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This might be a dumb question..

I was reading the source code for tables and I happened to bump into a concept that has always been somewhat obscure to me: table boundaries.

Are there any hidden usefulness for this?  I kinda find them a little confuse, and haven´t yet found a logical explanation for their behaviour:
a = {1, 2, 3, 4}

a[9] = 9

print(#a) -- prints 4

a[8] = 8

print(#a) -- prints 9

Isn´t it confusing?

Luís E. Jason Santos