A net that was dragged along the bottom of a body of water to catch fish. (Eze 26:5, 14; 47:10) In ancient Egypt, dragnets were made of flax cords and were equipped with lead weights at the bottom and wooden floats at the top. Likely those used by the Israelites were similar.
The methods of dragnet fishing used anciently were probably much like those employed in the Middle East in more recent times. The dragnet was let down from boats in such a way as to surround a school of fish, and the long ropes attached to the opposite ends of the net were taken ashore, where several men on each rope gradually pulled the net as a semicircle to the beach. (Mt 13:47, 48) Another method was to draw the net together in a narrowing circle. Fishermen then dived into the water and pulled a portion of the weighted edge under the rest of the net, thus forming a bottom. After this, the net was drawn into a boat or boats. (Lu 5:6, 7) Sometimes the net was first dragged into shallower water before being emptied.—Compare Joh 21:8, 11.
In the Scriptures, the dragnet is used figuratively with reference to the gathering of people. (Mt 13:47, 48) It is also used to depict the heart of an immoral woman (Ec 7:26) as well as schemes to ensnare others. (Mic 7:2) Also, military conquest is likened to fishing with a dragnet.—Hab 1:15-17.