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Monday, August 27 2012

The Lot

The English word "lot" (plural "lots") has a variety of meanings. From The WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University:

  • "a large number or amount or extent"

  • "a parcel of land having fixed boundaries"

  • "an unofficial association of people or groups"

  • "your overall circumstances or condition in life"

  • "anything taken or chosen at random"

  • "any collection in its entirety"

In most cases, the English word "lots" was used to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced go-rawl, which literally means rough, but is used to refer to a small, hand-held stone, or pebble. "Casting lots" was sometimes used by the people of God to determine the will of the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?), as a matter of fairness, based on equal opportunity (if, all other things being equal) random selection e.g. the tribal land "lottery," as described below. It wasn't something that the people invented for themselves; the LORD Himself told them to do it, for certain things. One of the most well-known is the casting of lots for the two goats for the Day of Atonement (see The Saviour And The Scapegoat).

"16:7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat [see Sending Away The Escapades Goat].

16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness." (Leviticus 16:7-10 KJV)

"They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture"

"Casting lots" was used by Joshua (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua) to determine the tribal territories west of the Jordan River (see also Why East And West Manasseh?). The actual Hebrew word, translated here as "cast," is shaw-lawk, which means to throw.

Tribal Map

"18:9 And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh. 18:10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions." (Joshua 18:9-10 KJV)

In answer to a request to the LORD, Saul (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Saul and David and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War) determined by casting lots that his son Jonathan was the man that he was searching for. The word translated as "cast" here is naw-fawl, which means to drop.

"14:41 Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped. 14:42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken." (1 Samuel 14:41-42 KJV)

The service of the Levites (see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood) was determined by casting lots. The word translated as "cast" here in both examples is also naw-fawl, which means to drop.

"24:31 These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren." (1 Chronicles 24:31 KJV)

25:8 And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
25:9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph:
the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:
25:10 The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:11 The fourth to Izri, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:12 The fifth to Nethaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:13 The sixth to Bukkiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:14 The seventh to Jesharelah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:15 The eighth to Jeshaiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:16 The ninth to Mattaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:17 The tenth to Shimei, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:18 The eleventh to Azareel, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:19 The twelfth to Hashabiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:20 The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:21 The fourteenth to Mattithiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:22 The fifteenth to Jeremoth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:23 The sixteenth to Hananiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:24 The seventeenth to Joshbekashah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:25 The eighteenth to Hanani, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:26 The nineteenth to Mallothi, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:27 The twentieth to Eliathah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:28 The one and twentieth to Hothir, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:29 The two and twentieth to Giddalti, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:30 The three and twentieth to Mahazioth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25:31 The four and twentieth to Romamtiezer, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve." (1 Chronicles 25:8-31 KJV)

After the return of the Kingdom of Judah from their Babylonian exile in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah), Nehemiah used the casting of lots to determine who was to bring specific offerings. The word translated as "cast" here is also naw-fawl, which means to drop.

View from the Cross

"10:34 And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law:

10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:

10:36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:

10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage." (Nehemiah 10:34-37 KJV)

Nehemiah also used casting of lots to determine which of people would live in Jerusalem (see also The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees) and which would re-settle the other cities of Judah. Again, the word translated as "cast" here is naw-fawl, which means to drop.

"11:1 And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities." (Nehemiah 11:1 KJV)

As with so many other things, the casting of lots was also used in reference to evil. In both examples below, the Hebrew word translated as "cast" is pronounced yaw-dawd; it means to handle.

"3:3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink." (Joel 3:3 KJV)

"3:10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains." (Nahum 3:10 KJV)

Along with being a king of Israel, David was also a prophet (see The Prophets: David; also The Restoration Of David's Fallen Tabernacle and David, Future King Of Israel). He was given to witness the future Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as it was happening, through Christ's own eyes. Once again, the word translated as "cast" here is naw-fawl, which means to drop.

"22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." (Psalm 22:15-18 KJV)

That Prophecy was recorded, as fulfilled, in the "Gospel" books.

"27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." (Matthew 27:35 KJV)

Casting lots, in a righteous way (as opposed to all of the many unrighteous ways that it can be misused, whether for divination or gambling) continued on in the New Testament. The final determination of the replacement for the traitor Judas was done by casting lots - whereby Matthias became the new member of the twelve apostles.

"1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles." (Acts 1:23-26 KJV)

Fact Finder: How were "lots" involved in Purim, an observance unique to the people of Judah during their exile?
See The Lots Of Purim


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This Day In History, August 27

479 BC: The Battle of Plataea during the Greco-Persian Wars. The Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia; Persia is known today as Iran) under Mardonius were defeated by the Greeks (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) under Pausanias.

410: The Visigoths sacked Rome (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1626: The Danes were defeated by the Catholic League in Germany, marking the end of Danish intervention in European wars.

1813: The Allies defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Dresden.

1828: Uruguay became an independent state.

1883: 36,000 people died in the eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa; it produced the loudest noise (in recorded history) to echo around the world.

1916: Italy declared war on Germany (both Italy and Japan fought against Germany during the First World War; both Italy and Japan were allied with Germany during the Second World War - listen to our sermon The European World Wars).

1928: The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris by 60 nations, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Second World War followed a little over 10 years later.

1939: Just before the start of the Second World War, Germany's Heinkel He 178, the first jet aircraft, made it first flight.

1975: Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, died at age 83.

1979: Louis Mountbatten was killed by an Irish terrorist bomb in his sail boat in Sligo, Ireland.

1991: The European Union recognized the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

2003: The planet "Mars" (the pagan Roman name that scientists called the planet) made its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank