|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:4-10 The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed, miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every where. It shall come upon them when they little think of it. Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. What will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and sensual pleasures!
Verse 4. - The prophet, by admonishing the grandees of their iniquities, which they will not cast away, shows how ripe they are for judgment. That swallow up; better, that pant after (Amos 2:6, 7), like a beast after its prey, eager to devour. Even to make the poor of the land to fail; and cause the meek of the land to fail. They grasp at the property of the unresisting poor, adding field to field, and impoverishing them in various ways, to root them out of the land.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy,.... Like a man that pants after a draught of water when thirsty; and, when he has got it, greedily swallows it down at one gulp; so these rich men swallowed up the poor, their labours, gains, and profits, and persons too; got all into their own hands, and made them bondsmen and slaves to them; see Amos 2:7; these are called upon to hear this dreadful calamity threatened, and to consider what then would become of them and their ill gotten riches; and suggesting, that their oppression of the needy was one cause of this destruction of the land:
even to make the poor of the land to fail; or "cease" (a); to die for want of the necessaries of life, being obliged to such hard labour; so unmercifully used, their faces ground, and pinched with necessity; and so sadly paid for their work, that they could not live by it.
(a) "ad cessare faciendum", Mercerus; "et facitis cessare", Munster, Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Hear—The nobles needed to be urged thus, as hating to hear reproof.
swallow up the needy—or, "gape after," that is, pant for their goods; so the word is used, Job 7:2, Margin.
to make the poor … to fail—"that they (themselves) may be placed alone in the midst of the earth" (Isa 5:8).
Amos 8:4 Parallel Commentaries
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