This verse refers to the ancient custom of casting lots to settle disputes or make important decisions (read Josh 1:7). We might compare the practice to flipping a coin or drawing straws in modern times.
The Bible does not give us any details about the materials used in casting lots. But we can speculate that colored stones or pieces of wood may have been placed in a bag or jug. These items then rolled around inside the container and cast out on the ground. The order in which the stones or pieces of wood lined up may have determined the course of action to follow.
- The high priest cast lots to determine which one of two sacrificial goats would become the scapegoat (read Lev 16:10).
- After the conquest of Canaan, lots were cast to determine the division of the land among the tribes of Israel (read Josh 14:1-2).
- In David’s time Levite gatekeepers were assigned to duties at specific gates of Jerusalem and the temple by the casting of lots (read 1 Chron 26:12-19).
- At the crucifixion Roman soldiers cast lots to determine how Jesus’ clothes would be divided among them (read Matt 27:35).
- The apostles cast lots to select Matthias as Judas’s successor (read Acts 1:24-26).
PROVERBS 18:18 – The lot causeth contentions to cease, and perteth between the mighty.