The nets of the enemy (Hab 1:14-1:17)

“You have made people

Like the fish of the sea,

Like crawling things

That have no ruler.

The enemy brings

All of them up

With a hook.

He drags them out,

With his net.

He gathers them

In his seine.

Thus,

He rejoices.

He exults.

Therefore,

He sacrifices

To his net.

He makes sacrifices

To his seine.

His portion is lavish

By them.

His food is rich.

Is he then to keep on

Emptying his net?

Will he keep destroying nations

Without mercy?”

This enemy would keep devouring the people.  Yahweh has made people like fish in the sea, since they have no ruler, much like crawling things.  Thus, this enemy has a hook with a net.  He has dragged the people out of the sea, as if they were fish in a net.  He has gathered them in his seine, which is a great big net.  Thus, this enemy is happy and exulted about his big catch of humans, much like a proud fisherman.  Then, this enemy would sacrifice offerings to his big nets, because they have contributed to his lavish life style with rich food.  He has become wealthy by catching all these humans in his big fish nets.  Thus, he kept emptying his nets and catching more humans in them.  He continued to destroy nations and countries without any mercy for anyone.  His evil ways just went on and on.

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Let the earthly waters bless God (Dan 3:55-3:57)

“Bless the Lord!

You springs!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Seas!

Rivers!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

You whales!

All that swim

In the waters!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

The 3 men continued their hymn of praise. This time, they wanted the earthly waters, and all that live in them, to bless the Lord by praising and exalting him. The division of the waters was into springs, seas, and rivers, since there was never any thought of an ocean. However, the one fish that they do mention is a whale.

The good river (Ezek 47:10-47:12)

“People will stand fishing

Beside the sea,

From En-gedi

To En-eglaim.

It will be a place

For the spreading

Of nets.

Its fish will be

Of a great many kinds,

Like the fish

Of the Great Sea.

But its swamps,

With its marshes,

Will not become fresh.

They are to be left

For salt.

On the banks,

On both sides

Of the river,

There will grow

All kinds of trees

For food.

Their leaves

Will not wither.

Their fruit

Will not fail.

But they will bear

Fresh fruit

Every month,

Because the water

For them

Flows from the sanctuary.

Their fruit will be

For food.

Their leaves will be

For healing.”

This mysterious water from the Temple would mean that people could fish out on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim. All one had to do was spread fishing nets, then all kinds of wonderful fish would be caught, just like in the great Mediterranean Sea. However, the swamps and marshes would not become fresh, but they would remain salty. On both sides of this river, all kinds of trees would grow with monthly fresh fruit and perennial leaves for healing. This river coming from the sanctuary of the Temple had all these wonderful powers because of the power of Yahweh, much like other Canaanite and Mesopotamian mythical rivers.

 

No more livestock (Ezek 32:13-32:14)

“‘I will destroy

All its livestock

From beside abundant waters.

No human foot

Shall trouble them anymore.

The hoofs of the cattle

Shall not trouble them.

Then I will make

Their waters clear.

I will cause

Their streams

To run

Like oil.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh was going to destroy the Egyptian livestock. No humans or animals would be around anymore. The waters would be clear of fish. Their streams would be like polluted with oil flowing in them. Yahweh had spoken via Ezekiel.

The sea dragon in the wilderness (Ezek 29:5-29:7)

“I will fling you

Into the wilderness.

You!

With all the fish

Of your channels!

You shall fall

In the open field!

You will not be gathered.

You will not be buried.

I have given you

As food

To the animals

Of the earth,

To the birds

Of the air.

Then all the inhabitants

Of Egypt

Shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Because they were

A staff of the reed

To the house of Israel.

When they grasped you

With the hand,

You broke down.

You tore

All their shoulders.

When they leaned

On you,

You broke down.

You made

All their legs

Unsteady.”

Yahweh was going to fling this sea dragon of Pharaoh, with all his fish in the Nile River channels, into the wilderness. They would then fall into an open field, where they would not be gathered or buried. The animals of the earth and the birds of the air would then eat them as food as they lay in the open fields. Then all the inhabitants of Egypt would know that Yahweh was God. They were like a reed to the house of Israel. When they grasped this dragon and his fish with their hands, they broke down. They tore all their shoulders when they leaned on these fish. Their legs became unsteady.

The lack of a response (Isa 50:2-50:3)

“Why was no one there,

When I came?

When I called,

Why did no one answer me?

Is my hand shortened,

So that it cannot redeem?

Have I no power to deliver?

By my rebuke,

I dry up the sea.

I make the rivers a desert.

Their fish stink

For lack of water.

They die of thirst.

I clothe the heavens

With blackness.

I make sackcloth their covering.”

Second Isaiah continues with this rebuke of Yahweh. Why was no one there to greet him when he came? Why was no one listening to him when he called? Is he no longer capable of redeeming them? Has he lost his power? After all, he dries up the seas and turns the rivers into deserts. Their fish would stink and die because of a lack of water. He could command the heavens to turn black and put on sackcloth.

Life is a game of chance (Eccl 9:11-9:12)

“Again I saw that under the sun.

The race is not to the swift.

Nor is the battle to the strong.

Nor is bread to the wise.

Nor is riches to the intelligent.

Nor is favor to the skillful.

But time happens to them all.

Chance happens to them all.

No one can anticipate

The time of disaster.

Like fish taken in a cruel net,

Like birds caught in a snare,

So mortals are snared

At a time of calamity.

When it suddenly falls upon them.”

Qoheleth sees human life under the sun like a game of chance. The swiftest runner does not always win the race. The strongest do not always win the battle. The wise do not always have the best food. The intelligent are not always rich. The skillful do not always succeed. Time and chance play a role. No one can predict when disaster will come. Just as fish and birds get stuck in nets and snares, so too mortals get caught when calamity suddenly happens to them.