Today, we introduce the biblical food that was very, very popular during the biblical era and is still very common today − da•gim, fish. Fish is mentioned as a prominent food both in the Old and the New Testaments. In the Bible sometimes we see the use of the word ‘da•ga,’ which is the collective noun for fish:
“We remember the fish, which we ate in Egypt for nothing; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic”
The singular form of fish is ‘dag.’
From literature about the Bible and from historical art we assume that the prophet Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Although the word, whale, appears in the Bible, in the story of Jonah it is not mentioned. Rather, we only read about a large fish:
“And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights”
The largest sea creature, the whale, is called in Hebrew Leviathan. Most English versions of the Bible did not translate this name and have kept it in its Hebrew form. Leviathan is mentioned six times in the Bible and from at least five references we can understand that this is indeed the whale and not an obscure giant creature, as some commentators assumed. Apparently it was their views that caused the English Bible texts not to translate the name as whale and preferred to leave it obscured with the Hebrew name Leviathan.
“So is this great and wide sea, where there are innumerable creeping things, living things, both small and great. There go the ships; and Leviathan which you have made to play in it”
In most New Testament mentionings, ‘dagim’ is used as human food:
“and he took the seven loaves and the fish. He gave thanks and broke them, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes”
‘Daga’ and ‘dag’ is the origin of an ancient god that was mentioned in the Bible. The Phoenicians’ national god, Dagon, was represented with the face and hands of a man and the body of a fish.
“When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it to the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon”