Lots, Casting

Leviticus 16:8-10; Numbers 26:55-56; Nehemiah 10:34; Nehemiah 11:1; Proverbs 16:33; Esther 3:7; Esther 9:24; Psalm 22:18; Mark 15:24; Acts 1:26; Ezekiel 45:1; Ezekiel 47:22; Ezekiel 48:29
This mode of determining a matter was ordered of God to be practiced over the two goats on the day of atonement (Lev. 16:8-108And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10But 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 16:8‑10)). God also commanded that the land should be divided by lot (Num. 26:55-5655Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. 56According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few. (Numbers 26:55‑56)). The people resorted to it for various purposes on the return from exile (Neh. 10:3434And 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: (Nehemiah 10:34); Neh. 11:11And 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)). God overruled among His people how the lot should fall, as stated in Proverbs 16:3333The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33): “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” He also could direct it among the heathen to work out His own purposes, as He did in the case of Haman, which so deferred the period of the execution of his design that there was time for the action of Esther, and for new edicts to be sent all over the kingdom, that the Jews might be saved from destruction (Esther 3:77In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. (Esther 3:7); Esther 9:2424Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; (Esther 9:24)). The various names, dates, and so forth, for selection were marked on pieces of wood, potsherd, etc., and these “lots” were then shaken together either in a vessel or the fold of a garment, till one came out.
The lot was also used by the Roman soldiers in parting the garments of the Lord (Psa. 22:1818They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Psalm 22:18); Mark 15:2424And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. (Mark 15:24)). In order to fill up the vacancy caused by the fall of Judas, the lot was resorted to; but was on that occasion accompanied by prayer that the Lord would show which of the two He had chosen (Acts 1:2626And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:26)). There is no instruction in the New Testament as to casting lots. It would have been quite out of place among the disciples while the Lord was with them, as also now that the Holy Spirit has been given to the Christian.