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1 Samuel 14:41 – Urim and Thummim


The passage describes an unusual way to determine God's will.


Quite often in the Bible yes/no questions were answered by the casting of lots, or, as here, by consulting the Urim and Thummim, probably differently colored stones. Saul, here, unravels a bit of the mystery that surrounds these cultic objects. Should the Urim stone appear (however that would be!), it would indicate guilt on Saul's part as well as Jonathan's. Should the Thummim appear, however, the guilt of the people of Israel would be indicated. While it sounds somewhat "dicey" to us, Israel was convinced that, though "the lot is cast into the lap," "the decision is the LORD's alone" (Proverbs 16:33).

1 Samuel 14:41

41Then Saul said, ‘O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant today? If this guilt is in me or in my son Jonathan, O Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in your people Israel,* give Thummim.’ And Jonathan and Saul were indicated by the lot, but the people were cleared.

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