|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:1-17 God shall come into Egypt with his judgments. He will raise up the causes of their destruction from among themselves. When ungodly men escape danger, they are apt to think themselves secure; but evil pursues sinners, and will speedily overtake them, except they repent. The Egyptians will be given over into the hand of one who shall rule them with rigour, as was shortly after fulfilled. The Egyptians were renowned for wisdom and science; yet the Lord would give them up to their own perverse schemes, and to quarrel, till their land would be brought by their contests to become an object of contempt and pity. He renders sinners afraid of those whom they have despised and oppressed; and the Lord of hosts will make the workers of iniquity a terror to themselves, and to each other; and every object around a terror to them.
Verse 8. - The fishers also shall mourn. The fisherman's trade was extensively practiced in ancient Egypt, and anything which interfered with it would necessarily be regarded as a great calamity. A large class supported itself by the capture and sale of fish fresh or salted. The Nile produced great abundance of fish, both in its main stream and in its canals and backwaters. Lake Moeris also provided an extensive supply (Herod., 2:149). All they that east angle into the brooks; rather, into the river. Fishing with a hook was practiced in Egypt, though not very widely, except as an amusement by the rich. Actual hooks have been found, not very different from modern ones (Rawlinson, 'History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 506), and representations of angling occur in some of the tombs. Sometimes a line only is used, sometimes a rod and line (see Rawlinson, 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. pp. 101, 103, 2nd edit.). They that spread nets. Nets were very much more widely employed than lines and hooks. Ordinarily a dragnet was used; but sometimes small fry were taken in the shallows by means of a double-handled landing-net (ibid., p. 108, note 2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The fishers also shall mourn,.... Because there will be no fish to catch, the waters of the river being dried up, and so will have none to sell, and nothing to support themselves and families with; and this must also affect the people in general, fish being the common food they lived upon, see Numbers 11:5, not only because of the great plenty there usually was, but because they killed and ate but very few living creatures, through a superstitious regard unto them; though Herodotus says (h) the Egyptian priests might not taste of fishes, yet the common people might; for, according to that historian (i), when the river Nile flowed out of the lake of Moeris, a talent of silver every day was brought into the king's treasury, arising from the profit of fish; and when it flowed in, twenty pounds; nay, he expressly says (k), that some of them live upon fish only, gutted, and dried with the sun:
and all they that cast angle, or hook,
into the brooks shall lament; which describes one sort of fishermen, and way of catching fishes, with the angle and hook, as the following clause describes another sort:
and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish; be dispirited and enfeebled for want of trade and subsistence, and with grief and horror.
(h) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 37. (i) Ibid. c. 149. (k) Ibid. c. 92.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. fishers—The Nile was famed for fish (Nu 11:5); many would be thrown out of employment by the failure of fishes.
angle—a hook. Used in the "brooks" or canals, as the "net" was in "the waters" of the river itself.
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