Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
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(33) The lot is cast into the lap . . .—In other words, much that we attribute to chance is due to the providence of God. (Comp. Matthew 10:29-30.) This should be an encouragement to trust in Him.

Proverbs 16:33. The lot is cast into the lap — As the ancient practice was in dividing inheritances, and deciding in doubtful cases; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord — The event, though casual to men, is directed and determined by God’s counsel and providence. But it is to be well observed, that when solemn appeals are made to divine providence, by the casting of lots, for the deciding of a matter of moment, which could not otherwise be at all, or not so well, decided, God must be applied to by prayer to give a perfect lot, 1 Samuel 14:41; Acts 1:24; and his decision must afterward be acquiesced in with entire satisfaction, under a persuasion that it is wise and righteous.

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.Disposing - Better, the judgment or sentence which depends upon the lot. The lots were thrown into the gathered folds of a robe, and then drawn out. Where everything seemed the merest chance, there the faithful Israelite teacher recognized the guidance of a higher will. Compare the case of Achan Joshua 7:18, and of Jonathan 1 Samuel 14:37-42. The process here described would seem to have been employed ordinarily in trials where the judges could not decide on the facts before them (compare Proverbs 18:18). 33. Seemingly the most fortuitous events are ordered by God. The lot is cast into the lap; as the ancient practice was in dividing inheritances, and deciding doubtful things, of which see Numbers 26:55 Joshua 7:16 1 Samuel 10:20,21 14:41,42 Pr 1:14 Acts 1:26.

The whole disposing thereof is of the Lord; the event, though casual to men, is directed and determined by God’s counsel and providence.

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.

The lot is cast into the lap; but its whole disposing is {p} from the LORD.

(p) So that there is nothing that ought to be attributed to fortune: for all things are determined in the counsel of God which will come to pass.

33. the lap] from the folds of which it was drawn or shaken out.

disposing] Lit. judgement. The decision, which when appealed to as arbiter it pronounces, is not its own but Jehovah’s.

The religion of the O.T. incorporated into itself the use of the lot as it did many other common customs (see Joshua 7:14-18; 1 Samuel 14:42). With the gift of Pentecost, however, the religious use of it appears to have ceased. No mention is found of it in the N.T. after Acts 1:26.

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.

Proverbs 16:3333 One casts the lot into the lap;

     But all its decision cometh from Jahve.

The Tra knows only in one instance an ordeal (a judgment of God) as a right means of proof, Numbers 5:12-31. The lot is nowhere ordained by it, but its use is supported by a custom running parallel with the Mosaic law; it was used not only in private life, but also in manifold ways within the domain of public justice, as well as for the detection of the guilty, Joshua 7:14., 1 Samuel 14:40-42. So that the proverb PRomans 18:18 says the same thing of the lot that is said in the Epistle to the Heb; Hebrews 6:16, of the oath. The above proverb also explains the lot for an ordeal, for it is God who directs and orders it that it fall out thus and not otherwise. A particular sanction of the use of the lot does not lie in this, but it is only said, that where the lot is cast, all the decision that results from it is determined by God. That is in all cases true; but whether the challenging of the divine decision in such a way be right in this or that case is a question, and in no case would one, on the contrary, venture to make the person of the transgressor discoverable by lot, and let it decide regarding human life. But antiquity judged this matter differently, as e.g., the Book of Jonah (chap. 1) shows; it was a practice, animated by faith, in God's government of the world, which, if it did not observe the boundary between faith and superstition, yet stood high above the unbelief of the "Enlightenment." Like the Greek κόλπος, חיק (from חוּק, Arab. ḥaḳ, khaḳ, to encompass, to stretch out) means, as it is commonly taken, gremium as well as sinus, but the latter meaning is the more sure; and thus also here it is not the lap as the middle of the body, so that one ought to think on him who casts the lot as seated, but also not the lap of the garment, but, like Proverbs 6:27, cf. Isaiah 40:11, the swelling, loose, external part of the clothing covering the bosom (the breast), where the lot covered by it is thrown by means of shaking and changing, and whence it is drawn out. The construction of the passive הוּטל (from טוּל equals Arab. tall, to throw along) with the object. accus. follows the old scheme, Genesis 4:18, and has its reason in this, that the Semitic passive, formed by the change of vowels, has not wholly given up the governing force of the active. משׁפּט signifies here decision as by the Urim and Thummim, Numbers 27:21, but which was no lot-apparatus.

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