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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The Scripture contains several allusions to this mode of taking fish. The first of these occurs as early as the time of Job—Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook; or his tongue [palate, which is usually pierced by the hook] with a cord [line], which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook into his nose, or bore his jaw through with a thorn (Job 41:1-2). This last phrase obviously refers to the thorns which were sometimes used as hooks, and which are long after mentioned (Amos 4:2), in the Authorized Version 'fish-hooks,' literally, the thorns of fishing.


Fig. 37—Fishing

Of the various passages relating to this subject, the most remarkable is that which records, as an important part of the 'burden of Egypt,' that 'the fishers also shall mourn; and all they that cast angle [the hook] into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish' (Isaiah 19:8). In this poetical description of a part of the calamities which were to befall Egypt, we are furnished with an account of the various modes of fishing practiced in that country, which is in exact conformity with the scenes depicted in the old tombs of Egypt. Angling appears to have been regarded chiefly as an amusement, in which the Egyptians of all ranks found much enjoyment. Not content with the abundance afforded by the Nile, they constructed within their ground spacious sluices or ponds for fish (Isaiah 19:10), where they fed them for the table, where they amused themselves by angling, and by the dexterous use of the bident. These favorite occupations were not confined to young persons, nor thought unworthy of men of serious habits; and an Egyptian of consequence is frequently represented in the sculptures catching fish in a canal or lake, with the line, or spearing them as they glided past the bank. Sometimes the angler posted himself in a shady spot at the water's edge, and having ordered his servant to spread a mat upon the ground, he sat upon it as he threw the line; and some, with higher notions of comfort, used a chair for the same purpose. The rod was short, and apparently of one piece: the line usually single, though instances occur of a double line, each furnished with its own hook. The fishermen generally used the net in preference to the line, but on some occasions they used the latter, seated or standing on the bank. It is, however, probable that there were people who could not afford the expense of nets; and the use of the line is generally confined in like manner at the present day to the poorer classes, who depend upon skill or good fortune for their subsistence.

This last was doubtless the state of many in ancient Palestine, and probably furnished the only case in which angling was there practiced, as we find no instance of it for mere amusement. The fish caught in the lake of Tiberias were, some time since, taken exclusively with the rod and line, in the absence of boats upon that water; and probably this is the case still. The Egyptian hooks were of bronze, as appears from the specimens that have been found. Insects, natural or artificial, were not used in angling, ground bait being exclusively employed: and the float does not appear to have been known.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Angling'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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