497. Egyptian Fishing

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Isaiah 19:88The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish. (Isaiah 19:8). The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.
Reference is made in this “burden of Egypt” (see verse 1) to the Egyptian fisheries. The Egyptians consumed enormous quantities of fish, which they obtained from the teeming waters of the Nile, and of the canals which irrigated the land. So important was the traffic in fish that at one time, the royal profits from Lake Maeris alone amounted to a talent of silver a day, or about $350,000 a year. Large quantities of fish were salted; and sometimes the fish were simply dried in the sun. Two methods of Egyptian fishing are mentioned in the text.
1. Chakkah, “angle,” is rendered “hook” in Job 41:11Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? (Job 41:1). Angling was a favorite pastime with all ranks of the Egyptians. Their hooks were of bronze, and were baited with ground bait. Sometimes a short pole was used, and sometimes the fisherman held the line in his hand.
2. Mikmoreth, “nets,” was a drag-net, and is so rendered in Habakkuk 1:15-1615They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. 16Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. (Habakkuk 1:15‑16). It was of a lengthened form, having floats along one edge and weights along the other, with a rope at each end. It corresponded to our seine, and was sometimes cast by hand, the men wading out with it and dragging it back to the shore, bringing the fish with it. At other times a boat was used, the net being cast overboard as the boat was rowed along. The monuments give a number of illustrations of fishing by nets, as well as with the hook, though it is said that net-fishing is now unknown in Egypt.