Isaiah 64:12 Commentaries: Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?
Isaiah 64:12
Will you refrain yourself for these things, O LORD? will you hold your peace, and afflict us very sore?
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(12) Wilt thou refrain . . .?—The final appeal to the fatherly compassion of Jehovah reminds us of the scene when Joseph could not “refrain” (Genesis 45:1), and natural tenderness would find a vent. Could the God of Israel look on the scene of desolation, and not be moved to pity?

64:6-12 The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence, as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him, earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return. They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly. Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them. Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under, who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do not say, Lord, rebuke us not, for that may be necessary; but, Not in thy displeasure. They state their lamentable condition. See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who call on his name and hope in his mercy.Wilt thou refrain thyself - Wilt thou refuse to come to our aid? Wilt thou decline to visit us, and save us from our calamities?

Wilt thou hold thy peace - Wilt thou not speak for our rescue, and command us to be delivered? Thus closes this chapter of great tenderness and beauty. It is a model of affectionate and earnest entreaty for the divine interposition in the day of calamity. With such tender and affectionate earnestness may we learn to plead with God! Thus may all his people learn to approach him as a Father: thus feel that they have the inestimable privilege, in times of trial, of making known their needs to the High and Holy One. Thus, when calamity presses on us; when as individuals or as families we are afflicted; or when our country or the church is suffering under long trials, may we go to God and humbly confess our sins, and urge his promises, and take hold of his strength, and plead with him to interpose. Thus pleading, be will hear us; thus presenting our cause, he will interpose to save.

12. for these things—Wilt Thou, notwithstanding these calamities of Thy people, still refuse Thy aid (Isa 42:14)? Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, viz. that are done by the Babylonians? do none of these things move thee to take vengeance on them?

Wilt thou hold thy peace; wilt thou be as one that regards not? Wilt thou be still, and suffer them?

And afflict us very sore: see Isaiah 64:9: for these our sins, or for these our sufferings; shall we feel the smart of it, that have done no such things, but have been sufferers under the Babylonians? to which God answers in the next chapter. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O Lord?.... From delivering us out of our troubles and miseries, and taking vengeance on our enemies, and showing thy zeal for thine own glory; or, as Kimchi paraphrases it,

"how canst thou contain thyself for these things, and not have mercy?''

how canst thou bear to see Judea, and all its cities, a wilderness; Jerusalem, and the temple of it, in ruins?

wilt thou hold thy peace? or, "be silent"; and not plead thine own cause, and the cause of thy people?

and afflict us very sore? exceedingly, even to extremity; or for ever, as the Targum, thinking it long, as well as heavy. Jerom observes, that the Jews say these words in their synagogues every day; which show that they look upon this prophecy to respect their present case.

Wilt thou restrain thyself {n} for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and grievously afflict us?

(n) That is, at the contempt of your own glory? Though our sins have deserved this, yet you will not permit your glory thus to be diminished.

12. refrain thyself] See ch. Isaiah 63:15.Verse 12. - Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things? rather, at these things - seeing that these things are so. Will they not provoke thee to interfere?

Universal forgetfulness of God was the consequence of this self-instigated departure from God. "And there was no one who called upon Thy name, who aroused himself to lay firm hold of Thee: for Thou hadst hidden Thy face from us, and didst melt us into the hand of our transgressions." There was no one (see Isaiah 59:16) who had risen up in prayer and intercession out of this deep fall, or had shaken himself out of the sleep of security and lethargy of insensibility, to lay firm hold of Jehovah, i.e., not to let Him go till He blessed him and his people again. The curse of God pressed every one down; God had withdrawn His grace from them, and given them up to the consequences of their sins. The form ותּמוּגנוּ is not softened from the pilel ותּמגגנוּ, but is a kal like ויכוּננּוּ ekil in Job 31:15 (which see), מוּג being used in a transitive sense, as kūn is there (cf., shūbh, Isaiah 52:8; mūsh, Zechariah 3:9). The lxx, Targ., and Syr. render it et tradidisti nos; but we cannot conclude from this with any certainty that they read ותּמגּננוּ, which Knobel follows Ewald in correcting into the incorrect form ותּמגּנּוּ. The prophet himself had the expression miggēn beyad (Genesis 14:20, cf., Job 8:4) in his mind, in the sense of liquefecisti nos in manum, equivalent to liquefecisti et tradidisti (παρέδωκας, Romans 1:28), from which it is evident that ביד is not a mere διά (lxx), but the "hand" of the transgressions is their destructive and damning power.
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