|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:13-17 The Lord will appear in his power and glory. He shall cry, in the preaching of his word. He shall cry aloud in the gospel woes, which must be preached with gospel blessings, to awaken a sleeping world. He shall conquer by the power of his Spirit. And those that contradict and blaspheme his gospel, he shall put to silence and shame; and that which hinders its progress shall be taken out of the way. To those who by nature were blind, God will show the way to life and happiness by Jesus Christ. They are weak in knowledge, but He will make darkness light. They are weak in duty, but their way shall be plain. Those whom God brings into the right way, he will guide in it. This passage is a prophecy, and is also applicable to every believer; for the Lord will never leave nor forsake them.
Verse 14. - I have long time holden my peace; literally, for an eternity. God's love for his people is forcibly expressed by his saying that he has felt it "an eternity" - though it was but some five or six decades - while he was waiting for his chastisement to have such due effect as would allow of his bringing it to an end, and showing them mercy. He has chafed, as it were, under the necessity of inaction, and has with difficulty refrained himself. Now he will refrain no longer. A travailing woman. A woman in her travail, after long endurance, at last gives free vent to her natural feelings, and utters loud cries (compare the preceding verse). I will destroy and devour at once (so Gesenius, Kay, and the ancient versions). But the bulk of modern commentators render, "I will pant and gasp," as does a travailing woman.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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" (y) 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 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.
(y) "continebam me", Pagninus, Montanus; "continui me", Junius & Tremellius, Vitringa; "diu continui iram meam sicut halitum foeminae parturientis", Grotius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. long time—namely, during the desolation of Israel (Isa 32:14).
holden my peace—(Compare Ps 50:21; Hab 1:2).
cry like a travailing woman, &c.—Like a woman in parturition, who, after having restrained her breathing for a time, at last, overcome with labor pain, lets out her voice with a panting sigh; so Jehovah will give full vent to His long pent-up wrath. Translate, instead of "destroy … devour"; I will at once breathe hard and pant, namely, giving loose to My wrath.
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