Ecclesiastes 8:11-12

Ecclesiastes 8:11-12

11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.

From the news alone, we all know of crimes where sentences are not quickly carried out. This is even true, especially true, of murder cases with death sentences where a convicted murderer sits on death row for one or more decades. Then there are murderers who get life sentences and are somehow paroled years later.

Knowing this, observing this, is it any wonder people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong? Not all people’s hearts will be filled with schemes to do wrong, but those who do not fear God or are not among those who worship the one True God and stand in awe before Him VOICE as the next verse shows us.

Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.

Let us ask why there is a delay between the sentencing and the carrying out of the sentence? Benson’s Commentary says it is oftentimes delayed for some time, to give them space for repentance. This may be true, but is often unacceptable to those of us who want justice and want it now. But is it justice we want or is it revenge? I suspect all too often it is revenge or vengeance. A reading from Our Daily Bread in 2002 corrects such thinking quoting from Isaiah 63:3

Our vengeance—no matter how right our cause may seem to us—always goes wrong. Only God has the wisdom and patience needed to punish evildoers properly and to bring them to justice. He treads the winepress of His wrath alone (Isaiah 63:3), and He doesn’t need any help from us.

Thus the key for us is the latter part of verse twelve where the writer states I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. Such people will not fall into the error of thinking because someone avoids judgment or whose judgment is delayed they should also engage in sinful activities and expect the same. They know better.

We know better or at least we should know better. Knowing better should lead us to avoid copying such terrible sins. Surely we have emotions and thoughts in that direction, but our knowledge of our personal sins that have been forgiven through God’s Gift of Grace through His Son Jesus on the cross should keep our eyes and hearts focused on our loving heavenly Father.