And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
Read Chapter 1
And they drew lots between them, and so forth. Neither because of this example, nor because the prophet Jonah was found out by lot, are we to believe indiscriminately in lots, “since the prerogative of individuals,” as Jerome says, can in no way “make a general law.” For in that instance pagan men were compelled by a storm to seek by lot the source of their danger. Matthias was chosen by lot so that their choice of the apostle would not appear to be out of harmony with the command of the old law, where it was ordered that the high priest be sought.
Because they saw that the storm was greater than usual, they knew those things did not happen naturally; nor indeed could those who navigated at such a time neglect the causes of the winds and the waves, and therefore by means of the lots they sought the origin of the shipwreck.
LXX: 'and they said to each other: come, let us draw lots to see who it is that has brought this wickedness upon us. And they drew lots, and the lot fell to Jonah.' They knew the ways of the sea and knew the causes of the storms and winds in such weather. Without a doubt they had seen the waves rise up as usual, and as they must have seen many times before, but they must never before have found the person to blame for the shipwreck, and through him tried to avoid certain danger. We should not be driven by this example to believe in fate, or to believe that this text should be connected to that of the Acts of the Apostles where Matthias is chosen by lot, because personal privileges do not make common law. For just as an old lady speaks up for the condemning of Balaam, as Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, in their own judgement, knew the future through dreams and yet do not see that there is a divine judgement in this, like Caiaphas prophesies unknowing, that it is better for one to die for al...