indulgest thyself" as meaning, "indulgest thyself in unrestrained luxury."
2 "Heb. 'take of all;' that is, ought of all that he hath. 'For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.'" -- Ainsworth.
4 "There is here a change," says Walford, "from the oblique to the direct form of speech, by which the writer turns himself to the rich man, who prospers in the world, and says to him, Though you now count yourself happy, and meet with applause from persons of a character resembling your own, yet you shall go to the abode of your fathers, who will never behold the light." He reads the 19th verse, "Thou shalt go to the abode of thy fathers, who will never behold the light."
5 Horsley reads, "To all eternity they shall not see light;" "that light," says he, "which emphatically deserves the name -- that light, of which created light is but a faint image; the light of God's glory. He shall have no share in the beatific vision."
6 This is the translation which is given of these lines in the French version.
7 This verse is precisely the same as the 12th, with the exception of one word. Instead of
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