The surah can be divided into the following four sections.
Section I (1-4)
A reference is made to the exile of the Jewish tribe of Banoo Nudhair. They had been ordered to vacate their territory because they had broken their covenant and had plotted to kill the Prophet (sws). At first, they agreed to this punishment, but later on when some of their allies offered their assistance to them, they changed their minds. Ultimately, the Prophet (sws) had to launch an attack on them in the 4th year of Hijra, after which they were forced to go to the land of Khaibar. They were given the permission to take as much as they could upon their camels. Consequently, they took away what they could and whatever remained came into the possession of the Muslims. By citing their example, the Munaafiqeen have been admonished to seek a lesson from this event. It is pointed out to them that they had wrongly thought that the Banoo Nudhair could not be banished from their land, whereas, as time proved, they had to leave their land and that too in a manner in which they had to ruin and ravage the houses they had built by their own hands; the foes of the Prophet (sws) always meet this fate; if they will seek the support of these Jews, they too shall meet a similar fate.
Section II (5-10)
In a parenthetical sentence, certain objections raised by the Jews and the Munaafiqeen have been answered. These objections pertained to the ruining of the orchards of Banoo Nudhair by the Muslims and to the distribution of fai. The attitude of contentment shown on this distribution by the Ansaar and the Muhaajireen, in sharp contrast with that of the Munaafiqeen, is praised.
Section III (11-17)
An indication is made to another mischievous deed of the Munaafiqeen. After the exile of the Banoo Nudhair, they had started inducing the tribe of Banoo Quraidhah to break their covenant as well; they told them that they would also fight by their side if they were attacked and if they were exiled, they would also accompany them. It is pointed out to them that they are saying something which they can never do; neither will they offer their support nor will they accompany them. They are only doing what Satan does: after a person commits a sin on his incitement, he withdraws by proclaiming acquittal from him. The Banoo Quraidhah are warned that if they also break the covenant due to the backing of the Munaafiqeen, their fate will be no different from that of the Banoo Nudhair.
Section IV ( 18-24)
In this concluding section of the surah, the believers in general and the Munaafiqeen in particular are warned to always keep in mind the Day of Judgement. They should not become like those who had forgotten the Almighty and as a result forgot their purpose of existence and the fate they would come across; there would be a great difference between those who would dwell in paradise and those who would abide in Hell; this difference should not be ignored by belittling it; only the dwellers of paradise will attain real success. It should be kept in consideration that they have been revealed the truth in its ultimate form after which no excuse but stubborness on their part could deny it. Had the Quran been revealed on a mountain, it would have been shattered to pieces due to the dread and awe of Allah. If their hearts are not being influenced by its message, then it is not the fault of the Quran; rather it is due to their own hardheartedness which is alienating them from this Divine Call.
In the end, a reference is made to certain attributes of the Almighty to inculcate the qualities of submission and trust in the believers who have a strong faith and to cultivate the qualities of determination and confidence in those among them who have a weak faith, while in the Munaafiqeen they are meant to create a fear of the Almighty. The surah finally ends on the note it began with.