The drawing of lots to uncover occult information or receive divine direction occurs several times in the bible. Aaron casts lots over the two goats brought for the Yom Kippur offering to determine which will be the scapegoat (Lev.16). Lots are used to divvy up the Land of Israel between the tribes (Num. 26; Joshua 15–19). While the passage is vague, Joshua apparently used either lots of the Urim and Thumim to determine who sinned against God by taking pillage from Jericho (Joshua 7). Saul is identified as God’s appointed king by means of lots (I Samuel 10). Seaman on the ship that was carrying Jonah used lots to identify him as the source of God’s wrath toward them (Jon. 2). In the story of Purim, Haman uses lots to determine the most propitious day to attack and annihilate the Jews (Est. 3).
The use of lots for divinatory purposes faded away in post-Biblical Judaism.
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