The central theme of this chapter can be summarized as warning those who doubt the Book of divine punishment in this world and punishment in the Hereafter. In the context, this is explained by the fact it is a clear book which has been sent down from God to the one whom He sent to people in order to warn them. This book came down as a mercy from Him to His servants in the best possible way on the Night of Ordainment, and in which every definitive matter is resolved.
But despite this, people – meaning the faithless – doubt it while playing in their tumult. They shall be overtaken by a painful punishment in this world, then they shall return to their Lord who will exact vengeance upon them after sentencing them to an eternal punishment.
Then the chapter provides them with a parallel for the first kind of punishment in the story of Moses, when he was sent to Pharaoh’s people to save the Israelites. They denied him and drowned as a result.
Next, it turns to their denial of the second of the two punishments, namely that they shall return to God on the Day of Judgement. First, it provides conclusive arguments that this day will certainly come to pass. Second, it relates some accounts of what shall befall the guilty on that day and the different kinds of punishment they will suffer. Third, it mentions the rewards of the Godwary in the form of a good life and a noble station.
The tone and context of the verses attests to this chapter being revealed at Mecca.