This wise saying offers a very strong warning to any and all who are dishonest in their dealings with others. While God isn’t mentioned, I’d like to suggest that He’s all over this one!
“A fortune made by a lying tongue” is the issue here. It should be noted that it’s not having a fortune that is the problem, but a fortune gained by “lying” to others that is.
This verse should be understood in light of the oft-mentioned modern saying, “money is the root of all evil.” Our modern statement is actually a misquote of 1 Timothy 6:10, which really says “the love of money is the root of all evil.”
The problem in our Proverb is not the getting of a “fortune,” but getting it “by a lying tongue.” And the threat – even sacred promise from God – here is that such a fortune will dissipate as quickly as “a fleeting vapor” and can be as dangerous to the one who has it as a “deadly trap.”
Having things – nice things, even a lot of nice things – is not a problem with God. But acquiring them dishonestly at the expense of others is.
And such acquisitions will eventually be painful to us. In the end, they will wind up costing us more than any of us will want to pay!