Psalm 49:16

Hebrew Bible

16 Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich and his wealth multiplies. 17 For he will take nothing with him when he dies; his wealth will not follow him down into the grave. 18 He pronounces this blessing on himself while he is alive: “May men praise you, for you have done well.” 19 But he will join his ancestors; they will never again see the light of day. 20 Wealthy people do not understand; they are like animals that perish.

James 5:1

New Testament

1 Come now, you rich! Weep and cry aloud over the miseries that are coming on you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your clothing has become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you. It will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have hoarded treasure! 4 Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 You have lived indulgently and luxuriously on the earth. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

 Notes and References

"... Wright observes some ways in which Luke’s parable illustrates motifs from certain Jewish wisdom texts, but his assertion that the parable merely echoes the wisdom tradition does not take into account the many ways in which Luke 12:16–20 reconfigures sapiential motifs. Wright conveys, moreover, little sense of the diversity within wisdom texts. He characterizes the “wisdom tradition” as that which extolled “common-sense instruction as something God-given and portrayed obedience as not only right but also the best and safest course of action.” This description applies to some wisdom texts, but certainly not all. It is more helpful—and more of an accurate reflection of the dynamic dialogue between such texts—to speak of wisdom traditions rather than a single, static tradition. Underlying my book’s thesis is a claim that wisdom texts whose focus is the interplay of death and possessions, far from representing a monolithic voice, comprise a diverse and contested conversation. Although François Bovon follows Jülicher and others in describing the parable as “une histoire exemplaire,” he acknowledges the importance of wisdom parallels and identifies specific aspects of the parable as having their “equivalent” in Hebrew and Jewish wisdom. He cites several such parallels to show that Luke 12:15 and 16–21 fit into Israel’s “wisdom tradition.” (These include Psalm 49:7, 11, 17–20; Sirach 11:18–19; Testament of Judah 18–19; 1 Enoch 94:6–11; 97:8–10; James 5:1–6. He also refers to the beatitude and woe in Luke 6:20, 24 and “all the Lucan texts on riches.”) ..."

Rindge, Matthew S. Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-34 among Ancient Conversations on Death and Possessions (pp. 31-32) Society of Biblical Literature, 2011

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