Who and what is…

This is the name of a biblical man and of a stone pebble used in a similar way to dice or a coin toss. Although the man and the pebble share the same English word, they each come from different Hebrew words with different meanings.

  1. Lots

    singular: lot

    Hebrew: גּוֹרָל —transliteration: goral —meaning: a lot (for casting), a pebble, a small stone used in casting lots (Numbers 33:54; Jonah 1:7)

    Hebrew: פוּר —transliteration: pur (probably a loanword from the Akkadian word pūru) —meaning: “a lot” (Note: Purim, a Jewish feast remembering God’s deliverance through Esther, comes from this word, and refers to lot cast before Haman to chose the day for extermination of the Jews. See: Esther 3:7; 8:15; 9:24; 9:26; 9:28-29; 9:31-32)

    Greek: lagchanó —transliteration: lagchanó —meaning: to obtain by lot

    Lots can be drawn or thrown (cast) and this practice is somewhat similar to drawing straws or throwing dice. The lots could be different colors or shapes of stone, or stones with markings or symbols made on them. Sticks could also be used in place of stones.

    The lot was always resorted to by the Hebrews with strictest reference to the interposition of God, and as a method of ascertaining His divine will (Proverbs 16:33), and in serious cases of doubt (Esther 3:7).

    Examples of lots being used to make a decision

    • for dividing the land of Canaan among the several tribes (Numbers 26:55; 34:13)
    • at the detection of Achan (Joshua 7:14; 7:18)
    • the election of Saul to be king (1 Samuel 10:20-21)
    • the distribution of the priestly offices of the temple service (1 Chronicles 24:3; 24:5; 24:19; Luke 1:9)
    • over the two goats at the feast of Atonement (Leviticus 16:8)
    • Matthias, who was “numbered with the eleven” (Acts 1:24-26), was chosen by lot.
    • Division of land to Israelite tribes in the Promised Land (“By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.” —Joshua 14:2 KJV

    This word also denotes a portion or an inheritance (Joshua 15:1; Psalm 125:3; Isaiah 17:4), and a destiny, as assigned by God (Psalm 16:5; Daniel 12:13).

    Throwing (casting) of lots

  2. Lot, the son of Haran

    Hebrew: לוֹט —a proper name (masculine) —transliteration: Lot —meaning: some suggest “a covering” or “veil” as the word may come from the word lutלוּט, which means to wrap closely or tightly, enwrap, envelop

    Greek: Λώτ —transliteration: Lót

    Lot was a nephew and traveling companion of Abraham (Genesis 11:27) who became the patriarch of the Moabites and Ammonites.

    On the death of his father, he was left in charge of his grandfather Terah (31), after whose death he accompanied his uncle Abraham into Canaan (12:5), thence into Egypt (10), and back again to Canaan (13:1). After this he separated from him and settled in Sodom (13:5-13). There his righteous soul was “tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:7), and he had great cause to regret this act.

    Not many years after the separation, he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer, and was rescued by Abraham (Genesis 14). At length, when the judgment of God descended on the guilty cities of the plain (Genesis 19:1-20), Lot was miraculously delivered.

    When fleeing from the doomed city, his wife “looked back from behind him, and became a pillar of salt.”

    There is to this day a peculiar crag at the south end of the Dead Sea, near Kumran, which the Arabs call Bint Sheik Lot, i.e., Lot’s wife. It is “a tall, isolated needle of rock, which really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a child upon her shoulder.” From the words of warning in Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot's wife,” it would seem as if she had gone back, or tarried so long behind in the desire to save some of her goods, that she became involved in the destruction which fell on the city, and became a stiffened corpse, fixed for a time in the saline incrustations. She became “a pillar of salt,” i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See SALT.)

    Lot and his daughters sought refuge first in Zoar, and then, fearing to remain there longer, retired to a cave in the neighboring mountains (Genesis 19:30). Before God destroyed Sodom, the girls had been engaged to marry 2 men of Sodom (Genesis 19:10-14), and Lot had warned the men, “Up, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city,” but they thought he was joking and stayed. Later, at this lonely mountain cave, Lot’s daughters, desperate to have children, eventually induced him to become extremely drunk inorder that they could have sexual intercourse with him, without his knowledge, and bear children (Gen. 19:30-38).

    The resulting 2 sons were named Moab (father of the Moabites) and Ben-ammi (father of the Ammonites). The name Moab sounds like the Hebrew for “from father.” Ben-ammi means “son of my people.”

    2 Peter 2:6–9

    Lot has been connected with the people named on Egyptian monuments as Lotanu (or Rotanu), who is supposed to have been the hero of the Edomite tribe of Lotan.

    Relatives of Lot

    • Father: Haran
    • Mother: not named
    • Grandfather: Terah
    • Uncle: Abraham
    • Aunt: Sarah
    • Wife: not named / Note: There is no mention of this woman until the events at Sodom, which opens the possibility that she may have been of Canaan or somewhere nearby.
    • Sons: Moab (father of the Moabites) and Ben-ammi (aka Ammon (father of the Ammonites)
    • Daughters: He had at least 2, but they are not named in the Bible.

    Pages related to the man Lot

Article Version: June 1, 2021