Isaiah 42:14

14 For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.

Isaiah 42:14 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 42:14

I have long time holden my peace
For many hundred years the Lord suffered the Gentile world to walk in their own ways, to worship their idols, and took no notice of them; he winked at and overlooked their times of ignorance, and did not bring down his vengeance upon them, nor stir up all his wrath; nor indeed did he send any among them, to reprove and convince them of their errors, and threaten them with "ruin", in case of their continuance in them: I have been still, and refrained myself;
had been silent, and said nothing against them in a providential way, but curbed and kept in his wrath and displeasure at their idolatry, as a woman in travail "holds in" F25 her breath as long as she can; to which the allusion is, as appears by what follows: now will I cry like a travailing woman;
when sharp pains are upon her, and just going to be delivered; and that so loud as to be heard all over the house. This may be taken in a good sense; the ministers of the Gospel travail in birth, and Christ in them, until he is formed in the hearts of men by regenerating and converting grace, ( Galatians 4:19 ) ( Romans 8:19 Romans 8:20 ) and in an ill sense; for swift and sudden destruction, which should come on his enemies, as travail on a woman with child. So the Targum,

``as pains on a woman with child, my judgment shall be revealed (or exposed) upon them.''
I will destroy and devour at once;
all enemies that should oppose him in the spread of the Gospel, in the destruction of Paganism, and establishment of Christianity in the Roman empire, who are described in the next verse.

F25 (qpata) "continebam me", Pagninus, Montanus; "continui me", Junius & Tremellius, Vitringa; "diu [continui] iram meam sicut halitum foeminae parturientis", Grotius.

Isaiah 42:14 In-Context

12 Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.
14 For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbage; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.