he hauls them in with his throw net. 2
When he catches 3 them in his dragnet,
he is very happy. 4
and burns incense to his dragnet; 6
for because of them he has plenty of food, 7
and more than enough to eat. 8
1 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Babylonian tyrant) has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. NASB “The Chaldeans”; NIV “The wicked foe”; NRSV “The enemy”). Babylonian imperialism is here compared to a professional fisherman who repeatedly brings in his catch and has plenty to eat.
2 tn Apparently two different types of fishing nets are referred to here. The חֵרֶם (kherem, “throw net”) was used by fishermen standing on the shore (see Ezek 47:10), while the מִכְמֶרֶת (mikhmeret, “dragnet”) was used by men in a boat. See R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (WEC), 165.
3 tn Heb “and he gathers.”
4 tn Heb “Therefore he is happy and rejoices.” Here two synonyms are joined for emphasis.
5 tn Heb “therefore.”
6 sn The fishing implements (throw net and dragnet) represent Babylonian military might. The prophet depicts the Babylonians as arrogantly worshiping their own power (sacrifices…burns incense, see also v. 11b).
7 tn Heb “for by them his portion is full [or, “fat”].”
8 tn Heb “and his food is plentiful [or, “fat”].”