|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:27,28. Ungodly men bestow more pains to do mischief than would be needful to do good. The whisperer separates friends: what a hateful, but how common a character! 29,30. Some do all the mischief they can by force and violence, and are blind to the result. 31. Old people especially should be found in the way of religion and godliness. 32. To overcome our own passions, requires more steady management, than obtaining victory over an enemy. 33. All the disposal of Providence concerning our affairs, we must look upon to be the determining what we referred to God; and we must be reconciled to them accordingly. Blessed are those that give themselves up to the will of God; for he knows what is good for them.
Verse 33. - The lot is cast into the lap. The bosom or fold of the garment (Proverbs 6:27; Proverbs 17:23; Proverbs 21:14). It is not quite clear what articles the Jews used in their divinations by lot. Probably they employed stones, differing in shape or colour, or having some distinguishing mark. These were placed in a vessel or in the fold of a garment, and drawn or shaken thence. Such a practice has been common in all ages and countries; and though only cursorily mentioned in the Mosaic legislation (Numbers 26:55), it was used by the Jews from the time of Joshua, and in the earliest days of the Christian Church (see Joshua 18:10; Judges 20:9; 1 Samuel 10:20, 21; Acts 1:28, etc.). As by this means man's agency was minimized, and all partiality and chicanery were excluded, the decision was regarded as directed by Providence. There is one case only of ordeal in the Law, and that under suspicion of adultery (Numbers 5:12, etc.). In the Epistle to the Hebrews, in place of the lot we read (Hebrews 6:16), "An oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife." The whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. In these cases the Jew learned to see, in what we call chance, the overruling of Divine power. But this was not blind superstition. He did not feel justified in resorting to this practice on every trivial occasion, as persons used the Sortes Virgilianae or even the verses of the Bible for the same purpose. The lot was employed religiously in cases where other means of decision were not suitable or available; it was not to supersede common prudence or careful investigation; but, for example, in trials where the evidence was conflicting and the judges could not determine the case, the merits were ascer-rained by lot (comp. ch. 18:18). After the effusion of the Holy Spirit, the apostles never resorted to divination, and the Christian Church has wisely repudiated the practice of all such modes of discovering the Divine will. Septuagint, "For the unrighteous all things fall into their bosom, but from the Lord are all just things," which may mean either that, though the wicked seem to prosper, God still works out his righteous ends; or the evil suffer retribution, and thus God's justice is displayed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The lot is cast into the lap,.... Of a man's garment, or into his bosom, or into a hat, cap, urn, or whatsoever he has in his lap, and from whence it is taken out; which used to be done in choosing officers, civil or ecclesiastical; in dividing inheritances, and determining doubtful cases; and making up differences, and putting an end to strife and contentions, which otherwise could not be done: and this ought not to be used in trivial cases, or to gratify curiosity, or for the sake of gain, or rashly and superstitiously; but seriously and religiously, with prayer, and in faith, and with a view to the divine direction, and submission to it; for a lot has the nature of an oath, and is an appeal to the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Being;
but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord; or "the judgment" (u) of it; the judgment that is to be made by it concerning persons or things; it being so directed and ordered by him as to fall upon the person it should; or to make known the thing in doubt and debate according to his will, in which all parties concerned should acquiesce. This is to be ascribed, not to blind chance and fortune, to the influence of the stars, or to any invisible created being, angel or devil, but to the Lord only; there is no such thing as chance, or events by chance; those events which seem most fortuitous or contingent are all disposed, ordered, and governed, by the sovereign will of God.
(u) "judicium ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Schultens; "judicium eorum", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33. Seemingly the most fortuitous events are ordered by God.
Proverbs 16:33 Parallel Commentaries
Proverbs 16:33 NIV
Proverbs 16:33 NLT
Proverbs 16:33 ESV
Proverbs 16:33 NASB
Proverbs 16:33 KJV
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