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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
1. National Decisions
Until recent times the decision of disputed points between nations was determined by force of arms. Thus the questions of dispute were decided between Israel and the surrounding tribes, between Israel and Assyria, between Israel and Egypt, and later between Judea and Rome.
2. Judicial Decisions
In the earliest times the questions of dispute between individuals were decided by the patriarch who was the head of the family. When Israel became a nation men were appointed to decide the difficulties between the people. At first this was one of the most important duties of Moses, but when the task became too great he appointed judges to assist him (see Exodus 18:13-26 ). One important function of those who are called judges was to decide the difficulties between the people (see Judges 4:4 , Judges 4:5 ). The kings also decided questions of dispute between individuals (see 2 Samuel 15:1-6; 1 Kings 3:16-28 ). As the people developed in their national ideals the decisions in judicial matters were rendered by councils appointed for that purpose.
3. Methods of Forming Decisions
Perplexing questions were many times decided by the casting of lots. The people believed that God would in this way direct them to the right decision (Proverbs 16:33; Joshua 7:10-21; Joshua 14:2; 1 Samuel 10:20 f). Casting lots must have been a common method of deciding perplexing questions (see 1 Samuel 14:41 , 1 Samuel 14:42; Jonah 1:7 ). It was resorted to by the apostles to decide which of the two men they had selected should take the place of Judas (Acts 1:21-26 ). The custom gradually lost in favor, and decisions, even of perplexing questions, were formed by considering all the facts. See
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Decision'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/d/decision.html. 1915.
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