Clothing Gambled For

David continues his vivid and intricate description of the Messiah under crucifixion, with the detail; the garments of the Messiah will be divided and gambled for by those who watch Him die.

All four Gospels record this event. Matthew’s account is short and to the point. Mark adds the detail of soldiers dividing the garments which Jesus wore and gambling to determine who would receive each piece. Luke Includes a personal comment by Jesus, asking the Father to “forgive them” for what they were doing to Him. John has the most detailed of the four: The soldiers divided the clothing into four parts: the loin cloth, the shorts, the shirt, and the outer robe. Each of the first three, the soldiers take one garment each; the fourth, Jesus outer robe, was very valuable and because of this they determined ownership by drawing straws. This was the type of robe that a king or great man would wear. The Roman soldiers agreed to cast lots or draw straws to see who could take the entire outer robe without dividing it.

The fact that David could see that the outer garment of the Messiah would be gambled for in Psalm 22:18. at such great distance to its fulfillment by Jesus, is astonishing.

Psalms 22:18 “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:35 “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments…”

Mark 15:24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

John 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Intent of Accuracy

It is important to note that John defines the actions of the soldiers as a fulfillment of Psalm 22:17, which David intended as a prophecy of the Messiah’s death on a cross: They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. Therefore the soldiers did these things. The manner in which this last statement is written, indicates that John believed the soldiers were compelled by the unseen power of God—working to accomplish the words of Psalm 22:17. These men had no knowledge of what David had written and Jesus Himself stated that they knew not what they were doing. The implication here is that there was an outside force which was acting upon these men to compel them to carry out these actions. By these facts, we understand that Jesus was in control over all the events of His crucifixion, even to fulfill every Old Testament prophecy which had been written in Psalm 22.

As John is recording the events of Jesus crucifixion, he is doing so as an eyewitness. John describes the dividing of Jesus’ garments among the soldiers and the casting of lots as, a fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 22:18. John had no doubt that what was taking place was a fulfillment of prophecy. This defines the words of John’s gospel as scripture—equal to the word of God from the Old Testament.

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Each subsequent prophecy of this 22nd Psalm, builds upon the previous, adding more difficulty, and exponentially increasing the certainty that Jesus is the object of David’s words—the Messiah.

We must remember in the study of Bible prophecy, that we are not simply speaking of a few isolated verses from the Old Testament; we are describing nearly 400 detailed predictions which find their fulfillment in the New Testament. In Psalm 22 alone, David wrote 17 specific details which vividly describe the Messiah as pierced in His hands and feet.

When we view these specific prophecies, we are awestruck by the precise manner in which Jesus perfectly fulfilled in the narrative of the New Testament.

These 17 prophecies from the 22nd Psalm, clearly describe the events surrounding the crucifixion of the Messiah. What is the chance that Jesus is the only person in the history of the world that we could apply these prophecies to?

Odds of Crucifixion

According to various estimates for the total number of people who have lived on the earth since Adam—a conservative number would be 110 Billion.[1]

Of this number, how many people have been Crucified during the history of the world?

The Jewish historian Josephus describes the destruction of Jerusalem, murder of 1.1 million Jews and 97,000 prisoners taken as captives of war. Thousands more were sold as slaves, with many others deported into exile all over the world. This entire event is recorded in the “Book of Wars,” Books 5, Chapter 22, Sections 1-3 by Josephus.[2] Many of those killed, were crucified.

Alexander the Great is said to have crucified 2,000 people who survived his siege on Tyre.[3]

Over 6,000 of the followers of Spartacus were crucified under Crassus after the defeat of Spartacus in battle.[4]

In the early Meiji period of Japan (1865-1868), crucifixion is listed as the method of execution for the servant of his employer, during a robbery attempt.[5]

During the “Sengoku period” of Japan (1467-1573), the Japanese introduced crucifixion after Christianity was brought to the nation, (Known in Japanese as haritsuke (磔).[6]

In 1597, twenty-six Christians were crucified at Nagasaki, Japan (Paulo Miki, Philip of Jesus and Pedro Bautista, a Spanish Franciscan who had worked about ten years in the Philippines).

