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September 22    Scripture

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Manners & Customs: Mills and Millstones
Mills and Millstones in Ancient Biblical Times

Donkeys for Grinding Grain The donkey sometimes used for grinding grain. Here again, the usual method of grinding the grain is for the women to use smaller stones for their mills. The larger mill is elevated so that a singletree becomes suitable for the work. A camel may be used in place of a donkey. It was this type of a mill that the Philistines required Samson to pull (Judges 16:21). JESUS referred to this larger type of millstone when he said: "But whoso shall offend [cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble], . . . it were better for him that a millstone [turned by an ass] were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). The size and weight of this stone made its illustrative use by JESUS very forceful. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=DKv9MD4nWhA%3d&tabid=232&mid=762

Grinding at the Mill GRINDING OF THE GRAIN BY THE WOMEN The first sound to greet the ear in the early morning in many a Palestinian village will be the sound of the grinding of the grain. Today, as in the long ago, many of these people resort to the handmill for this purpose. A traveler passing by these humble homes will hear the hum of the handmill morning or evening and sometimes after dark. This sound of the grinding is not exactly musical, and yet many love to go to sleep under it. In the mind of those who live in the East this sound is associated with home, and comfort, and plenty. The women are the ones who engage in this task, and they begin it early in the morning, and it often requires half a day to complete. When Jeremiah foretold judgment upon Israel for her sins, he said concerning what GOD would take from her: "I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle" (Jeremiah 25:10). From this it can be seen that the sound of these handmills is an indication of life and activity, and the absence of them would be a sign of utter desolation. The Bible references to the grinding mills are true to Oriental customs. The task is for servants if the family has them, and if not the women do the job, but the men would consider it beneath them to engage in such a menial task. Part of the judgment upon Israel at the destruction of Jerusalem was that the enemy "took the young men to grind" (Lamentations 5:13). And the Philistines punished Samson in this way, for it says of him, "and he did grind in the prison house" (Judges 16:21). Although there are simple handmills made for the use of one person, more often two women operate one together. The mill is composed of two stones eighteen to twenty-four inches in diameter. The two women sit at these stones facing each other. The upper stone turns upon the lower one by means of an upright handle which the women alternately pull and push.
Here is how the process works: The upper stone rotates about a wooden pivot fixed in the center of the lower. The opening in the upper stone for the pivot is funnel-shaped to receive the corn, which each woman throws in as required with her disengaged hand. The flour issuing from between the stones is usually caught on a sheepskin placed under the mill. Job speaks of a heart being as "hard as a piece of the nether millstone" (Job 41:24). Thomson says that the lower millstone is not always harder than the upper, but he had seen the nether made of a very compact and thick sandstone, while the upper was of lava no doubt because being lighter it would be easier to drive it around with the hand. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=cieI0kvPKAo%3d&tabid=232&mid=762

Making Olive Oil The process of making olive oil. Olive mills are used for making oil. There have been many of these instruments for the manufacture of oil located in Israel. Oil-presses comprised, in addition to the vat, an upright stone with a large hole in it. In this hole a beam was inserted. This beam rested on the olives which were to be pressed, extending far beyond the receptacle containing the olives, and weights were hung on the end farthest from the stone. The Garden of Gethsemane was in reality an olive orchard, and the word, "Gethsemane," means "Oil-Press." Another Bible-time way of making oil was to tread the olive berries with the feet. This primitive method was mentioned by the prophet Micah: "Thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil" (Micah 6:15). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PGv6jJqoGr0%3d&tabid=232&mid=762

