The sovereign Lord is speaking.
“There will be many corpses littered everywhere! 6 Be quiet!”
and do away with 8 the destitute in the land.
8:5 You say,
and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales! 15
a pair of sandals 17 for the needy!
We want to mix in some chaff with the grain!” 18
and all who live in it will mourn.
8:9 In that day,” says the sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun set at noon,
and make the earth dark in the middle of the day. 30
and all your songs into funeral dirges.
I will make everyone wear funeral clothes 32
and cause every head to be shaved bald. 33
I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; 34
when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day. 35
“when I will send a famine through the land –
not a shortage of food or water
but an end to divine revelation! 38
and from the north around to the east.
They will wander about looking for a revelation from 41 the Lord,
but they will not find any. 42
But they will fall down and not get up again.”
[8:1] 2 sn The basket of summer fruit (also in the following verse) probably refers to figs from the summer crop, which ripens in August-September. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 115.
[8:2] 3 tn There is a wordplay here. The Hebrew word קֵץ (qets, “end”) sounds like קָיִץ (qayits, “summer fruit”). The summer fruit arrived toward the end of Israel’s agricultural year; Israel’s national existence was similarly at an end.
[8:3] 6 tn Heb “Many corpses in every place he will throw out.” The subject of the verb is probably impersonal, though many emend the active (Hiphil) form to a passive (Hophal): “Many corpses in every place will be thrown out.”
[8:5] 14 tn Heb “to make small the ephah and to make great the shekel.” The “ephah” was a unit of dry measure used to determine the quantity purchased, while the “shekel” was a standard weight used to determine the purchase price. By using a smaller than standard ephah and a heavier than standard shekel, these merchants were able to increase their profit (“sell less for a higher price”) by cheating the buyer.
[8:5] sn Rigged scales may refer to bending the crossbar or shifting the center point of the scales to make the amount weighed appear heavier than it actually was, thus cheating the buyer.
[8:6] sn The expression trade silver for the poor refers to the slave trade.
[8:7] 20 sn In an oath one appeals to something permanent to emphasize one’s commitment to the promise. Here the
[8:8] 26 tc The MT reads “like the light” (כָאֹר, kha’or; note this term also appears in v. 9), which is commonly understood to be an error for “like the Nile” (כִּיאוֹר, ki’or). See the parallel line and Amos 9:5. The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity. If this emendation is correct, in the Hebrew of Amos “Nile” is actually spelled three slightly different ways.
[8:8] sn The movement of the quaking earth is here compared to the annual flooding and receding of the River Nile.
[8:8] 29 tn The entire verse is phrased in a series of rhetorical questions which anticipate the answer, “Of course!” (For example, the first line reads, “Because of this will the earth not quake?”). The rhetorical questions entrap the listener in the logic of the judgment of God (cf. 3:3-6; 9:7). The rhetorical questions have been converted to affirmative statements in the translation for clarity.
[8:10] sn Mourners wore sackcloth (funeral clothes) as an outward expression of grief.
[8:10] 33 tn Heb “and make every head bald.” This could be understood in a variety of ways, while the ritual act of mourning typically involved shaving the head (although occasionally the hair could be torn out as a sign of mourning).
[8:14] 48 tn Heb “the sin [or “guilt”] of Samaria.” This could be a derogatory reference to an idol-goddess popular in the northern kingdom, perhaps Asherah (cf. 2 Chr 24:18, where this worship is labeled “their guilt”), or to the golden calf at the national sanctuary in Bethel (Hos 8:6, 10:8). Some English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, CEV) repoint the word and read “Ashimah,” the name of a goddess worshiped in Hamath in Syria (see 2 Kgs 17:30).
[8:14] 50 sn Your god is not identified. It may refer to another patron deity who was not the God of Israel, a local manifestation of the Lord that was worshiped by the people there, or, more specifically, the golden calf image erected in Dan by Jeroboam I (see 1 Kgs 12:28-30).
[8:14] 51 tc The MT reads, “As surely as the way [to] Beer Sheba lives,” or “As surely as the way lives, O Beer Sheba.” Perhaps the term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “the way”) refers to the pilgrimage route to Beersheba (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 272) or it may be a title for a god. The notion of pilgrimage appears elsewhere in the book (cf. 4:4-5; 5:4-5; 8:12). The translation above assumes an emendation to דֹּדְךְ (dodÿkh, “your beloved” or “relative”; the term also is used in 6:10) and understands this as referring either to the Lord (since other kinship terms are used of him, such as “Father”) or to another deity that was particularly popular in Beer Sheba. Besides the commentaries, see S. M. Olyan, “The Oaths of Amos 8:14” Priesthood and Cult in Ancient Israel, 121-49.