The curse upon the land that those who hide up treasures in the earth shall find them no more (v. 18) may seem very unusual. However, the cause of the curse was their having set their hearts upon their riches, and they weren’t able to take the riches with them (v. 20). This curse was fulfilled prior to the time of the destruction of the Nephites as a nation (Mormon 1:18). The curse was conditional, the righteous who hid their treasures up to the Lord would be able to get them again (Helaman 13:19). Those who had riches were to thank the Lord their God for them (v. 22). More will be said of this curse later.
When the heart is not turned to God, Samuel lists several effects of having riches (v. 22). Are these progressive or sequential effects? The list begins with pride and ends with murder and iniquities. Pride comes when because of prosperity we think we are better than others (Jacob 2:13). Thus, we begin to boast about ourselves. Boasting makes us conceited or self-centered (swelling). The next step is envy of those who really do have more character than we do. Envy causes strife or conflict. When we experience strife, we feel malice towards others. Malice brings us to persecuting others and ends up with murders and other iniquities, which brings spiritual death. There seems to be a progressive pattern in these effects, which may explain why the Lord warns us against setting our hearts on riches.