Mills and Millstones in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE mil, mil'-ston (recheh; mulos, mulon): The two most primitive methods of grinding grain were (1) by pounding it in a mortar, and (2) by rubbing it between two stones. In Nu 11:8 both methods are mentioned as used for rendering the manna more fit for cooking. Numerous examples of both mill and mortar have been found in ancient excavations. Bliss and Macalister in their excavations at Gezer and other places have found specimens of what is called the saddle-quern or mill, which consists of two stones. The "nether" stone, always made of hard lava or basalt from the district of the Hauran, was a large heavy slab varying in length from 1 1/2 ft. to 2 3/4 ft., and in width from 10 inches to 1 1/3 ft. Its upper surface was hollowed out slightly, which made it look a little like a saddle and may have suggested the name of "riding millstone" applied by the Hebrews to the upper stone which rested on it (Jdg 9:53). The "upper stone" or "rider" was much smaller, 4 inches to 8 in. long and 2 3/4 inches to 6 inches wide, and of varying shapes. This could be seized with the two hands and rubbed back and forth over the nether stone much the same as clothes are scrubbed on a wash-board. Such a stone could be used as a weapon (Jdg 9:53; 2 Sam 11:21), or given as a pledge (Dt 24:6). Macalister goes so far as to say that "the rotary handquern in the form used in modern Israel and in remote European regions, such as the Hebrides, is quite unknown throughout the whole history, even down to the time of Christ" (Excavations at Gezer). The same writer, however, describes some mills belonging to the 3rd and 4th Sere periods which are much like the present rotary quern, except smaller (4 inches to 6 inches in diameter), and with no provision for a turning handle. Schumacher describes these as paint grinders. The only perforated upper millstones found in the excavations at Gezer belong to the early Arabic period. If the above assertions are substantiated then we must alter somewhat the familiar picture of the two women at the mill (Mt 24:41), commonly illustrated by photographs of the mills still used in modern Israel These latter consist of two stone discs each 18 inches to 20 inches in diameter, usually made of Hauran basalt. The upper one is perforated in the center to allow it to rotate on a wooden peg fixed in the nether stone, and near the circumference of the upper stone is fixed a wooden handle for turning it. The grain to be ground is fed into the central hole on the upper stone and gradually works down between the stones. As the grain is reduced to flour, it flies out from between the stones on to a cloth or skin placed underneath the mill. To make the flour fine it is reground and sifted. Larger stones 4 ft. to 5 ft. in diameter, working on the principle of the handmill, are still used for grinding sesame seed. These are turned by asses or mules. Another form of mill, which is possibly referred to in Mt 18:6; Mk 9:42; Rev 18:21,22, consisted of a conical nether stone on which "rode" a second stone like a hollowed-out capstan. The upper stone was probably turned with handspikes in much the same way as an old-fashioned ship's capstan was turned. The material to be ground was fed into the upper cone which formed the hopper and from which it was delivered to the grinding surfaces between the "rider" and the nether stone. This form of mill must have been known in late Biblical times, because many examples of the upper stone dating from the Greek-Roman period have been found. One may be seen in the museum of the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut. Another large one lies among the ruins at Petra, etc. In Mt 18:6; Mk 9:42, the mill is described as a mulos onikos, literally, a mill turned by an ass, hence, a great millstone. It is not at all unlikely that the writers have confused the meaning of onos (chamor), a term commonly applied to the upper millstone of a handmill, thinking it referred instead to the animal which turned the mill. This explanation would make Christ's words of condemnation more applicable. The upper millstone of a handmill would be more than sufficient to sink the condemned, and the punishment would be more easily carried out. A few years from now handmills will have disappeared from the Syrian households, for the more modern gristmills turned by water or other motor power are rapidly replacing them. See CRAFTS, II, 8. Figuratively: (1) Of firmness and undaunted courage (Job 41:24). "The heart of hot-blooded animals is liable to sudden contractions and expansions, producing rapid alternations of sensations; not so the heart of the great saurians" (Canon Cook, at the place). (2) To "grind the face of the poor" (Isa 3:15) is cruelly to oppress and afflict them. (3) The ceasing of the sound of the millstone was a sign of desolation (Jer 25:10; Rev 18:22).
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/M/MILL;+MILLSTONE/

Mills in Easton's Bible Dictionary for grinding corn, mentioned as used in the time of Abraham (Gen. 18:6). That used by the Hebrews consisted of two circular stones, each 2 feet in diameter and half a foot thick, the lower of which was called the "nether millstone" (Job 41:24) and the upper the "rider." The upper stone was turned round by a stick fixed in it as a handle. There were then no public mills, and thus each family required to be provided with a hand-mill. The corn was ground daily, generally by the women of the house (Isa. 47:1, 2; Matt. 24:41). It was with the upper stone of a hand-mill that "a certain woman" at Thebez broke Abimelech's skull (Judg. 9:53, "a piece of a millstone;" literally, "a millstone rider", i.e., the "runner," the stone which revolves. Comp. 2 Sam. 11:21). Millstones could not be pledged (Deut. 24:6), as they were necessary in every family.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/M/Mill/