The Qur’an describes death by crucifixion on two occasions.[7]

Crucifixion was also widely used in Burma,[8] and Europe, during World War1.[9]

Even today, crucifixion is still made use of in Muslim countries. Islamic law prescribes crucifixion under certain circumstances.[10]

In 2000, Burma crucified several people from the Karen villages in the Dooplaya District.[11]

Under the current radical Islamic government of Iran, crucifixion is listed as a punishment of Hadd.[12]

“In execution by hanging, the prisoner will be hung on a hanging truss which should look like a cross, while his (her) back is toward the cross, and (s)he faces the direction of Mecca [in Saudi Arabia], and his (her) legs are vertical and distant from the ground.”[13]

During the recent history of Saudi Arabia, many people have been beheaded and then crucified.[14]

The Muslim nations of the Sudan prescribe crucifixion as a method of execution, under its penal code, as it is interpreted by Shari’a law.[15]

In Syria, a Jihadist group carried out seven public crucifixions in May, 2014 in Raqqa.[16]

These points are made for the purpose of establishing crucifixion as a widely used and universally known, method of execution, for over 2,000 years.

The cumulative numbers of history, estimate a total of over 100,000 people may have been crucified during the past two thousand years; this is out of the one hundred and ten Billion, who have ever lived on the earth.

The mathematical probability that only Jesus is the object of David’s crucifixion narrative from Psalm 22; considering the number of those who have been crucified during the history of the world is: 10³⁶.[17]

1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00

Despite these odds, Jesus perfectly fulfilled each of the 17 prophecies of the Cross that David penned, nearly 3,000 years ago.

There is no possibility that the events described by David and fulfilled by Jesus are happenstance or occurred by the schemes of men. The Lord orchestrated this crucifixion of His Son to secure our salvation and make certain that every part of David’s description of the death of the Messiah would be fulfilled by Jesus.

Unqualified conclusions

It is important to acknowledge that a majority of atheists, agnostics, and skeptics of the Bible, are not qualified to make definitive conclusions, regarding the prophecies of the Old Testament. When this occurs, it is almost always an embarrassment to themselves, as well as their readers.

According to atheist Bob Seidensticker of Patheos.com, he is a greater historical and literary scholar than experts who have examined the prophecies of the Messiah:

“Let’s ignore the fact that a character in a book about Israel was far likelier to be born in Bethlehem than in Bermuda, Brazil, or Borneo, so comparing Bethlehem against the rest of the world is unrealistic. Let’s also ignore that Stoner simply assumes that Jesus was divine. At least we have it on good authority that the Micah reference, “out of you [Bethlehem] will come … one who will be ruler over Israel,” actually refers to Jesus, because the gospel of Matthew says so (Matt. 2:6). Or do we? When you actually read Micah 5, it is clear that this ruler of Israel will be a warrior who will turn back the Assyrians, the empire that began conquering Israel piecemeal beginning in 740 BCE. “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed” (Micah 5:9) doesn’t sound like any event in the life of Jesus.”[18]

According to Mr. Seidensticker, the prophecy of Micah was not written for the Messiah, and therefore cannot be applied to Jesus. If you will notice how Mr. Seidensticker arrives at his conclusions, they are quite tenuous. Each point that is made, is simply based upon the opinion of Mr. Seidensticker, not upon a sound exegesis or any past literary scholarship. There are many men and women who have examined this text from Micah 5; who have fully validated this Hebrew scripture as an authentic Messianic prophecy. The world’s leading Rabbinical scholars have determined that this verse from Micah, is describing the Messiah, yet Mr. Seidensticker, feels that his unqualified evaluation is superior to these scholars. This is what happens when a person does not have the necessary education and training to make qualified conclusions.

These comments are not based on scholarly deduction, but on Mr. Seidensticker’s opinion. Why does he arrive at this conclusion? He is unqualified and has no credentials to make such statements. He is also an Atheist, who has chosen not to believe that God exists, nor that Jesus is the Messiah.

