Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! ‘When will the new moon be over,’ you ask, ‘that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!’ The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Never will I forget a thing they have done!'”
This was the First Reading at Mass this morning on the theme of the day: socio-economic justice. I always read this Bible passage as a general attack on the exploitation of the poor and so it is. But it’s worth examining exactly what’s going on here. Diminishing the ephah and adding to the shekel is pretty straightforward: It’s evil to cheat the poor. But buying the lowly for silver the the poor for a pair of sandals hit me because it speaks to the morality of living wages and paying people below them.