Any of a variety of installations for grinding food grains (Isa 47:2; Matt 24:41) or other foodstuffs (Num 11:8). The normal domestic form of a mill was a saddle quern of limestone or basalt and a hand-held grinding stone. The grain was placed on the saddle and rubbed by back and forth motions of the hand grinder until it reached the desired fineness. Larger communal or industrial installations comprised an upper (movable) and a lower (stable) millstone between which the grain would be placed or fed through a hollow in the upper stone. The upper stone was rotated by human (Lam 5:13), prison (Judg 16:21), or animal labor. Everyday household grinding might be done by servants (Exod 11:5), and the portability of an upper millstone is evident in its use as a weapon on occasion (Judg 9:53; 2Sam 11:21). That it could function as a device for execution is reflected in Jesus’s comment in (Mark 9:42; Matt 18:6; and Luke 17:2).

Isa 47:2

2Take the millstones and grind meal,
remove your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
pass through the rivers.

Matt 24:41

41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.

Num 11:8

8The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the ... View more

Lam 5:13

13Young men are compelled to grind,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.

Judg 16:21

21So the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles; and he ground at the mill in the pris ... View more

Exod 11:5

5Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the han ... View more

Judg 9:53

53But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and crushed his skull.

2Sam 11:21

21Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wa ... View more

Mark 9:42

Temptations to Sin
42“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone wer ... View more

Matt 18:6

Temptations to Sin
6“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were ... View more

Luke 17:2

2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble ... View more

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