Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever - Thus, by interpolation, we have endeavored to patch up a sense to this clause. Instead of קרבם kirbam, their inward part, the Septuagint appear to have used a copy in which the second and third letters have been transposed קברם kibram, their sepulchres; for they translate: Και οἱ ταφοι αυτων οικιαι αυτων εις τον αιωνα· "For their graves are their dwellings for ever." So six or seven feet long, and two or three wide, is sufficient to hold the greatest conqueror in the universe! What a small house for the quondam possessor of numerous palaces and potent kingdoms!
They call their lands after their own names - There would have been no evil in this if it had not been done on an infidel principle. They expected no state but the present; and if they could not continue themselves, yet they took as much pains as possible to perpetuate their memorial.
Their inward thought is - Their secret expectation and feeling is that they have secured permanency for their wealth in their own families, though they themselves may pass away. The essential thought in this verse is, that the rich people referred to in the foregoing verses imagine that their possessions will be perpetuated in their own families. The word rendered “inward thought” - קרב qereb - means properly “the midst, the middle, inner part;” and hence it comes to mean the heart, or the mind, as the seat of thought and affection: Psalm 5:9; Psalm 64:6. It means here, their hope, their calculation, their secret expectation; and the whole verse is designed to show the value or importance which they attach to wealth as being, in their apprehension, suited to build up their families forever.
That their houses shall continue “for ever - Either the dwellings which they rear, or - more probably - their families.
And their dwelling-places to all generations - Margin, as in Hebrew, “to generation and generation.” That is, forever. They expect that their possessions will always remain in the family, and be transmitted from one generation to another.
They call their lands after their own names - They give their own names to the farms or grounds which they own, in the hope that, though they must themselves pass away, their “names” may be handed down to future times. This practice, which is not uncommon in the world, shows how intense is the desire of people not to be forgotten; and at the same time illustrates the main thought in the psalm - the importance attached to wealth by its possessor, as if it could carry his “name” down to future times, when he shall have passed away. In this respect, too, wealth is commonly as powerless as it is in saving its possessor from the grave. It is not very far into future times that mere wealth can carry the name of a man after he is dead. lands and tenements pass into other hands, and the future owner soon ceases to have any concern about the “name” of the former occupier, and the world cares nothing about it. A man must have some other claim to be remembered than the mere fact of his having been rich, or he will be soon forgotten. Compare the notes at Isaiah 22:15-19.