Amos 8:4-7

Amos 8:4-7
Ordinary C43


HearA this, you who trampleB on the needy,C

Notes on verse 4a

A “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
B “trample” = sha’aph. 14x in OT. This is to pant, long for, trample, crush, to rise as the sun, to hurry. It can refer to gasping as a woman in labor does or gasping from desire. It can also imply anger.
C “needy” = ebyon. From abah (to consent, obey, want, yield, accept). This is needy, poor, beggar. Someone who is wanting.

    and bring to ruinD the poorE of the land,F

Notes on verse 4b

D “bring to ruin” = shabat. This is to rest, stop, repose, cease working. By implication, it is to celebrate.
E “poor” = anav + ani. Anav is from anah (to be bowed down; can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek. Ani is related to “poor” in v4.  From anah (see above). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.
F “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

saying, “When will the new moonG be overH
    so that we may sellI grain,J

Notes on verse 5a

G “new moon” = chodesh. From chadash (to renew, repair). This refers to a new moon. It can also mean monthly.
H “be over” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
I “sell” = shabar. From sheber (corn, grain). This is to trade in grain, whether to buy or sell.
J “grain” = sheber. Related to “sell” in v5. 9x in OT. See note I above.

and the Sabbath,K
    so that we may offer wheatL for sale?M

Notes on verse 5b

K “Shabbath” = shabbat. Related to “bring to ruin” in v4. From shabat (see note D above). This is sabbath, literally meaning rest or intermission.
L “wheat” = bar. 14x in OT. From barar (to select, polish, cleanse, brighten, purify). This is something that is winnowed so any kind of grain, whether in the field or harvested. It can be corn, wheat, or other grains. This can also refer to a field or the open country.
M “offer…for sale” = pathach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.

We will make the ephahN smallerO and the shekelP heavierQ

Notes on verse 5c

N “ephah” = ephah. Perhaps from Egptian ipet (“a dry measure of volume equivalent to…about 19.2 litres”). This is an ephah – specifically, a measure for flour or grain. It can also be used ore generally to refer to a measure. See
O “make…smaller” = qaton. 4x in OT. Perhaps from qatan (least, small, young, littlfe one; it is literally smaller whether in amount or size; figuratively smaller in the sense of younger or less important); from qut (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is to be small, diminished, insignificant, or unworthy.
P “shekel” = sheqel. From shaqal (to weigh, spend, trade). This is shekel or sheqel. It is a unit of weight, generally used in trade.
Q “heavier” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.

    and practice deceitR with falseS balances,T
buyingU the poorV for silverW

Notes on verses 5d-6a

R “practice deceit” = avat. 11x in OT. This is to be crooked, falsify, pervert, thwart, turn upside down, overthrow.
S “false” = mirmah. From ramah (to betray, deceive, beguile). This is deceit, treachery, guile, or fraud
T “balances” = mozen. 15x in OT. From azan (to weigh, prove, ponder, test). This is balances or scales.
U “buying” = qanah. This is to acquire, create, purchase, own. Its root may mean to smith or to produce.
V “poor” = dal. From dalal (to be low, hang, fade, be emptied, become poor, be oppressed). This is lean, weak, needy, poor. Properly, it is one who is dangling.
W “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.

    and the needy forX a pair of sandalsY
    and selling the sweepingsZ of the wheat.”

Notes on verse 6b

X “for” = abur. Related to “be over” in v5. From abar (see note H above). This is for, so that, on account of. Properly, it means crossed.
Y “pair of sandals” = naal. From naal (properly to secure with a bar or cord; to lock, bolt, enclose; to secure with a cord i.e. to put on a sandal). This is the tongue of a sandal and, by extension, a sandal or shoe itself. Figuratively, this can refer to occupancy, unwillingness to marry, or something without value.
Z “sweepings” = mappal. 2x in OT. From naphal (to fall, literal or figurative; death, calamity, wasting away). This is something that falls off- refuse, a thing that hangs, a fold.

The LordAA has swornBB by the prideCC of Jacob:DD

Notes on verse 7a

AA “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
BB “has sworn” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
CC “pride” = ga’own. From the same as ga’avah (majesty, excellency, pride, arrogance, ornament); from gaah (to rise up, be exalted, triumph; figuratively, be majestic). This is majesty, pride, redemption, pomp, excellency, swelling, or arrogance.
DD “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.

Surely I will neverEE forgetFF anyGG of their deeds.HH

Notes on verse 7b

EE “never” = netsach. From natsach (something that glitters from a distance or stands out, excels, has status/standing; also to be permanent or enduring). This is properly a goal or destination as the bright focus to which one journeys. It can be splendor, truthfulness, or confidence. Most often, it refers to everlastingness, always, continually.
FF “forget” = shakach. This is to forget because of not remembering something or not paying attention to it. It can also mean to mislay.
GG “any” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
HH “deeds” = ma’aseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.

Image credit: “Weighing Scale for Gold” from the Akan people in the 19th century – from the Ivory Coast, Togo, or Ghana. Photo by Roger Culos, 2014.

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