The Meaning of Isaiah 42:14 Explained

Isaiah 42:14

KJV: I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

YLT: I have kept silent from of old, I keep silent, I refrain myself, As a travailing woman I cry out, I desolate and swallow up together.

Darby: Long time have I holden my peace; I have been still, I have restrained myself: I will cry like a woman that travaileth; I will blow and pant at once.

ASV: I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry out like a travailing woman; I will gasp and pant together.

What does Isaiah 42:14 Mean?

Verse Meaning

God Himself explained that He had remained quiet a long time, but in the future He would cry out, as a pregnant woman does just before she gives birth. The cry (cf. Isaiah 42:13) signals a mighty act. God would bring forth a new thing.

Context Summary

Isaiah 42:14-25 - A Deaf And Blind Messenger
There are times in our lives when God seems to hold His peace. Evil is rife, bad men prosper, society lies under the spell of vice. It is only temporary, however. Then God comes forth out of the silence, and shows Himself "strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." He brings the blind "by a way that they knew not," and makes "the crooked places straight."
These wonderful things are wrought not for the wise and holy alone, but for the blind and the deaf, who nevertheless desire to serve Him. See Isaiah 42:19. God's help is not conditioned by our merit, but by our faith. In the eyes of men we may be the least fit to claim divine succor. But our deficiencies and failures constitute our most eloquent claim-God knew what we were, before He ever stooped to identify Himself with us. He is pleased to help us "for His righteousness' sake." His name and character must be maintained. Therefore He has magnified the law and made it honorable by the matchless obedience and death of His only begotten Son. See Galatians 4:4-5. [source]

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 42

1  The office of Christ, graced with meekness and constancy
5  God's promise unto him
10  An exhortation to praise God for his Gospel
13  God will manifest himself, and check idolatry
18  He reproves the people of incredulity

What do the individual words in Isaiah 42:14 mean?

I have held My peace a long time I have been still and restrained Myself like a woman in labor [Now] I will cry I will pant and gasp at once
הֶחֱשֵׁ֙יתִי֙ מֵֽעוֹלָ֔ם אַחֲרִ֖ישׁ אֶתְאַפָּ֑ק כַּיּוֹלֵדָ֣ה אֶפְעֶ֔ה אֶשֹּׁ֥ם וְאֶשְׁאַ֖ף יָֽחַד

הֶחֱשֵׁ֙יתִי֙  I  have  held  My  peace 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Perfect, first person common singular
Root: חָשָׁה  
Sense: to be silent, quiet, still, inactive.
מֵֽעוֹלָ֔ם  a  long  time 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine singular
Root: עֹולָם  
Sense: long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world.
אַחֲרִ֖ישׁ  I  have  been  still 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: חָרַשׁ 
Sense: to cut in, plough, engrave, devise.
אֶתְאַפָּ֑ק  and  restrained  Myself 
Parse: Verb, Hitpael, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: אָפַק  
Sense: to hold, be strong, restrain, hold back.
כַּיּוֹלֵדָ֣ה  like  a  woman  in  labor 
Parse: Preposition-k, Article, Verb, Qal, Participle, feminine singular
Root: יָלַד 
Sense: to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail.
אֶפְעֶ֔ה  [Now]  I  will  cry 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: פָּעָה  
Sense: (Qal) to groan, cry out, scream.
אֶשֹּׁ֥ם  I  will  pant 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, first person common singular
Root: נָשַׁם  
Sense: to pant.
וְאֶשְׁאַ֖ף  and  gasp 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Conjunctive imperfect, first person common singular
Root: שָׁאַף 
Sense: to gasp, pant, pant after, long for, breathe heavily.
יָֽחַד  at  once 
Parse: Adverb
Root: יַחַד 
Sense: union, unitedness adv.