It is impossible to objectively examine and comment on any subject, when your mind has already determined the conclusion.

Micah 5:2a “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

We notice that this prophecy, written for the Messiah, describes Him as one “coming from everlasting (eternity).” According to Mr. Seidensticker, this was simply a “warrior king who would turn back the Assyrians in 740 B.C.” Obviously any battle that was fought during 740 B.C., was not led by a man who was eternal, for this is a title given only to God. Clearly, as is the case in many Old Testament prophecies, Micah was writing an earlier prophecy for this event in 740 B.C., as well as a later prophecy which was written exclusively for the Messiah, to be fulfilled later, at Jesus birth. We understand this by the full context of the verse, which included the phrase: “Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” This is why it is important to have sufficient knowledge of the things we are speaking of; before we try to make ourselves an instant expert.

It is a common tactic of atheists, agnostics, and critics of the Bible, to make statements similar to this, without any scholarly evidence to support such deductions. It should also be noted that in many of these cases, the actual context of these scriptures are completely ignored (as in this case) and a single verse is removed from the entire body of scripture and used to make a invalid inference.

The reference used by Bob Seidensticker, from Micah 5:2, has been widely endorsed by Biblical Scholars as Messianic. These are men and women who have devoted their entire lives to the close examination and scrutiny of all Biblical text for accuracy; relevancy and application. This scripture from Micah 5:2 has already been thoroughly evaluated for thousands of years, and has been ascribed to the coming Messiah. The only discrepancy between Christians and Jews, is whether Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah who fulfilled this verse of scripture.

We add to this, the testimony of the New Testament writers who saw Jesus and were fully aware that He was born in Bethlehem, and recorded that He had fulfilled this prophecy from Micah 5:2.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old,From everlasting.”

2 Samuel 5:2 Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, “You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’ ”

Matthew combined two Old Testament references for the Messiah, into his one commentary on Jesus fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy.

Matthew 2:1-6 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

Quoting from two different scriptures in one commentary is a common occurrence that happens to the present day. A teacher will quote from memory, a verse of scripture; without actually looking up the verse and include the text from another verse they are also thinking of. Many times I have taught before an audience and a verse of scripture came to my mind and I would quote that verse, including some text from another scripture; as a single commentary. This does not diminish Matthew’s narrative, in fact it lends greater authenticity to the text and confirms that this is a genuine event that actually took place. Those who would seek to fabricate a story, would look up the precise text and make certain that it matched the Old Testament reference. The fact that Matthew combined Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2, is great evidence that the text we have recorded for our posterity, is authentic. Matthew was attributing the event of Jesus birth to an Old Testament prediction, to confirm His identity as the true Messiah.

In the Hebrew translation from Targum Jonathan, the text from Micah 5:2 reads:

“And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth before Me the Messiah, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from before, from the days of creation.”[19]

The Jewish translators of Micah 5:2 clearly believed that this verse was describing the Messiah, as he added the text: “the Messiah.” This is a secondary confirmation of Micah 5:2—in opposition to Mr. Seidensticker’s commentary that this is simply a reference to an event that took place 700 years before Jesus was born. This conclusion is incorrect, and without scholarly support.

Who do we trust?

The question that all thinking people should ask: do we trust Bob Seidensticker, who has a clear bias against all Biblical text, Jesus, and Christianity; or do we trust the Scholars who have spent their lives gaining the necessary education to make valid conclusions about these texts? Mr. Seidensticker has provided for his readers, commentary which has no scholarly support from either Christian or Jewish scholars. Even amongst even Jews who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah; they all support Micah 5:2 as a reference to the coming Messiah.

When Matthew makes reference to Jesus fulfilling the words of Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2, we should trust his testimony.

On equal ground for its support as a valid Messianic prophecy, is the text from Psalms 22:18; “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” The specific details of this fulfillment, by Jesus; are amongst some of the most incredible completions of Messianic prophecy that are found in the Bible. This prophecy is one of 17 that David penned in Psalm 22; clear and compelling evidence for Jesus as the True Messiah. To this empirical evidence, we add the total of 365 prophecies that are the subject of this publication.

