and do away with 2 the destitute in the land.
8:5 You say,
and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales! 9
a pair of sandals 11 for the needy!
We want to mix in some chaff with the grain!” 12
and all who live in it will mourn.
[8:5] 8 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] 14 sn In an oath one appeals to something permanent to emphasize one’s commitment to the promise. Here the
[8:8] 20 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] 23 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.