The Mustard Seed
by Pastor Ron Friedrich
What does "throwing lots" mean? What are lots?
This question came in response to a story that I cited in last month's Mustard Seed: "The sailors suspected that someone onboard was responsible for the storm. They threw lots and the lot fell to Jonah."
In ancient times, casting (throwing) lots was a game of chance, like throwing dice or drawing straws. Today no one knows for sure what a lot looked like or how the game was played. Most scholars think that lots were small animal bones or stones that varied in appearance, and they threw them into a small box or on a grid on the ground. Where the lot landed determined the winner... or loser. The word lot is the root of our word lottery.
People gambled by throwing lots. While Jesus was dying on the cross, Roman soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing lots (John 19:23-24).
People also threw lots to let God (or Satan) lead them in making a decision. For example: