They took the young men to grind
In the mill, which was laborious service; and which persons were sometimes put to, by way of punishment; and was the punishment of servants; see ( Judges 16:21 ) . Some render it, "the young men bore the grist" F24; carried the corn, the meal ground, from place to place. The Targum is,
``the young men carried the millstones;''and so Jarchi, they put millstones upon their shoulders, and burdens so as to weary them. Ben Melech, from their Rabbins, relates, that there were no millstones in Babylon; wherefore the Chaldeans put them upon the young men of Israel, to carry them thither. The Vulgate Latin version is,
``they abused the young men in an unchaste manner;''suggesting something obscene intended by grinding; see ( Job 31:10 ) ; but the context will not admit of such a sense: and the children fell under the wood;
such loads of wood were laid upon them, that they could not bear them, but fell under them. Aben Ezra understands it of moving the wood of the mill, of turning the wooden handle of it; or the wooden post, the rider or runner, by which the upper millstone was turned: this their strength was not equal to, and so failed. The Targum interprets it of a wooden gibbet, or gallows; some wooden engine seems to be had in view, used as a punishment, which was put upon their necks, something like a pillory; which they were not able to stand up under, but fell.
F24 (wavn Nwxj Myrwxb) "juvenes farinam portaverunt"; so some in Gataker; "juvenes molam tulerunt", Cocceius; "juvenes ad molendum portant", Junius & Tremellius.