Proverbs 23:5

ESV When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
NIV Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
NASB When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
CSB As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.
NLT In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
KJV Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

What does Proverbs 23:5 mean?

This completes Solomon's warning about overworking, especially for the sake of wealth. This verse uses a turn of phrase in Hebrew which is lost in translation. The literal wording refers to both the eyes and the eagle "flying." If one's eyes "fly" to wealth, that wealth will just as quickly "fly" away. This echoes other statements in the Bible about the temporary nature of earthly resources (Proverbs 11:4; 27:24).

A common English expression regarding money and death is, "you can't take it with you." Every earthly possession will be stripped from even the richest man in the world when he takes his final breath. Then he will stand before God. If his trust and emphasis was in wealth rather than in the Savior, he will be condemned for eternity. The rich man Jesus described as "clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted feasting sumptuously every day" (Luke 16:19) died and left all his wealth behind. He suffered in Hades and longed for just a fingertip's drop of water to cool his tongue. He found like so many others that wealth is temporary and unstable (Luke 18:25; James 5:1–3).
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