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Reference: Fish, Fisher


The Hebrews have very few names of particular species of fish. Moses says in general, that all sorts of river, lake, or sea fish, which have scales and fins, may be eaten; all others shall be to the Hebrews an abomination, Le 11:9-12; De 14:9-10. The Nile had an early celebrity, which it still retains, for the abundance and excellence of its fish, Ex 7:18-21; Nu 11:5. The Sea of Tiberias also still abounds in fish, Lu 5:5; Joh 21:6-11. They were a common article of food among the Jews, Mt 7:10, and were obtained from the Mediterranean, Ne 13:16, and from the Jordan. They were caught with hooks, Am 4:2, spears, Job 41:7, and nets, Isa 19:8-10. The "great fish," Jon 1:17, which swallowed Jonah, may have been of the shark genus, as this animal is common in the Mediterranean. The original word, both in Hebrew and Greek, Mt 12:40, means a fish, and not specifically a "whale." See WHALE. Fishermen are often spoken of in the Bible, and a large proportion of the twelve apostles of our Lord were of that occupation. Christ made them "fishers of men," Mt 4:18-22.

The early Christians, in times of persecution, used to engrave the form of a fish on their medals, seals, and tombs, as a tacit confession of their faith; as the five letters of the Greek word for fish are the initial letters of five words, signifying "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior." This symbol has thus become the subject of a superstitious regard.

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