Saturday, March 31, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: sa-GAY-nay
Strong’s Number: 4522
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 4880
Key Verse: “The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea …” -- Matthew 13:47

There are three different Greek words that are translated “net” in the New Testament. The first is dictuon, which is the most common word for “net.” In the Septuagint, it was used for a net for catching birds (Proverbs 1:17), and figuratively of a snare (Job 18:8 and Proverbs 29:5). It was used by Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 4:20-21); it was let down (Luke 5:4) or cast (John 21:6) in the water, emptied into a boat (Luke 5:7), or dragged to shore (John 21:8).

The second word is amphiblestron, meaning literally to “cast around.” It was a somewhat small fishing net, cast over the shoulder, spreading out in a circle and made to sink by weights. This was also a casting net used by Jesus' disciples (Matthew 4:18).

The third word is sagene. It appears only once in the New Testament. It is derived from a word meaning “to equip,” as in “furniture,” especially a pack saddle, which in the East is merely a bag of netted rope. The Greek historian Herodotus uses the corresponding verb for a device by which the Persians are said to have cleared a conquered island of its inhabitants. This net may have been ½ mile long. When cast, this net spreads out into a circle as it falls on the water. Its purpose was to capture everything that came within its path, and it required several boats to draw this large net from sea to shore. There, the fishermen sorted the fish.

Thus, Jesus’ use of this word in the MATTHEW 13:47 parable to describe the wide and all-embracing character of His future kingdom is very appropriate. Neither of the first two words would have been as suitable. This sorting represents the angelic separation of the wicked from the righteous at the end of the Age. This separation will occur when Jesus Christ returns to establish His kingdom on earth.

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