The Meaning of Isaiah 64:12 Explained

Isaiah 64:12

KJV: Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

YLT: For these dost Thou refrain Thyself, Jehovah? Thou art silent, and dost afflict us very sore!'

Darby: Wilt thou restrain thyself in presence of these things, Jehovah? Wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

ASV: Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O Jehovah? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

What does Isaiah 64:12 Mean?

Verse Meaning

In conclusion, Isaiah asked the Lord if He would restrain Himself from acting in view of all these conditions. One could paraphrase here: "Lord, how can You not do something after all that has happened?" Would He remain silent to His people"s prayers and allow their affliction to continue beyond what they could endure? Would He show no compassion?
The next two chapters give the Lord"s response to this impassioned prayer of intercession for hopeless Israel.

Context Summary

Isaiah 64:1-12 - A Cry For Pardon
The great past, Isaiah 64:1-5. We are introduced to the prophet's oratory and hear the outpourings of his heart. As he recalls the story of bygone days, he asks that God would do as He had done. It is as easy for God to rend the heavens as for us to tear a piece of cloth: and great mountains of difficulty dissolve before Him, as a pyramid of snow in a thaw. God works while we wait. When there is no sign of His help, He is hastening toward us. If you go out to meet Him, He will quicken His pace, and run to embrace you. These are God's ways and in them there is everlasting continuance. See Malachi 3:6.
Confession and prayer, Isaiah 64:6-12. The leper, the foul garment, the fading leaf fleeing before the autumn gusts-such emblems become us. If our righteousnesses are black, what must not our sins be! We need Him who comes not with water only, but with water and with blood. See 1 John 5:6. Perhaps our greatest sin is our prayerlessness. We do not stir ourselves up to it. God cannot refrain His mercy, if we cannot refrain our tears! [source]

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 64

1  The church prays for the illustration of God's power
4  Celebrating God's mercy, it makes confession of their natural corruptions
9  It complains of their afflictions

What do the individual words in Isaiah 64:12 mean?

Because of these [things] will You restrain Yourself Yahweh will You hold Your peace and afflict us even to very severely -
הַעַל־ אֵ֥לֶּה תִתְאַפַּ֖ק ؟ יְהוָ֑ה תֶּחֱשֶׁ֥ה וּתְעַנֵּ֖נוּ עַד־ ؟ מְאֹֽד ס

הַעַל־  Because 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
אֵ֥לֶּה  of  these  [things] 
Parse: Pronoun, common plural
Root: אֵהֶל 
Sense: these.
תִתְאַפַּ֖ק  will  You  restrain  Yourself 
Parse: Verb, Hitpael, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: אָפַק  
Sense: to hold, be strong, restrain, hold back.
؟ יְהוָ֑ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
תֶּחֱשֶׁ֥ה  will  You  hold  Your  peace 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: חָשָׁה  
Sense: to be silent, quiet, still, inactive.
וּתְעַנֵּ֖נוּ  and  afflict  us 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Piel, Conjunctive imperfect, second person masculine singular, first person common plural
Root: עָנָה 
Sense: (Qal) to be occupied, be busied with.
עַד־  even  to 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַד  
Sense: as far as, even to, until, up to, while, as far as.
؟ מְאֹֽד  very  severely 
Parse: Adverb
Root: מְאֹד  
Sense: exceedingly, much subst.
ס  - 
Parse: Punctuation