Fowlers, or bird catchers, were common in biblical times. They provided birds as food, caged pets, and sacrifices. Fowling was also considered a sport, and a source of amusement.
Because fowlers often hunted birds by capturing them in traps, the word is sometimes used in scripture as a warning of danger. The psalmist wrote “We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers.” (Psalm 124:7) Proverbs 6:5 advises a youth to ‘save yourself [from temptation]…like a bird from the hand of the fowler.’
The passage recited from Jeremiah compares those who exploit others to gain wealth with fowlers who snare edible fowl beyond their needs. (The illustrated Dictionary of life in Bible Times, p. 144) “For scoundrels are found among my people; they take over the goods of others. Like fowlers, they set a trap; they catch human beings.” Jeremiah 5:26,27.
Psalm 124:7 (KJV): Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.” And verse 8: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This entire Psalm is a psalm of deliverance.
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, p. 610, note c) Three outstanding facts which are clear in such an escape:
1. Our personal weakness. (i.e. Israel)
2. The power of our enemies.
3. The miraculous power of God!
(note d) The snare is broken. “How like God this is, who always makes a way of escape from temptation or trouble in plenty of time for us to be able to bear it, and still know that it has been a miraculous deliverance.” (Psalm 91; 1 Corinthians 10:13-14)
Psalm 91:3: “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence…: (Psalm 141, 142-deliverance from snares.)
According to the psalmist, anyone who trusts in God has nothing to fear from the hazards of life, as symbolized by the cunning snares and traps used by catchers of birds. The snare of a fowler often consisted of a net arranged in such a way that when a bird, or other small animal took the bait (and how often we do!) the net would fall and capture it.
Another kind of snare was a rope noose, which caught its prey by its feet, or fell from above and caught the bird or mammal by the neck. Larger animals were trapped when they fell into a concealed hole in the ground.
The wiles (strategies) of Satan are frequently referred to in scripture as a snare. (1 Timothy 3:7)
See also: Psalm 91:3, Hosea 9:8