Therefore they sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
The word "drag" simply means a large fishing net. The bold metaphor of the text is that of a fisherman whose mind is so overborne by the large draughts of fish which he is continually taking that he begins actually to worship those nets which are the instruments of such wonderful success. The prophet is portraying the condition of the Babylonian Empire. It had been swallowing up the smaller nations. Puffed up by its military successes, it had sunk into a condition of practical atheism. They came to worship the resources which they had at their disposal. They paid homage to material power. In answer to his prayer the prophet receives a vision of judgment. Haughty, idolatrous Babylon will not continue for ever. They worshipped the net; they would be captured by the net of another military empire. The sin of man keeps repeating itself throughout the ages. Notwithstanding all the lessons of the past, there are still multitudes who forget the living God. They seek their own gratification and aggrandisement. When they are successful they are puffed up with pride. They boast themselves of the means and methods which have been the instruments of their success. Let us be thankful that the righteousness of God keeps repeating itself too. The principles of the Divine government are eternal. God was in the history of old Judaea and Assyria, but He is also in the history of every nation of modern Europe. His providence must not be left out of human calculations. Have we in England learnt the lesson that only "righteousness" can really and permanently exalt any nation? How prone are we to magnify the instruments of our national greatness! We worship rank, wealth, intellect, business. But God is not mocked, and in many ways He breaks men's idols before their eyes.
(T. Campbell Finlayson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.