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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

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the son of Haran, and nephew to Abraham. He accompanied his uncle from Ur to Haran, and from thence to Canaan; a proof of their mutual attachment, and similarity of principles respecting the true religion. With Abraham he descended into Egypt, and afterward returned with him into Canaan: but the multiplicity of their flocks, and still more the quarrels of their servants, rendered a friendly separation necessary. When God destroyed the cities of the plain with fire and brimstone, he delivered "just Lot" from the conflagration, according to the account of the divine historian. The whole time that Lot resided there was twenty-three years. During all this period he had been a preacher of righteousness among this degenerate people. In him they had before their eyes an illustrious example of the exercise of genuine piety, supported by unsullied justice and benevolent actions. And doubtless it was for these purposes that Divine Providence placed him for a time in that city. The losses which Lot sustained on this melancholy occasion were very great; his wife, property, and all the prospects of the future settlement of his family blasted. Pity must therefore draw a friendly veil over the closing scene of this man of affliction; and let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall into deeds more reprehensible than those of Lot, without having equal trials and sufferings to plead in his favour. Respecting his wife, whether grieving for the loss of her property, or inwardly censuring the severity of the divine dispensation, or whether moved by unbelief or curiosity, cannot now be known; but, looking back, she became a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:26 . It would be endless to present the reader with all the opinions on this subject. Some contend that nothing more is meant than that she was suffocated: others, that a column or monument of metallic salt was erected upon her grave: others affirm that she became encrusted with the sulphur, insomuch that she appeared like an Egyptian mummy, which is embalmed with salt. Our Lord warns his disciples to remember Lot's wife in their flight from Jerusalem, and not to imitate her tardiness, Luke 17:32 .

2. LOT, any thing cast or drawn in order to determine any matter in question, Proverbs 18:18 . We see the use of lots among the Hebrews in many places of Scripture: God commands, for example, that lots should be cast upon the two goats which were offered for the sins of the people, upon the solemn day of expiation, to know which of the two should be sacrificed, and which liberated, Leviticus 16:8-10 . He required also that the land of promise should be divided by lot as soon as it was conquered; which command Joshua accordingly executed, Numbers 26:55-56; Numbers 33:54; Numbers 34:13 , &c; Joshua xiv-xvi; hence the term "lot" is used for an inheritance, "Thou maintainest my lot;" and figuratively for a happy state or condition. The priests and Levites had their cities appointed by lot. Lastly, in the time of David, the four and twenty classes of the priests and Levites were distributed by lot, to determine in what order they should wait in the temple, 1 Chronicles 6:54; 1 Chronicles 6:61; 1 Chronicles 24:5; 1 Chronicles 25:8 . In the division of the spoil, after victory, lots were likewise cast, to give every man his portion, Obadiah 1:11; Nahum 3:10 , &c. In the New Testament, after the death of Judas, lots were cast to decide who should occupy the place of the traitor, Acts 1:26 . From the above instances, it is clear that when men have recourse to this method, the matter ought to be of the greatest importance, and no other apparent way left to determine it; and the manner of making the appeal should be solemn and grave, if we would escape the guilt of taking the name of God in vain. It unquestionably implies a solemn appeal to the Most High to interpose by his decision; and so every thinking man will be very careful that he has a true and religious ground for so serious a proceeding; and few if any cases can now occur in which it can have any justification. The ancient manner of casting lots, was either in some person's "lap," or fold of the robe; into a helmet, or urn, or other vessel, in which they might be shaken before they were drawn or cast.

Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Lot'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​l/lot.html. 1831-2.
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