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The Time Element Is Very Important In Relationship to Judgment

By Chris McCann
December 13, 2018

Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

What is a “sentence?” It is a judgment. Let us say that a man goes to court because he was caught robbing a house and maybe he had a gun on him at the time. He has a trial and is found guilty and then the judge “sentences” him to time in prison. Because of the use of a gun, the judge sentences the individual to thirty years in prison for the burglary and possessing a firearm in the act. So, there is the sentence or judgment that he is guilty and from the moment the judge pronounces the sentence, the individual is under judgment. He is under the condemnation of the court and the government and the law of the land. The judge has condemned him to a punishment of thirty years, so there is the sentence against his evil work of breaking and entering and using the gun, and so forth. However, the carrying out of the sentence is the execution of it and that takes place over the course of the next thirty years. He was sentenced. Then he goes to jail and it is “day one.” He gets the haircut and receives his prison clothes and they take all his possessions and place him in the cell. He eats his meals and the day passes and the night comes and then there is “day two,” and so forth, for the next thirty years or until he is paroled. That is the execution of the judgment or the carrying out of the sentence of judgment. So, let us think about that as we read this verse again:

Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

We recognize that in our court system a punishment is often grievous because it is of a long duration; the longer the sentence, the more grievous it is. If someone gets life in prison without the possibility of parole, that is most grievous, excepting the death penalty. Then there are people that get sentenced to fifteen, twenty, twenty-five or thirty years in prison and we understand from our own system of justice that “time” is very important regarding punishment – the longer the time period, the more grievous.

For instance, someone could be sentenced to only one to three years. That is punishment, but it is not quite as bad because it is not as long. The lesser time period means that it is less grievous. It is less affliction. The time element is very important insofar as punishment is concerned. It can really be a factor that serves to afflict like nothing else. Yes, it is very bad in prison. You do not have your freedom. You are confined and you cannot go outside the gate. Sometimes, you cannot even go out of your little cell. You must eat the food they provide and wear the clothes they give you to wear. There are all sorts of aspects to the punishment, but the major part of the punishment is the duration. What you can handle for one year is a different matter in the fifth year; and what you can handle after five years is a different story than what you can handle after ten years. The longer the sentence goes, the harder it becomes and the more difficult it becomes and your mind is constantly on the end of the sentence: “When will the thirtieth year come?

Maybe I will get parole.” A drawn-out punishment makes it especially grievous compared to a punishment of lesser time duration. That is just how we naturally understand things.