Proverbs 21:6

ESV The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
NIV A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
NASB The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.
CSB Making a fortune through a lying tongue is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death.
NLT Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.
KJV The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

What does Proverbs 21:6 mean?

Since the world is a corrupt place (2 Peter 1:4), it's possible to gain temporary wealth through dishonest means. But those who ignore God's goodness and seek money, instead, are headed for terrible disaster (Proverbs 15:27). That consequence often comes in this life, either by legal ramifications or revenge from those who've been cheated. But it will certainly come in eternity; God judges those who reject Him in favor of wealth (Proverbs 10:2). One way or another, sin leads to destruction (Proverbs 21:7).

Some lie to gain wealth, but that pursuit is futile. Riches can only last so long as earthly life (Luke 12:19–20). Contemporary history is full of stories about those who used deceit to steal from victims. Crooked salesmen, dishonest stockbrokers, and telephone scammers are among the typical examples given of those who use dishonesty to make a living. Regardless of the exact nature of the sin, anyone who lives by theft will pay a bitter price for the crimes. Psalm 68:2 predicts the judgment wicked people face. This verse says, "As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them [the wicked] away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God." The idea of dishonest people being caught in the snare of death may suggest their lives are in jeopardy. Those whom they swindle may take revenge by killing the swindlers. Or perhaps the idea suggests the swindlers put themselves in line for divine judgment. Trying to get rich by deceiving others is a dangerous pursuit.
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