Amos 8:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
saying, "When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?"-- skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales,

New Living Translation
You can't wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales.

English Standard Version
saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances,

New American Standard Bible
saying, "When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales,

King James Bible
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
asking, "When will the New Moon be over so we may sell grain, and the Sabbath, so we may market wheat? We can reduce the measure while increasing the price and cheat with dishonest scales.

International Standard Version
and who are saying, 'When will the New Moon fade so we may sell grain, and the Sabbath conclude so we may market winnowed wheat?— shortchanging the measure, raising the price, falsifying the scales by treachery,

NET Bible
You say, "When will the new moon festival be over, so we can sell grain? When will the Sabbath end, so we can open up the grain bins? We're eager to sell less for a higher price, and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You say to yourselves, "When will the New Moon Festival be over so that we can sell more grain? When will the day of worship be over so that we can sell more wheat? We can shrink the size of the bushel baskets, increase the cost, and cheat with dishonest scales.

Jubilee Bible 2000
saying, When the month is over, we will sell the wheat; and after the sabbath day we will open the storehouse of bread, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit;

King James 2000 Bible
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

American King James Version
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

American Standard Version
saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Saying: When will the month be over, and we shall sell our wares: and the sabbath, and we shall open the corn: that we may lessen the measure, and increase the sicle, and may convey in deceitful balances,

Darby Bible Translation
saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat? making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances for deceit:

English Revised Version
saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat? making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit;

Webster's Bible Translation
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

World English Bible
Saying, 'When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may market wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel large, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit;

Young's Literal Translation
Saying, When doth the new moon pass, And we sell ground corn? And the sabbath, and we open out pure corn? To make little the ephah, And to make great the shekel, And to use perversely balances of deceit.
Parallel Commentaries
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!

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - When? expresses impatience and desire, as in the hymn -

"Thy joys when shall I see?" The new moon. The first day of the month was a holiday, on which all trade was suspended. It is not mentioned in Exodus, Leviticus, or Deuteronomy; but its observance is enjoined in Numbers 28:11, and various notices of this occur in later Scriptures; e.g. 1 Samuel 20:5; 2 Kings 4:23; Hosea 2:11; Colossians 2:16. These greedy sinners kept the festivals, indeed, but they grudged the time given to them, and considered it as wasted. The sabbath. Compare the difficulties with which Nehemiah had to contend in upholding the sanctity of the sabbath (Nehemiah 10:31; Nehemiah 13:15-22). May set forth; literally, open; so Septuagint, καὶ ἀνοίξομεν θησαυρόν. The word expresses the opening of the granaries and storehouses. The ephah, by which corn was measured (see note on Micah 6:10). This they made small, and so gave lees than was paid for. The shekel. The weight by which money was weighed. This they made great, and thus gained too high a price for the quantity of corn. Coined money of determined value seems not to have been used before the return from Captivity, all payments of fixed amount previous to that period being made by weighing (comp. Genesis 23:16; Genesis 33:19; Genesis 43:21; Exodus 30:13; Isaiah 46:6). Falsifying the balances by deceit; better, as in the Revised Version, dealing falsely with balances of deceit. To increase their gains they falsified their scales or used fraudulent weights (see Leviticus 19:36). Thus they cheated the poor probably in three ways - by small measure, exorbitant price, and light weight.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Saying, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn?.... The first day of every month, on which it was forbid to sell any thing, or do any worldly business, being appointed and used for religious service; see 2 Kings 4:23; and which these carnal earthly minded men were weary of, and wanted to have over, that they might be selling their grain, and getting money, which they preferred to the worship of God. Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it of the month of harvest, when the poor found what to eat in the fields; when they gleaned there, and got a sufficiency of bread, and so had no need to buy corn; and hence these rich misers, that hoarded up the grain, are represented as wishing the harvest month over, that they might sell their grain to the poor, having had, during that month, no demand for it; and so the Targum renders it the month of grain: or the month of intercalation, as Jarchi understands it; every three years a month was intercalated, to bring their feasts right to the season of the year; and that year was a month longer than the rest, and made provision dearer; and then the sense is, when will the year of intercalation come, that we may have a better price for our grain? but the first sense seems best;

