How biblical is casting lots?
Casting lots is quite Biblical. The word "lots" appears
70 times in the Old Testament and seven times in the New
It was used by priests to separate the scapegoat from the
one being sacrificed: Lev 16:8 "He is to cast lots for the
two goats--one lot for the LORD and the other for the
It was used to divide the promised land among the
Israelites: Num 26:55 "Be sure that the land is distributed
by lot." NIV
Several functions in the Temple were determined by lots: 1
Chron 24:5 "They divided them impartially by drawing lots,
for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of
God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar." NIV
The sailors on Jonah's boat determined who was responsible
for that terrible storm by casting lots (notice that the
guilty party was discovered that way!): Jonah 1:7 "Then the
sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find
out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots
and the lot fell on Jonah." NIV
When the apostles met after Jesus ascended to heaven they
determined who would replace Judas by casting lots: Acts
1:26 "Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so
he was added to the eleven apostles." NIV
None of the Biblical illustrations of casting lots had to do
with games of chance. Every time it was used, the Israelites
depended on the Lord 100% to reveal to them His will. It was
an impartial way to find God's will when choices had to
occur. This concept is still applicable today. In all our
decisions we should impartially depend on God and search for
However, the book of Proverbs indicate some neat things
about casting lots:
Prov 18:18 "Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps
strong opponents apart." NIV
Prov 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every
decision is from the LORD." NIV
My friend, do you depend on yourself when making decisions?
Are you tired of making so many wrong decisions? Would you
like to experience true inner peace in your life? Come to
invite Him into your life. He will give meaning and
direction in your life. He is so awesome!
Casting lots is very "Biblical". It is documented in the
Bible many times in various ways, from choosing to throw
Jonah overboard to choosing a replacement for Judas. But,
now we can talk to God directly as long as Jesus is in
charge of our life. No longer is it necessary to find a
prophet or a priest. We can now each be a member of the holy
priesthood. It is very dangerous to use a die or dice or a
fleece or short straw or any of the like to make a decision.
Personally, I would even go so far as to say that now that
God is so readily available--even inside you as the Holy
Spirit--- that casting lots for decision making is turning
your back on God!
Casting of lots in the Bible l discovered it was a very
important means of knowing what to do. It appears 36times in
33 verses of the scripture. Lev16:8, Josh18:6, 8:10;
1Sam14:42, 1Kg3:16; 1chr24:31; 25:8; 26:13; 26:14 Neh.
10:34; 11:1; Psalm 22:18; Pro 29:3 Jer. 5:7 ; Eze. 27:8;
27:27; 27:29 Hos. 4:14; Joel 3:3 Obadiah 1:11; Jonah 1:7
Nahum 3:10 Matt. 21:31 ; 21:3 2; 27:35 Marks 15:24 Lk.
15:30; 23:24 Jn. 19:24; Acts 1:26
Actually a friend was just asking me about that this
week. My answer is that casting lots is NOT Biblical now.
While this was commonly done in Old Testament Days and
during the early part of the New Testament, it is no longer
the way we determine God's will. People during that period
of time didn't have the Holy Spirit, a completed Bible, nor
a personal relationship with God. We have (or can have) all
of these by placing our trust in Jesus Christ as our
personal Savior from sin. With the Holy Spirit and the Bible
to guide us we do not need to cast lots, lay out fleeces, or
draw straws to determine God's will for us. In fact, doing
so might be considering "tempting" the Lord which we are
cautioned not to do.
Casting lots is Biblical only in the sense that it is
mentioned a number of times in the Bible. But it was a form
of gambling, so it is not a Biblical principle to be upheld.
Thank you for this lovely newsletter. This is my first, and
I truly enjoyed it.
May our Lord continue to bless you, Denise DiPalma
Casting lots was extensively used in Old Testament times
to determine Godís will in a matter. The following verses
give some examples.
Leviticus 16:8-AV And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two
goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the
Joshua 18:6-AV Ye shall therefore describe the land [into]
seven parts, and bring [the description] hither to me, that
I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.
Joshua 18:10-AV And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh
before the LORD: and there Joshua divided the land unto the
children of Israel according to their divisions.
1Chronicles 26:13-AV And they cast lots, as well the small
as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for
Jonah 1:7-AV And they said every one to his fellow, Come,
and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this
evil [is] upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon
Whilst it may be said that perhaps the laws of chance were
used in these cases to determine the matter, the reference
from Jonah certainly points to divine intervention. Another
reason for casting lots, especially to divide something
between people, was fairness.
Proverbs 18:18-AV The lot causeth contentions to cease, and
parteth between the mighty.
Lots were also used for gambling.
Psalms 22:18-AV They part my garments among them, and cast
lots upon my vesture.
Joel 3:3-AV And they have cast lots for my people; and have
given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that
they might drink.
Obadiah 1:11-AV In the day that thou stoodest on the other
side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his
forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots
upon Jerusalem, even thou [wast] as one of them.
Nahum 3:10-AV Yet [was] she carried away, she went into
captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at
the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her
honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.
Matthew 27:35-AV And they crucified him, and parted his
garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them,
and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
So the casting of lots is quite biblical in the sense that
it was widely used as described above. If the question means
is it all right to gamble the answer is NO!
I was a bit surprised when I did a little research on
this week's question about "how biblical is casting lots?"
There appears to be quite a lot(!) of use made of casting
CASTING LOTS To get a decision from God (Lev 16:8; Jos
18:6-10; 1Sa 14:42; 1Ch 24:31; 26:13-14; Jnh 1:7; Ac 1:26).
To set a date (Est 3:7). To settle disputes (Pr 18:18). In
divination (Eze 21:21). In gambling (Job 6:27; Ps 22:18; Mt
27:35). The decision is from the LORD (Pr 16:33).
The casting of lots was a custom widely practised in the
ancient Near East. The precise method is unclear, though it
appears that, for the most part, sticks or marked pebbles
were drawn from a receptacle into which they had been cast."
GETTING A DECISION FROM GOD
(Lev.16:8-10) This refers to the casting of lots by Aaron
for the two goats--one lot for the LORD and the other for
(Joshua 18:6-10) This was when Joshua cast lots for the
disbursement of the land portions, except for the Levites,
because their priestly service of the LORD is their
(1Sam 14:41-42) Saul prayed to the LORD, and said, "Cast the
lot between me and Jonathan my son."
(Jonah 1:7) "The sailors said to each other, "Come, let us
cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity."
They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah".
TO SET A DATE
(Esther 3:7) "In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the
first month, the month of Nisan, they cast the pur (that is,
the lot) in the presence of Haman to select a day and month.
And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar."
TO SETTLE DISPUTES
(Pr 18:18) "Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps
strong opponents apart."
(Eze 21:21-22) "For the king of Babylon will stop at the
fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek
an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his
idols, he will examine the liver. Into his right hand will
come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering
rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle
cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to build a
ramp and to erect siege works."
(Mt 27:35) "When they had crucified him, they divided up his
clothes by casting lots."
Others - Job 6:27; Ps 22:18.
THE DECISION IS FROM THE LORD
(Pr 16:33) "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every
decision is from the LORD."
So, the answer to your question "How biblical is casting
lots?" is that there is a fair amount of Biblical evidence
supporting the use of casting of lots.