Matthew 24:41
Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill.—The words bring before us the picture of the lowest form of female labour, in which one woman holds the lower stone of the small hand-mill of the East, while another turns the upper stone and grinds the corn. In Judges 16:21, and Lamentations 5:13, the employment appears as the crowning degradation of male captives taken in battle. It is probable that in this case, as in that of the fig-tree, the illustration may have been suggested by what was present to our Lord’s view at the time. The Mount of Olives might well have presented to His gaze, even as He spoke, the two labourers in the field, the two women at the mill.

24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?Two women ... - Grinding in the East was performed, as it is now, chiefly by hand. The millstones were about 2 feet in diameter and 12 foot in thickness. The lower one was fixed, and the upper one was turned by a handle or crank. This was done by two persons, who sat opposite to each other. One took hold of the mill-handle and turned it half-way round; the other then seized it and completed the revolution. This was done by women - by servants of the lowest order - and was a very laborious employment. See Exodus 11:5; Job 31:10; Isaiah 47:2; Judges 16:21. The meaning of this verse is similar to the former. Of two persons sitting near each other, one shall be taken and the other. left. The calamity would be sudden, and would come upon them before they were aware. CHAPTER 24

Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

Ver. 40,41. Some refer this to the coming of Christ in his kingdom of grace; some: to his coming in the day of judgment: it is true of both those comings. God shows the freeness of his grace much in the conversion of sinners, and makes discriminations of which we can give no account, as he tells us, Luke 4:25-27. But it seemeth here rather to be understood of that separation which Christ shall make at the day of judgment, of the sheep from the goats, the elect from the reprobates; for of that coming our Saviour seemeth to be speaking, both in the preceding and in the following words. Two women shall be grinding at the mill,.... Though the word women is not in the Greek text, yet it is rightly supplied by our translators, as it is in the Persic version; for the word rendered grinding, is in the feminine gender, and was the work of women, as appears both from the Scripture, Exodus 11:5 and from several passages in the Jewish writings, concerning which their canons run thus (p),

"These are the works which a woman is to do for her husband, "she must grind", and bake, and wash, and boil, and make his bed, &c.

And elsewhere it is asked (q),

"how does she grind? she sits at the mill, and watches the flour, but she does not grind, or go after a beast, that so the mill may not stop; but if their custom is to grind at a hand mill, she may grind. The sanhedrim order this to poor people; for if she brings one handmaid, or money, or goods, sufficient to purchase, she is not obliged to grind, &c.

Frequent mention is made, of women grinding together at the same mill: a case is put concerning two women grinding at an hand mill (r), and various rules are given about it; as, that (s).

"a woman may lend her neighbour that is suspected of eating the fruits of the seventh year after time, a meal sieve, a fan, a mill, or a furnace, but she may not winnow, nor "grind with her".

Which it supposes she might do, if she was not suspected: again (t),

"the wife of a plebeian, "may grind" with the wife of a learned man, in the time that she is unclean, but not when she is clean.

Nor was this the custom of the Jews only, for women to grind, but also of other countries, as of the Abyssines (u), and of both Greeks and Barbarians (w):

the one shall be taken, and the other left; as before, one shall be taken by the Romans, and either put to death, or carried captive; and the other shall escape their hands, through the singular providence of God. The Ethiopic version, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel add, "two shall be in one bed, one shall be taken, and the other left"; but these words are not in the copies of Matthew in common, but are taken out of Luke 17:34 though they are in the Cambridge copy of Beza's, and in one of Stephens's,

(p) Misn. Cetubot, c. 5. sect. 5. Vid. T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 47. 9. & 48. 1.((q) Maimon. Hilch. Ishot. c. 21. sect. 5, 6. (r) T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 60. 2.((s) Misn. Sheviith, c. 5. 9. & Gittin, c. 5. sect. 9. (t) T. Hieros. Teruinot, fol. 46. 3. T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 61. 2. & Cholin, fol. 6. 2. Misn. Taharot, c. 7. sect. 4. (u) Ludolph. Hist. Ethiop. l. 4. c. 4. (w) Plutarch apud Beza. in loc.

{x} Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(x) The Greek women and the barbarians ground and baked.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
41. Two women shall be grinding at the mill] In southern Palestine, where there are no mill-streams, hand-mills are to be seen and heard in every village. “Two women sit at the mill facing each other; both having hold of the handle by which the upper is turned round on the nether mill-stone.” Land and Book, p. 526.

shall be taken] See preceding verse.Matthew 24:41. Ἀλήθουσαι, grinding) Grinding was an occupation of women.Verse 41. - Two women shall be grinding at (ἐν) the mill. In the absence of mills turned by wind or water, which were of much later invention, every household had its own little handmill, worked by women of the family or by slaves (Exodus 11:5; Judges 16:21; Isaiah 47:2). "Two stones, about eighteen inches or two feet across, rest one on the other, the under one slightly higher towards the centre, and the upper one hollowed out to fit this convexity; a hole through it, in the middle, receiving the grain. Sometimes the under stone is bedded m cement, raised into a border round it, to catch and retain the flour, or meal, as it falls. A stick fastened into the upper one served as a handle. Occasionally two women sit at the same pair of stones, to lighten the task, one hand only being needed where two work together, whereas a single person has to use both hands" (Geikie, 'Holy Land and Bible,' p. 155). "Two women were busy in a cottage at the household mill, which attracted me by its sound To grind is very exhausting work, so that, where possible, one woman sits opposite the other, to divide the strain, though in a poor man's house the wife has to do this drudgery unaided" (ibid., p. 661). St. Luke (Luke 17:34) adds a third situation to the cases mentioned by our Lord, viz. "two men in one bed," or on one dining couch. The mill (τῷ μύλῳ)

The ordinary hand-mill with a handle fixed near the edge of the upper stone, which is turned by two women.

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