The Life of Jesus in Harmony
FISHING. Fisherman. One who catches fish for food.
Both amateur and professional fishermen existed in Bible times.
This trade has always been an industry pursued by a large number of people in
Palestine. They are exceedingly fond of fish and pay double to triple the price
for it that they do for meat.
Several methods of taking fish are mentioned in the Bible:
(1) Angling with a hook, also called casting a line (Is 19:8; Hab 1:15; Job
41:1; Amos 4:2).
(2) Spearing (Job 41:7). In this passage the reference is to the Leviathan,
but it is included under the generic idea of fish as conceived by the Hebrew
mind, i.e., a creature living more or less in the water.
(3) Netting. They used the cast net (<Ezek 26:5,14; 32:3; 47:10; Hab 1:15,17;
Mic 7:2; Eccl 7:26; Mt 4:18-21; Mk 1:16-19>; etc.). This consists of a net with
fine mesh and of a circular form, about
fifteen feet in diameter. The margin is loaded with leaden sinkers. To the
center of the net is attached a long piece of fishline. This is held in the left
hand, while the net, which has been previously gathered up in the right, is
cast by a broad sweep of the arm over an area of the shallow water close to the
shore, where the fisherman has previously observed a school of fish. The center
of the net is now drawn up by means of the cord, and the fisherman wades into
the water and secures the catch. The seine is also used. Half of it is loaded
into one boat and the other half in another, and the boats then separate, playing
out the net as they go and enclosing a vast area of the water. When all the net
has been played out the boats draw it toward the shore and land the ends of
the net. The two crews then commence to draw in their respective ends, thus
enclosing the fish and gradually landing them (Mt 13:48. At other times the two
boats enclose a circle in the water and draw the fish into the boats (Lk 5:4-9).
Four of Christ's twelve disciples were fishermen. Christ
promised them that they should become fishers of men (Mk 1:17; etc.)