XLIX And at that time the children of Israel
began to inquire of the Lord, and said: Let us; all cast lots, that we may see who there is that can rule over us like Cenez, for peradventure we shall find a man that can deliver us from our afflictions, for it is not expedient that the people should be without a prince. 2. And they cast the lot and found no man; and the people were greatly grieved and said: The people is not worthy to be heard by the Lord, for he hath not answered us. Now therefore let us cast lots even by tribes, if perchance God will be appeased by a multitude, for we know that he will be reconciled unto them that are worthy of him. And they cast lots by tribes, and upon no tribe did the lot come forth. And Israel said: Let us choose one of ourselves, for we are in a strait, for we perceive that God abhorreth his people, and that his soul is displeased at us. 3. And one answered and said unto the people, whose name was Nethez: It is not he that hateth us, but we ourselves have made ourselves to be hated, that God should forsake us. And therefore, even though we die, let us not forsake him, but let us flee unto him for refuge; for we have walked in our evil ways and have not known him that made us, and therefore will our device be vain. For I know that God will not cast us off for ever, neither will he hate his people unto all generations: therefore now be ye strong and let us pray yet again and cast lots by cities, for although our sins be enlarged, yet will his long-suffering not fail. 4. And they cast lots by cities, and the lot came upon Armathem. And the people said: Is Armathem accounted righteous beyond all the cities of Israel, that he hath chosen her thus before all the cities? And every man said to his neighbour: In that same city which hath come forth by lot let us cast the lot by men, and let us see whom
the Lord hath chosen out of her. 5. And they cast the lot by men, and it took no man save Elchana, for upon him the lot leapt out, 1 and the people took him And said: Come and be ruler over us. And Elchana said unto the people: I cannot be a prince over this people, neither can I judge who can be a prince over you. But if my sins have found me out, that the lot should leap upon me, I will slay myself, that ye defile me not; for it is just that I should die for my own sins only and not have to bear the weight of the people.
6. And when the people saw that it was not the will of Elchana to take the leadership over them, they prayed again unto the Lord saying: O Lord God of Israel, wherefore hast thou forsaken thy people in the victory of the enemy 2 and neglected thine heritage in the time of trouble? Behold even he that was taken by the lot hath not accomplished thy commandment; but only this hath come about, 3 that the lot leapt out 1 upon him, and we believed that we had a prince. And lo, he also contendeth against the lot. Whom shall we yet require, or unto whom shall we flee, and where is the place of our rest? For if the ordinances are true which thou madest with our fathers, saying: I will enlarge your
seed, and they shall know of this, then it were better that thou saidst to us, I will cut off your seed, than that thou shouldest have no regard to our root. 7. And God said unto them: If indeed I recompensed you according to your evil deeds, I ought not to give ear unto your people; but what shall I do, because my name cometh to be called upon you? And now know ye that Elchana upon whom the lot hath fallen cannot rule over you, but it is rather his son that shall be born of him; he shall be prince over you and shall prophesy; and from henceforth there shall not be wanting unto you a prince for many years. 8. And the people said: Behold, Lord, Elchana hath ten sons, and which of them shall be a prince or shall prophesy? And God said: Not any of the sons of Phenenna can be a prince over the people, but he that is born of the barren woman whom I have given him to wife, he shall be a prophet before me, and I will love him even as I loved Isaac, and his name shall be before me for ever. And the people said: Behold now, it may be that God hath remembered us, to deliver us from the hand of them that hate us. And in that day they offered peace offerings and feasted in their orders.
213:1 XLIX. 5, etc. the lot leapt out: superuolauit. The word, which occurs several times in these verses, indicates, I suppose, that the lot which fell upon Elkanah came out of the receptacle for lots in some unusual way. At least it does not occur in the other passages which mention the casting of lots.
213:2 6. in the victory of the enemy: (quare) in uictoria inimicorum (dereliquisli). It is natural to think that in uictoria is the Hebraism for "utterly," εἰσ νῖκοσ, and that inimicorum should be omitted as a gloss: but the phrase is balanced in the next clause by et in tempore angustiae neglexisti.
213:3 but only this hath come about, etc.: sed solum hoc est, quod superuolauit super illum sors.