[He is] a merchant
Here is a change of person from "thou" to "he", from Judah to Ephraim, who is said to be a "merchant"; and if that was all, there is nothing worthy of dispraise in it; but he was a cheating merchant, a fraudulent dealer, as appears by what follows: or he is Canaan, or a Canaanite F25; more like a descendant of Canaan, by his manners, than a descendant of Jacob. But the Canaanites dealing much in merchandise, their name became a common name for a merchant, as a Chaldean for an astrologer; and as the children of Israel possessed their land, so they followed the same business and employment of life; which, had they performed honestly, would not have been to their discredit; but they were too much like the Canaanites, of whom Philostratus F26 says, they were covetous and fraudulent; and this was Ephraim's character. The Targum is,
``be you not as merchants;''the balances of deceit [are] in his hand;
he used false weights and measures; made the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsified the balances by deceit; had wicked balances, and deceitful weights, and the scant measure, which is abominable, ( Amos 8:5 ) ( Micah 6:10 Micah 6:11 ) ; they pretended to weigh everything exactly they bought or sold; but cheated either by sleight or hand, holding the balances as they should not; or had one pair of scales and weights to buy with, and another to sell by, contrary to the law of God, ( Leviticus 19:35 Leviticus 19:36 ) ; he loveth to oppress;
instead of keeping and doing mercy and justice, they oppressed the poor, ground their faces, defrauded them of their due, and by secret and private methods cheated them in their dealings with them, and brought them to poverty and distress; and this they took delight and pleasure in, which showed a want of a principle of honesty in them, and that they were habituated to such a course of life, and were hardened in it, and had no remorse of conscience for it, but rather gloried in it.
F25 (Nenk) (canaan) , Sept. "Chanaan", V. L. Tigurine version; "Chanauaeum" refers, Munster.
F26 Apud Grotium in loc.