In early times the "lot" was used to determine doubtful questions (Esth. 3:7; Jon. 1:7; Matt. 27:35). In Prov. 16:33, the lot is said to be "cast into the lap," and it may be inferred that stones (marked in some way) were placed in the fold of a garment or in a vessel of some sort, and then the shaking of the garment, or vessel, would throw a stone out on the ground, according to which the decision was given. Such proceedings were commonly preceded by prayer, an appeal to God to decide the matter (Acts 1:23-26). The land of Canaan was divided among the twelve tribes by lot (Josh. 14:2; 18:6). By casting lots it was decided whether Joseph Barsabas or Matthias should be Judas Iscariot's successor in the apostleship (Acts 1:15-26). This method of deciding questions was not repeated by the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit.

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