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Amos 8:4 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Hear this, ye that pant after the needy, even to cause to fail the poor of the land,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Hear this, ye who pant after the needy, and to make an end of the oppressed of the land:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Hear this, ye who are swallowing up the needy, To cause to cease the poor of the land,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Hear this, you that crush the poor, and make the needy of the land to fail,
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Heare this, O ye that swallow vp the needy, euen to make the poore of the land to faile,
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Hear now this, ye that oppress the poor in the morning, and drive the needy ones by tyranny from the earth,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Hear 8085
{8085} Prime
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
this, x2063
(2063) Complement
Irregular feminine of H2089; this (often used adverbially).
O ye that swallow up 7602
{7602} Prime
A primitive root; to inhale eagerly; figuratively to covet; by implication to be angry; also to hasten.
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
the needy, 34
{0034} Prime
From H0014, in the sense of want (especially in feeling); destitute.
even to make y7673
[7673] Standard
A primitive root; to repose, that is, desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causatively, figuratively or specifically).
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
the poor 6041
{6041} Prime
From H6031; depressed, in mind or circumstances (practically the same as H6035 subjectively and H6041 objectively).
<8675> Grammar
Kethiv Reading

Where the translators of the Authorised Version followed the qere reading rather than the kethiv.
[6035] Standard
The second form is by intermixture with H6041; from H6031; depressed (figuratively), in mind (gentle) or circumstances (needy, especially saintly).
of the land 776
{0776} Prime
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
to fail, 7673
{7673} Prime
A primitive root; to repose, that is, desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causatively, figuratively or specifically).
<8687> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 1162
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Amos 8:4

_ _ 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” (Isaiah 5:8).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Amos 8:4-10

_ _ God is here contending with proud oppressors, and showing them,

_ _ I. The heinousness of the sin they were guilty of; in short, they had the character of the unjust judge (Luke 18:2) that neither feared God nor regarded man.

_ _ 1. Observe them in their devotions, and you will say, “They had no reverence for God.” Bad as they are, they do indeed keep up a show and form of godliness; they observe the sabbath and the new moon; they put some difference between those days and other days, but they were soon weary of them, and had no affection at all to them, for their hearts were wholly set upon the world and the things of it. It is a sad character which this gives of them, that they said, When will the sabbath be gone, that we may sell corn? Yet is still the character of many that are called Christians. (1.) They were weary of sabbath days. “When will they be gone?” They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new-moons, and wished them over because they might do no servile work therein. They were weary of the work or business of the sabbaths and new-moons, snuffed at it (Malachi 1:13), and were, as Doeg, detained before the Lord (1 Samuel 21:7); they would rather have been any where else than about God's altars. Note, Sabbath days and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts, that are always afraid of doing too much for God and eternity. Can we spend our time better than in communication with God? And how much time do we spend pleasantly with the world? Will not the sabbath be gone before we have done the work of it and reaped the gains of it? Why then should we be in such haste to part with it? (2.) They were fond of market-days: they longed to be selling corn and setting forth wheat. When they were employed in religious services they were thinking of their marketings; their hearts went after their covetousness (Ezekiel 33:31), and thus made my Father's house a house of merchandise, nay, a den of thieves. They were weary of holy duties because their worldly business stood still the while; in this they were as in their element, but in God's sanctuary as a fish upon dry ground. Note, Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, that love market days better than sabbath days, that would rather be selling corn than worshipping God.

