When the Sentence is Not Executed Quickly: Notes on Ecclesiastes 8:11 (Excerpt)

Vanity of Vanities (cover)Ecclesiastes 8:11

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

Civil authorities have the divine obligation to punish evildoers. They are to be a “cause of fear” for those who do evil (Romans 13:3-4). But in order for this to be the case, the wise man says that the punishment for evil must be “executed quickly.” When the execution of justice is not swift, it has a corrupting influence upon society. Punishment is not just for the evildoer. If it were, the timing of it would not matter so much. Punishment is also meant to deter those who might later do evil. When the punishment is swift, the memory of the crime is still fresh in the people’s mind, impressing upon their minds the connection between the crime and the punishment. When punishment is delayed, the connection is not as apparent; or one may believe he can escape punishment, thus making the crime more attractive.

You can read more comments on the book of Ecclesiastes in Vanity of Vanties: Notes on Ecclesiastes. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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