Lot, primarily, that which falls to any one as his portion or destiny; hence, a die or anything used in the determination of fortunes and events by chance. This method of divination, in some form, and for different purposes, has been almost universally known. Among the Hebrews, the land of Canaan was divided by lot, as were the cities which were distributed among the priests and Levites. The casting of lots is also mentioned in connection with other important private and public transactions. The Greeks and Romans were accustomed to divine auguries from lots, by having each of them marked with a prophetic verse or other inscription. They also opened the works of the poets, as Homer, Euripides, or Virgil, at hazard, and regarded the passage on which their eye first fell as an oracle. The Bible has been used in this latter method, but the practice has been denounced by several councils. Election by lot prevailed in the Christian church at an early day.
Lot, son of Haran, and nephew of Abraham. His history is related in Gen. xi.-xix. With his grandfather Terah and his uncle Abraham he went from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, and thence with the latter to Canaan. With Abraham he took refuge in Egypt from a famine, and with him returned to Canaan. Here quarrels arose between the shepherds of Abraham and those of Lot, because they had not room enough together for their increasing flocks. Abraham proposed a separation, and generously left to his nephew the choice of the location. Lot chose for himself the well watered region of the Jordan, and his flocks pastured as far S. as Sodom. Thus he was involved in the fate of the kings of that region, when they strove to make themselves independent of Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam; he was carried away captive, but was rescued and brought back by Abraham. He now fixed his abode in Sodom. The ten righteous for whose sake the Lord had promised Abraham not to destroy the city not having been found, two angels came to Lot and warned him to escape. He accordingly fled to Zoar, which was preserved as a refuge for him, with his wife and two daughters, whose husbands, with whom they had not yet cohabited, refused to accept the warning.
Then the narrative adds: " But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt;" a passage which has received many conjectural interpretations. Lot afterward fled from Zoar to the neighboring mountains, and dwelt with his daughters in a cave. The latter, apprehensive lest their race might die out with them, made their father drunk with wine, and became by him the mothers of Moab and Ammon, the progenitors of the Moabites and Ammonites. Mohammedan tradition says that Lot was sent to the inhabitants of the five cities as a preacher of warning, and attaches his name to the cities. The local name of the Dead sea is Bahr Lut, sea of Lot.
Lot, a river of France, which rises in the department of Lozere on the west of the Ce-vennes, pursues a westerly course through the departments of Aveyron and Lot, and joins the Garonne at Aiguillon, in Lot-et-Garonne, after a course of about 250 m., of which about 180 m., commencing at Entraigues, are navigable. Its chief affluents are the Coulagnes, Truyere, and Cele on the right, and the Dourdon on the left.
Lot, a S. W. department of France, in Gui-enne, bordering on Correze, Cantal, Aveyron, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, and Dor-dogne; area, 2,012 sq. m., pop. in 1872, 281,-404. The surface is mainly an extensive plateau of limestone, with an average elevation of 1,500 ft. above the sea, traversed in all directions by ridges of hills rising to a height at the most elevated point of 2,500 ft., and toward the east abutting on the mountains of Cantal, and drained by the rivers Lot and Dordogne. The deep soils of the lower grounds produce wheat, maize, barley, and oats; and the river slopes are planted with vines. The best wine is that of Cahors and Grandcoustant. The mulberry tree is cultivated for silkworms, and truffles, known as truffles de Perigord, form an important export. The principal fruit is prunes, the drying and preparation of which form an important branch of industry. Minerals and manufactures are of little importance. It is divided into the arrondissements of Cahors, Figeac, and Gourdon. Capital, Cahors.