“turmoil.” The Hebrew word is mahumah (#04103 מְהוּמָה), and it means “turmoil, confusion, disturbance, panic, dismay, trouble.” Mahumah is often associated with the turmoil and panic of war or divine judgment. The NIDOTTE lists one definition as “the confusion of war.” Thus, in this verse, there is a subtle overtone that where there is a lot of money there is not just “trouble,” i.e., ordinary problems, but there is often conflict and fighting, and that is certainly the case in history and everyday life. Also, fighting especially accompanies wealth when it is gained in ungodly ways.
It is better to have a little with godliness—the fear of God—than to have great treasure and the fighting and conflict that often go with it. On Judgment Day, this life will seem to have been very short indeed, and godliness will be greatly rewarded whereas material wealth will be worthless—it really is not worth being in continual fights over. Ezekiel 7:19 says, “Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of Yahweh. They will not be able to satisfy their souls nor fill their bellies with their wealth, indeed, it has been the stumbling block of their iniquity.”