|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:17. It is well to listen to our enemies, that we may form a better judgment of ourselves. 18. It was customary sometimes to refer matters to God, by casting lots, with solemn prayer. The profaning the lot, by using it in matters of diversion, or coveting what belongs to others, forms an objection to this now.
Verse 18 - The lot causeth contentions to cease (comp. Proverbs 16:33). If this verse is taken in connection with the preceding, it refers to the decision in doubtful cases, where the evidence is conflicting and ordinary investigation fails to elicit the truth satisfactorily. The lot, being considered to show the judgment of God, settled the question. And parteth between the mighty. If it were not for the decision by lot, persons of eminence and power would settle their differences by violent means. This peaceful solution obviates all such contentions. The Septuagint, in place of "lot" (κλῆρος), reads now σιγηρός, "silent;" but it is evidently originally a clerical error, perpetuated by copyists. The error is noted by a second hand in the margin of the Sinaitic Manuscript.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The lot causeth contentions to cease,.... When a case cannot be determined among parties at variance in a private way, nor in a court of judicature, the lot is cast, and that puts an end to all strife, and makes each party easy; they submit to it, and acquiesce in it;
and parteth between the mighty; the kings and princes of the earth; men of great power and authority, and of great riches and affluence; and so in a capacity of contending with each other, and of prolonging the contention, which may be attended with bad consequences; and who are not easily dissuaded from it: or it may intend such who most vehemently disagree; persons of great spirits, who are obstinate and stubborn, and will by no means yield, and there is no parting them by arguments or legal decisions; these the lot parts, and causes them to cease from their quarrels and contentions, and to rest satisfied with the distributions the lot makes to them; as the children of Israel were with their portion of the land of Canaan, assigned them by lot.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. The lot—whose disposal is of God (Pr 16:13), may, properly used, be a right mode of settling disputes.
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