"by lot"

Ben Crick ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Sun Dec 9 16:44:04 EST 2001

On Sun  9 Dec 2001 (12:09:18 +0800), pastorpete at email.com wrote:
> In Joshua some of the tribes were allotted their territories "by lot".
> In 1 Samuel, Saul was selected as king "by lot". Can anyone tell me
> where I can find any information about how this process worked?

 Dear Gordon,

 They divided the land "by lot" B:GoWRFL. It seems that this root means to
 be rough, like stone. Pebbles were cast, as we would throw dice, and the lie
 of the cast stones would then be interpreted as Divine guidance.

 In Joshua the "lot" is from the root NPL, in the Hiphil to cause to fall, to
 let drop, to overthrow, to make a lot fall, assign by lot, apportion by lot.

 A version of this is in the Urim and Thummim ("lights and perfections") kept
 in the High Priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:30). These apparently were two
 large flat "dominoes" each with a light (Urim) and a dark (Thummim) side. The
 prayer was made "O LORD, grant a perfect lot" (1 Samuel 14:41), and the Urim
 and Thummim were withdrawn from the breastplate and slapped down on a table or
 flat surface. Two "lights" was Yes; and two "darks" was No. One of each was

 Hence Saul's predicament, when he enquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered
 him not, "neither by dreams, *nor by Urim*, nor by prophets" (1 Samuel 28:6).
 In desperation, he sought out a medium to enquire of instead.

 Revd Ben Crick BA CF, and Mrs Joanna (Goodwin) Crick
 <ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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