This was a very strong indictment against the commercial traders in Israel. These traders trampled on the needy and ruined the poor people. They complained about the new moon and Sabbath services, since these worship services interfered with their trading activities. They wanted these services to be over so that they could continue selling their grain and wheat. They used false balances or deceptive scales, as they made the ephah smaller and the shekel greater. They would buy poor people with silver to make them slaves. They would even buy the needy people with a pair of sandals. They also sold the left-over wheat sweepings to make even more money.
Next, Amos listed all the bad behavior that the northern Israelites were involved with. They did not like any reprimanding at the city judgment gate. They did not like anyone who told the truth. They trampled the poor people, as they took away their grain. They had built beautiful stone houses, but they were not going to live in them. They had planted wonderful vineyards, but they would not drink the wine from them. Amos and Yahweh knew all about their various transgressions and how great their sins were. They took bribes, mistreated the righteous, and turned away the needy at the gate. The prudent people kept silent during this evil time.