Based on the evidence, Jesus is the fulfillment of all 17 prophecies of Psalm 22.


[1] 1.Haub, Carl (November–December 2002). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?” (PDF). Population Today (Population Reference Bureau) 30 (8): 3–4. http://www.prb.org/pdf/PT_novdec02.pdf
2.Haub, Carl (October 2011). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”. Population Reference Bureau.
3.Kuhrt, A. (1995). The Ancient Near East, c. 3000–330 BC. Vol. 2. London: Routledge. p. 695.
[2] 1. Flavius Josephus. The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem. Containing The Interval Of About Three Years. From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus To The Sedition At Cyrene. Book V Chapter 22, sections 1-3.
2. Flavius Josephus. The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem. BOOK VI. Containing The Interval Of About One Month. From The Great Extremity To Which The Jews Were Reduced To The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus.. Book VI. Chapter 1.1.
[3] Quintus Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the Great of Macedonia 4.4.21
[4] http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Appian/Civil_Wars/1*.html#120
[5] Ewing, William A. (1994). The body: photographs of the human form. photograph by Felice Beato. Chronicle Books. p. 250. ISBN 0-8118-0762-2
[6] Moore, Charles Alexander; Aldyth V. Morris (1968). The Japanese mind: essentials of Japanese philosophy and culture. University of Hawaii (Honolulu): University of Hawaii Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-8248-0077-2. OCLC 10329518.
[7] 1.Surat Al-‘A’rāf (The Heights) Surah 7:124, Firaun (Arabic for Pharaoh)
2.Surat Yūsuf (Joseph) Surah 12:41 mentions Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) prophesying that the king (the current ruler of the land he was stranded in) would crucify one of his prisoners.
[8] Baptist Magazine (1815). The Baptist Magazine, Volume 7. London: Button&son. p. 67.
[9] 1.Bourke, Roger (2006). Prisoners of the Japanese: literary imagination and the prisoner-of-war experience. University of Queensland Press. p. 184 n.8. ISBN 978-0-7022-3564-1. OCLC 70257905.
2.”The Crucified Soldier”. Secret History. Season 9. Episode 5. 2002-07-04. Channel 4.
3.Max Hastings, Armageddon: the Battle for Germany 1944–45, ISBN 0-330-49062-1, ISBN 978-0-330-49062-7
[10] Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press 2005 ISBN 978-1-139-44534-4), pp. 37–38
[11] 1””Walking amongst sharp knives”. Karen Women Organization. February 2010.
2.”Regime’s human rights abuses go unpunished”. Bangkok Post. 28 March 2010
[12] 1.Iran’s Islamic Criminal Law, Article 195
2.The Sanctions of the Islamic Criminal Law
[13] Judicial Law on Retaliation, Stoning, Execution, Crucifixion, Hanging and Whipping, section 5, article 24
[14] AP (5 March 2013). “Saudi seven face crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery”. The Guardian.
[15] Chicago Tribune (14 October 1988), “Moslem Code Looms in Sudan”, Amnesty International, Document AFR 54/21/91, Death Penalty Worldwide: Sudan
[16] 1.”Death and desecration in Syria: Jihadist group ‘crucifies’ bodies to send message”. CNN. Associated Press. May 2, 2014
2. “Syrian Islamists Stage Public Crucifixions”. Arutz Sheva. Associated Press. May 1, 2014.
[17] Using the mathematical formulas developed by Dr. Peter Stoner, Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College, 1953-57; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College, and ROBERT C. NEWMAN, S.T.M., Ph.D., Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Cornell University, 1967; S.T.M., Biblical School of Theology, 1972; Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Shelton College, 19689-71; Associate professor of New Testament, Biblical School of Theology, 1971-Science Speaks, by Peter W. Stoner. Copyright © 1958, 1963, 1968 by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Manufactured in the United States of America. All rights reserved. Revised, 1976
[18] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/08/probability-proves-bible-prophecy-or-not/#ixzz35IfaLJ9B
[19] Huckel, T. (1998). The Rabbinic Messiah (Mic 5:2) Philadelphia: Hananeel House.