and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat; in the shops or markets, for sale: or "open wheat" (b); the granaries and treasures of it, to be seen and sold. Now the sabbath, or seventh day of the week, as no servile work was to be done on it, so no trade or commerce was to be carried on on that day; which made it a long and wearisome one to worldly men, who wished it over, that they might be about their worldly business. Kimchi and Ben Melech, by "sabbath", understand a "week", which these men put off the poor unto, when the price of grain would rise; and so from week to week refused to sell, and longed till the week came when it would be dearer. The Targum and Jarchi interpret it of the seventh year Sabbath, when there was no ploughing, nor sowing, nor reaping, and so no selling of grain, but the people lived upon what the earth brought forth of itself. But the first sense here is also best;

making the ephah small; a dry measure, that held three scabs, or about a bushel of ours, with which they measured their grain and their wheat; so that, besides the exorbitant price they required, they did not give due measure:

and the shekel great; that is, the weight, or shekel stone, with which they weighed the money the poor gave for their grain and wheat; this was made heavier than it should be, and so of course the money weighed against it was too light, and the poor were obliged to make it up with more; and thus they cheated them, both in their measure, and in their money:

and falsifying the balances by deceit? contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 25:13.

(b) "et apericmus frumentam", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "ut aperiamus frumenti horrea", Junius & Tremellius; "ut aperiamus frumentum", Piscator, Cocceius; "quo far aperiamus", Castalio.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. So greedy are they of unjust gain that they cannot spare a single day, however sacred, from pursuing it. They are strangers to God and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days; and they who have lost piety will not long keep honesty. The new moons (Nu 10:10) and sabbaths were to be kept without working or trading (Ne 10:31).

set forth wheat—literally, "open out" stores of wheat for sale.

ephah—containing three seahs, or above three pecks.

making … small—making it below the just weight to purchasers.

shekel great—taking from purchasers a greater weight of money than was due. Shekels used to be weighed out in payments (Ge 23:16). Thus they committed a double fraud against the law (De 25:13, 14).

Amos 8:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Basket of Ripe Fruit
4Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, 5saying, "When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, 6So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?"…
Cross References
Exodus 31:13
"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.

Numbers 28:11
"'On the first of every month, present to the LORD a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect.

1 Samuel 20:5
So David said, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.

2 Kings 4:23
"Why go to him today?" he asked. "It's not the New Moon or the Sabbath." "That's all right," she said.

Nehemiah 13:15
In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.

Hosea 12:7
The merchant uses dishonest scales and loves to defraud.

Micah 6:10
Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed?

Micah 6:11
Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?

Zechariah 5:6
I asked, "What is it?" He replied, "It is a basket." And he added, "This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land."

Zechariah 5:8
He said, "This is wickedness," and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.
Treasury of Scripture

Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

When.

Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in …

Numbers 28:11-15 And in the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering …

2 Kings 4:23 And he said, Why will you go to him to day? it is neither new moon, …

Psalm 81:3,4 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our …

Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me; the …

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect …

new moon. or, month. be gone.

Malachi 1:13 You said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and you have snuffed …

and the.

Exodus 20:8-10 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy…

Nehemiah 13:15-21 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, …

Isaiah 58:13 If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure …

Romans 8:6,7 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded …

set forth. Heb. open. making.

Leviticus 19:36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall …

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 You shall not have in your bag divers weights, a great and a small…

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Proverbs 16:11 A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the …

Proverbs 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination to the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

Ezekiel 45:10-12 You shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath…

Micah 6:10,11 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, …

falsifying the balances by deceit. Heb. perverting the balances of deceit.

Hosea 12:7 He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loves to oppress.

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