The Hebrews recognized fish as one of the great divisions of the animal kingdom, and as such gave them a place in the account of the creation, (Genesis 1:21,28) as well as in other passages where an exhaustive description of living creatures is intended. (Genesis 9:2; Exodus 20:4; 4:18; 1 Kings 4:33) The Mosaic law, (Leviticus 11:9,10) pronounced unclean such fish as were devoid of fins and scales; these were and are regarded as unwholesome in Egypt. Among the Philistines Dagon was represented by a figure half man and half fish. (1 Samuel 5:4) On this account the worship of fish is expressly prohibited. (4:18) In Palestine, the Sea of Galilee was and still is remarkable well stored with fish. (Tristram speaks of fourteen species found there, and thinks the number inhabiting it at least three times as great.) Jerusalem derived its supply chiefly from the Mediterranean. Comp. (Ezekiel 47:10) The existence of a regular fish-market is implied in the notice of the fish-gate, which was probably contiguous to it. (2 Chronicles 33:14; Nehemiah 3:3; 12:39; Zephaniah 1:10) The Orientals are exceedingly fond of fish as an article of diet. Numerous allusions to the art of fishing occur in the Bible. The most usual method of catching fish was by the use of the net, either the casting net, (Ezekiel 26:5,14; 47:10); Habb 1:15 Probably resembling the one used in Egypt, as shown in Wilkinson (iii. 55), or the draw or drag net, (Isaiah 19:8); Habb 1:15 Which was larger, and required the use of a boat. The latter was probably most used on the Sea of Galilee, as the number of boats kept on it was very considerable.
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