_ _ 2. Observe them in their conversations, and you will see they have no regard to man; and this commonly follows upon the former; those that have lost the savour of piety will not long retain the sense of common honesty. They neither do justly nor love mercy. (1.) They cheat those they deal with. When they sell their corn they impose upon the buyer, both in giving out the goods and in receiving the money for them. They measure him the corn by their own measure, and pretend to give him what he agreed for, but they make the ephah small. The measure is scanty, and not statute-measure, and so they wrong him that way. When they receive his money they must weigh fit in their own scales, by their own weights, and the shekel they weigh by is above standard: They make the shekel great, so that the money, being found too light, must have more added to it; and so they cheat that way too, and this under colour and pretence of exactness in doing justice. By such wicked practices as these men show such a greediness of the world, such a love of themselves, such a contempt of mankind in general, of the particular persons they deal with, and of the sacred laws of justice, as prove them to have in their hearts neither the fear nor the love of that God who has so plainly said that false weights and balances are an abomination to him. Another instance of their fraudulent dealing is that they sell the refuse of the wheat, and, taking advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or necessity, make them take it at the same price at which they sell the finest of the wheat. (2.) The are barbarous and unmerciful to the poor: They swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land to fail. [1.] They valued themselves so much on their wealth that they looked upon all that were poor with the highest contempt imaginable; they hated them, could not endure them, but abandoned them, and therefore did what they could to make them cease, not by relieving them to make them cease to be poor, but by banishing and destroying them to make them cease to be, or at least to be in their land. But he who thus reproaches the poor despises his Maker, in whose hands rich and poor meet together. [2.] They were so eager to increase their wealth, and make it more, that they robbed the poor to enrich themselves; and they fastened upon the poor, to make a prey of them, because they were not able to obtain any redress nor to resist or revenge the violence of their oppressors. Those riches that are got by the ruin of the poor will bring ruin on those that get them. They swallowed up the poor by making them hard bargains, and cheating them in those bargains; for therefore they falsify the balances by deceit, not only that they may enrich themselves, may have money at command, and so may have every thing else (as they think) at command too, but that they may impoverish those about them, and bring them so low that they may force them to become slaves to them, and so, having drained them of every thing else, they may have their labour for nothing, or next to nothing. Thus they buy the poor for silver; they bring them and their children into bondage, because they have not wherewithal to pay for the corn they have bought; see Nehemiah 5:2-5. And there were so many that they were reduced to this extremity that the price was very low; and the oppressors had beaten it down so that you might buy a poor man to be your slave for a pair of shoes. Property was first invaded and then liberty; it is the method of oppressors first to make men beggars and then to make them their vassals. Thus is the dignity of the human nature lost in the misery of those that are trampled on and the tenderness of it in the sin of those that trample on them.

_ _ II. The grievousness of the punishment that shall be inflicted on them for this sin. When the poor are injured they will cry unto God, and he will hear their cry, and reckon with those that are injurious to them, for, they being his receivers, he takes the wrongs done to them as done to himself, Exodus 22:23, Exodus 22:24.

_ _ 1. God will remember their sin against them: He has sworn by the excellency of Jacob (Amos 8:7), by himself, for he can swear by no greater; and who but he is the glory and magnificence of Jacob? He has sworn by those tokens of his presence with them, and his favour to them, which they had profaned and abused, and had done what they could to make them detestable to him; for he is said (Amos 6:8) to abhor the excellency of Jacob. He swears in his wrath, swears by his own name, that name which was so well known and was so great in Israel. He swears, Surely I will never forget any of their works, but upon all occasions they shall be remembered against them, for more is implied than is expressed. I will never forget them is as much as to say, I will never forgive them; and then it proclaims the case of these unjust unmerciful men to be miserable indeed, eternally miserable; woe, and a thousand woes, to that man that is cut off by an oath of God from all benefit by pardoning mercy; and those have reason to fear judgment without mercy that have shown no mercy.

