|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 6. - Buy the poor for silver (comp. Amos 2:6). The probable meaning is that they so reduced the poor marl by their exactions and injustice, that he was compelled to pay his debt by selling himself into slavery (Leviticus 25:39; Deuteronomy 15:12). For a pair of shoes. For the smallest debt they would deal in this harsh manner. The refuse; literally, that which fell through the sieve; Septuagint, Ἀπὸ παντὸς γεννήματος ἐμπορευσόμεθα, "We will trade in every kind of produce;" Vulgate, Quisquilias frumenti vendamus, "Let us sell the refuse of corn."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That we may buy the poor for silver,.... Thus making them pay dear for their provisions, and using them in this fraudulent manner, by which they would not be able to support themselves and their families; they might purchase them and theirs for slaves, at so small a price as a piece of silver, or a single shekel, worth about half a crown; and this was their end and design in using them after this manner; see Leviticus 25:39;
and the needy for a pair of shoes; See Gill on Amos 2:6;
yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat; not only did they sell the poor grain and wheat at a dear rate, and in scanty measure, but the worst of it, and such as was not fit to make bread of, only to be given to the cattle; and, by reducing the poor to extreme poverty, they obliged them to take that of them at their own price. It may be rendered, "the fall of wheat" (c); that which fell under the sieve, when the wheat was sifted, as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, observe.
(c) "labile frumenti", Montanus; "decidum frumenti", Cocceius; "deciduum triciti", Drusius, Mercerus, Stockius, p. 690.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. buy … poor for silver … pair of shoes—that is, that we may compel the needy for money, or any other thing of however little worth, to sell themselves to us as bondmen, in defiance of Le 25:39; the very thing which brings down God's judgment (Am 2:6).
sell the refuse of … wheat—which contains no nutriment, but which the poor eat at a low price, being unable to pay for flour.
Amos 8:6 Parallel Commentaries
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