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What is a…
mill

A mill such as mentioned in the Bible is a device used to grind grain into flour using stones. Small mills were powered by hand. Larger millstones were turned by people.

A mill for grinding grain was mentioned as used in the time of Abraham (Genesis 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, thus most families required a hand-mill. The grain was ground daily, generally by the women of the house (Isaiah 47:1-2; Matthew 24:41).

It was with the upper stone of a hand-mill that “a certain woman” at Thebez broke Abimelech's skull (Judges 9:53, “a piece of a millstone;” literally, “a millstone rider”, i.e., the “runner,” the stone which revolves. Compare 2 Samuel 11:21).

Millstones could not be pledged (Deuteronomy 24:6), as they were necessary in every family.

Article Version: July 13, 2018

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