_ _ 2. He will bring utter ruin and confusion upon them. It is here described largely, and in a great variety of emphatic expressions, that, if possible, they might be frightened into a sincere repentance and reformation. (1.) There shall be a universal terror and consternation: Shall not the land tremble for this (Amos 8:8), this land, out of which you thought to drive the poor? Shall not every one mourn that dwells therein? Certainly he shall. Note, Those that will not tremble and mourn as they ought for national sins shall be made to tremble and mourn for national judgments; those that look without concern upon the sins of the oppressors, which should make them tremble, and upon the miseries of the oppressed, which should them mourn, God will find out a way to make them tremble at the fury of those that oppress them and mourn for their own losses and sufferings by it. (2.) There shall be a universal deluge and desolation. When God comes forth against them the waters of trouble and calamity shall rise up wholly as a flood, that swells, when it is dammed up, and soon overflows its banks. Every thing shall make against them. That with which they thought to check the progress of God's judgments shall but make them rise the higher. Judgments shall force their way as the breaking forth of waters. The whole land shall be cast out, and drowned, and laid under water, as the land of Egypt is every year by the overflowing of its river Nile. Or the expressions may allude to some former judgments of God. Their ruin shall rise up wholly as a flood, as Noah's flood, which overwhelmed the whole world, so shall this the whole land; and the land shall be cast out, and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt, as Pharaoh and his Egyptians were buried in the Red Sea, which was to them the flood of Egypt, both which judgments, as this which is here threatened, were the punishment of violence and oppression, which the Lord is the avenger of.

_ _ 3. It shall surprise them, and come upon them when they little think of it (Amos 8:9): “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, when it is in its full strength and lustre, at their noon, when they promise themselves a long afternoon, and think they have at least half a day good before them. The earth shall be darkened in the clear day, when every thing looks pleasant and hopeful.” Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; the highest degree of health and prosperity often proves the next degree to sickness and adversity; Job's sun went down at noon; many are taken away in the midst of their days, and their sun goes down at noon. In the midst of life we are in death. Thus terrible are the judgments of God to those that sleep in security; they are to them as the sun's going down at noon; the less they are expected the more confounding they are. When they cry Peace and safety then sudden destruction comes, comes as a snare, Luke 21:35.

_ _ 4. It shall change their note, and mar all their mirth (Amos 8:10): I will turn your feasts into mourning, as (Amos 8:3) the songs of the temple into howlings. Note, The end of the sinner's mirth and jollity is heaviness. As to the upright there arises light in the darkness, which gives them the oil of joy for mourning, so on the wicked their falls darkness in the midst of light, which turns their laughter into mourning, their joy into heaviness. So great, so general, shall the desolation be, that sackcloth shall be brought upon all loins, and baldness upon every head, instead of the well-set hair and the rich garments they used to wear. The mourning at that day shall be as mourning for an only son, which denotes the most bitter and lasting lamentation. But are there are no hopes that when things are at the worst they will mend, and that at evening time it will yet be light? No, even the end thereof shall be as a bitter day, a day of bitter mourning; that state of impenitent sinners grows worse and worse, and the last of all will be the worst of all. This shall you have at my hand, you shall lie down in sorrow.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Amos 8:4

To fail — Either to root them out, or to enslave them.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Amos 8:4

Hear this, O ye that (c) swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,

(c) By stopping the sale of food and necessary things which you have gotten into your own hands, and so cause the poor to spend quickly that little that they have, and at length because of need to become your slaves.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Amos 7:16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not [thy word] against the house of Isaac.
1 Kings 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which [is] in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
Jeremiah 28:15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.


Amos 2:6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;
Amos 5:11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading [is] upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.
Psalms 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set [him] in safety [from him that] puffeth at him.
Psalms 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people [as] they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
Psalms 56:1 [[To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.]] Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, [and] the right of the poor.
Proverbs 30:14 [There is] a generation, whose teeth [are as] swords, and their jaw teeth [as] knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from [among] men.
Isaiah 32:6-7 For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. ... The instruments also of the churl [are] evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
James 5:6 Ye have condemned [and] killed the just; [and] he doth not resist you.
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1K 22:19. Ps 12:5; 14:4; 56:1; 140:12. Pv 30:14. Is 1:10; 28:14; 32:6. Jr 5:21; 28:15. Am 2:6; 5:11; 7:16. Mt 23:14. Jm 5:6.

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