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Isaiah 47:2

    Isaiah 47:2 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover your locks, make bore the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Take the millstones, and grind meal; remove thy veil, strip off the train, uncover the leg, pass through the rivers.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Take the crushing-stones and get the meal crushed: take off your veil, put away your robe, let your legs be uncovered, go through the rivers.

    Webster's Revision

    Take the millstones, and grind meal; remove thy veil, strip off the train, uncover the leg, pass through the rivers.

    World English Bible

    Take the millstones, and grind meal; remove your veil, strip off the train, uncover the leg, pass through the rivers.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Take the millstones, and grind meal: remove thy veil, strip off the train, uncover the leg, pass through the rivers.

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 47:2

    Take the millstones, and grind meal "Take the mill, and grind corn" - It was the work of slaves to grind the corn. They used hand-mills: water-mills were not invented till a little before the time of Augustus, (see the Greek epigram of Antipater, which seems to celebrate it as a new invention, Anthol. Cephalae, 653); wind-mills, not until long after. It was not only the work of slaves, but the hardest work; and often inflicted upon them as a severe punishment: -

    Molendum in pistrino; vapulandum; habendae compedes.

    Terent. Phorm. 2:1.19.

    Hominem pistrino dignum.

    Id. Heaut. 3:2.19.

    To grind in the mill, to be scourged, to be put in the stocks, were punishments for slaves. Hence a delinquent was said to be a man worthy of the mill. The tread-mill, now in use in England, is a revival of this ancient usage. But in the east grinding was the work of the female slaves. See Exodus 11:5; Exodus 12:29, (in the version of the Septuagint;) Matthew 24:41; Homer, Odyss. 20:105-108. And it is the same to this day. "Women alone are employed to grind their corn;" Shaw's Algiers and Tunis, p. 287. "They are the female slaves, that are generally employed in the east at those hand-mills for grinding corn; it is extremely laborious, and esteemed the lowest employment in the house;" Sir J. Chardin, Harmer's Observ. i., p. 153. The words denote that state of captivity to which the Babylonians should be reduced.

    Make bare the leg, uncover the thigh - This is repeatedly seen in Bengal, where there are few bridges, and both sexes, having neither shoes nor stockings, truss up their loose garments, and walk across, where the waters are not deep. In the deeper water they are obliged to truss very high, to which there seems a reference in the third verse: Thy nakedness shall be uncovered.

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 47:2

    Take the millstones, and grind meal - The design of this is plain. Babylon, that had been regarded as a delicately-trained female, was to be reduced to the lowest condition of poverty and wretchedness - represented here by being compelled to perform the most menial and laborious offices, and submitting to the deepest disgrace and ignominy. There is an allusion here to the custom of grinding in the East. The mills which were there commonly used, and which are also extensively used to this day, consisted of two stones, of which the lower one was convex on the upper side, and the upper one was concave on thee lower side, so that they fitted into each other. The hole for receiving the grain was in the center of the upper stone, and in the process of grinding the lower one was fixed, and the upper one was turned round, usually by two women (see Matthew 24:41), with considerable velocity by means of a handle. Watermills were not invented until a little before the time of Augustus Caesar; and windmills long after. The custom of using handmills is the primitive custom everywhere, and they are still in use in some parts of Scotland, and generally in the East. (See Mr. Pennant's "Tour to the Hebrides," and the Oriental travelers generally. Grinding was usually performed by the women, though it was often regarded as the work of slaves. It was often inflicted on slaves as a punishment.

    Molendum in pistrino; vapulandum; habendae compedes.

    Terent. Phormio ii. 1. 19.

    In the East it was the usual work of female slaves see (Exodus 11:5, in the Septuagint) 'Women alone are employed to grind their corn.' (Shaw, "Algiers and Tunis," p. 297) 'They are the female slaves that are generally employed in the East at those handmills. It is extremely laborious, and esteemed the lowest employment in the house.' (Sir John Chardin, Harmer's Obs. i. 153) Compare Lowth, and Gesen. "Commentary uber Isaiah." This idea of its being a low employment is expressed by Job 31:10 : 'Let my wife grind unto another.' The idea of its being a most humble and laborious employment was long since exhibited by Homer:

    A woman next, then laboring at the mill,

    Hard by, where all his numerous mills he kept.

    Gave him the sign propitious from within.

    twelve damsels toiled to turn them, day by day

    Meal grinding, some of barley, some of wheat,

    Marrow of man The rest (their portion ground)

    All slept, one only from her task as yet

    Ceased not, for she was feeblest of them all;

    She rested on her mill, and thus pronounced:

    'Jove, Father, Governor, of heaven and earth!

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