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Because a sentence

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is not speedily done

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against an evil deed, the heart

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of the sons of men is fully in them

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to do evil.


When God does not quickly bring about punishment for evil deeds, the hearts of men can become fully committed to doing evil because they think they will get away with it.


1: “a sentence”

This word means “a decree, an edict, a command,” but in this context it clearly indicates a pronouncement of punishment for having disobeyed an earlier command. The first would be a command to the general public to live in a certain way; the second would be a command to the king’s soldiers to “go get that guy and bring him in for punishment.” Although this can refer to God’s judgment or the judgment of human authority figures, the verse before and the verse after this one make it clear that the judgment of God is the one that is being focused on.

2: “done”

This is the very versatile and useful Hebrew word that means: “to do, to make, to produce, to bring about, etc.” It is very broad and has many uses.


Hebrew uses a singular noun here and a singular verb to follow where English would use all plurals.


The Hebrew includes the words “in them” which don’t fit in English so we can just omit them without hindering the meaning of the verse. However, the Hebrew text omits an auxiliary verb that English requires, thus we must guess from context what that verb would be. The heart of the wicked is “fully committed, fully given to, fully set on, doing evil.” Many options will communicate the same idea.