The young men perform menial labor; 1 boys stagger from their labor. 2
Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
Young men worked at the grinding mill, And youths stumbled under loads of wood.
The young men are led away to work at millstones, and the children stagger under heavy loads of wood.
Strapping young men were put to women's work, mere boys forced to do men's work.
The young men were crushing the grain, and the boys were falling under the wood.
Young men are compelled to grind, and boys stagger under loads of wood.
Young men ground at the millstones; Boys staggered under loads of wood.
the young men
and the children
under the wood
|NET © [draft] ITL|
The young men
from their labor.
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1 tn The text is difficult. Word by word the MT has “young men hand mill(?) they take up” Perhaps it means “they take [our] young men for mill grinding,” or perhaps it means “the young men take up [the labor of] mill grinding.” This expression is an example of synecdoche where the mill stands for the labor at the mill and then that labor stands for performing menial physical labor as servants. The surface reading, “young men carry hand mills,” does not portray any great adversity for them. The Vulgate translates as an abusive sexual metaphor (see D. R. Hillers, Lamentations [AB], 99), but this gives no known parallel to the second part of the verse.
2 tc Heb “boys trip over wood.” This phrase makes little sense. The translation adopts D. R. Hillers’ suggestion (Lamentations [AB], 99) of בְּעֶצֶב כָּשָׁלוּ (bÿ’etsev kashalu). Due to letter confusion and haplography the final ב (bet) of בְּעֶצֶב (bÿ’etsev) which looks like the כ (kaf) beginning the next word, was dropped. This verb can have an abstract noun after the preposition ב (bet) meaning “from, due to” rather than “over.”