For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Matthew 4:18-22; The Calling of the First Disciples (Historical Background)

Jesus told Simon Peter and Andrew that he would make them “fishers of men.”

The image there was grounded in the fisherman’s trade on the Sea of Galilee. Unlike our modern picture of a single man casting line off a flexible pole to catch a single fish, Jesus’ reference was to “net fishing” that was usually conducted in teams. Galilee fishermen in Jesus’ day typically used three types of nets to catch their prey:

A “cast net” was circular, about 25-feet in diameter, weighted this lead sinkers on the edge. It was tossed over side of a boat where it floated to the bottom like an opened parachute, trapping fish inside.

A “seine net” was long and narrow, with weights on one end and floats on the other. It would hang vertically beside the boat, one end at the surface, and the other deep into the water. Fishermen could then capture entire schools of fish by using ropes to pull the net up into a U-shape.


A “trammel net” was largest, stretching nearly 200 yards. Reinforced by three layers of netting, it was typically spread between two boats on the water. Rowing the boats forward trapped fish in the huge net. When it was full, the fishermen would simply pull up the trammel to harvest their catch.

 Matthew 4:18-22; The Calling of the First Disciples

Works Cited:


[JOB, 127]



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