Mills in Fausset's Bible Dictionary In the East two "circular stones" (reechahim), 2 ft. diameter, the lower fixed, and with the upper surface slightly convex, fitting into the upper stone's concavity. This stone has a hole through which the grain passes, above a pivot rising from the lower stone. About the pivot the "upper stone" (recheb, "the rider") is turned by a handle. Being moveable it could be thrown as a missile (Judges 9:53 Gesenius translated "a cut piece of millstone," not a fragment, but the whole with its carefully cut surface; Revelation 18:21). Two women (Matthew 24:41) facing one another, seated on the ground, both turned it round by the handle, the one supplying the grain through the hole. It was hard servile labor (Exodus 11:5; Judges 16:21; Isaiah 47:1-2; Lamentations 5:18). The mill stones were so essential for preparing food that they were forbidden to be taken in pledge (Deuteronomy 24:6). The cessation of the sound of grinding was a sign of desolation (Jeremiah 25:10; Revelation 18:22; Ecclesiastes 12:3-4, "the grinders cease because they are few ... the sound of the grinding is low".) Larger millstones were turned by asses; Matthew 18:6 "a donkey millstone" (Greek).
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/M/Mill/

Mills in Naves Topical Bible General scriptures concerning Jer 25:10 -Upper and lower stones of De 24:6; Job 41:24; Isa 47:2 -Used in Egypt Ex 11:5 -Operated by women Mt 24:41 -And captives Jud 16:21; La 5:13 -Manna ground in Nu 11:8 -Sound of, to cease Re 18:22
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/M/MILL/

Mills in Smiths Bible Dictionary The mills of the ancient Hebrews probably differed but little from those at present in use in the East. These consist of two circular stones, each about eighteen inches or two feet in diameter, the lower of which is fixed, and has its upper surface slightly convex, fitting into a corresponding concavity in the upper stone. In the latter is a hole thorough which the grain passes, immediately above a pivot or shaft which rises from the centre of the lower stone, and about which the upper stone is turned by means of an upright handle fixed near the edge. It is worked by women, sometimes singly and sometimes two together, who are usually seated on the bare ground. Isa 47:1,2 "facing each other; both have hold of the handle by which the upper is turned round on the 'nether' millstone. The one whose right hand is disengaged throws in the grain as occasion requires through the hole in the upper stone. It is not correct to say that one pushes it half round and then the other seizes the handle. This would be slow work, and would give a spasmodic motion to the stone. Both retain their hold, and pull to or push from, as men do with the whip or cross-cut saw. The proverb of our Saviour, Mt 24:41 is true to life, for women only grind. I cannot recall an instance in which men were at the mill." --Thomson, "The Land and the Book," c.34. So essential were millstones for daily domestic use that they were forbidden to be taken in pledge. De 24:6 There were also larger mills that could only be turned by cattle or asses. Allusion to one of these is made in Mt 18:6 With the movable upper millstone of the hand-mill the woman of Thebez broke Abimelech's skull. Jud 9:53
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/M/Mill/

Mills Scripture - Exodus 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that [is] behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Exodus/11/

Mills Scripture - Matthew 24:41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Matthew/24/

Mills Scripture - Numbers 11:8 [And] the people went about, and gathered [it], and ground [it] in mills, or beat [it] in a mortar, and baked [it] in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Numbers/11/

Millstones in Naves Topical Bible Not to be taken as a pledge De 24:6 -Probably used in executions by drowning Mt 18:6; Mr 9:42; Lu 17:2 -Abimelech killed by one being of hurled upon him Jud 9:53 -Figurative of a hard heart Job 41:24
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/M/MILLSTONE/

Millstones Scripture - 2 Samuel 11:21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Samuel/11/

Millstones Scripture - Deuteronomy 24:6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh [a man's] life to pledge.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Deuteronomy/24/

Millstones Scripture - Isaiah 47:2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Isaiah/47/

Millstones Scripture - Jeremiah 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Jeremiah/25/

Millstones Scripture - Job 41:24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether [millstone].
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Job/41/

Millstones Scripture - Judges 9:53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Judges/9/

Millstones Scripture - Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Luke/17/

Millstones Scripture - Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Mark/9/

Millstones Scripture - Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Matthew/18/

Millstones Scripture - Revelation 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast [it] into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Revelation/18/

Millstones Scripture - Revelation 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft [he be], shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Revelation/18/



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