saying, “When will the new moon be gone,
so that we can sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
so that we can market wheat,
making the ephah small
and the shekel large,
and dealing deceitfully with false balances; Bible

“When will the new moon be gone.” The Law of Moses specified that the new moon, the beginning of each month, would be dedicated to Yahweh with special sacrifices and blowing of trumpets (Num. 10:10; 28:11-15). In time it became a feast day in which no work was done, as we see here and 2 Kings 4:23.

“false balances.” Unscrupulous merchants often kept stones of different weight in their bag or had measuring cups of slightly different sizes that only they could easily tell apart so that they bought a lot and sold a little. But that kind of dishonest dealing is an abomination to Yahweh (Lev. 19:35; Deut. 25:13-16). [For more on trading using honest balances, see commentary on Prov. 11:1].

Commentary for: Amos 8:5