BIBLIOTHECA SACRA 115 (1958): 320-33

Copyright © 1958 Dallas Theological Seminary. Cited with permission.

  

 

 

Department of

Semitics and Old Testament

 

 

THE SCAPEGOAT OF LEVITICUS SIXTEEN

 

     By Charles L. Feinberg, Th.D., Ph.D.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

It is admitted on all hands that Leviticus 16 is one of

the mountain peaks of the Scriptures. With striking clari-

ty and force the ceremonies and ordinances of the Day of

Atonement are depicted by Moses. Delitzsch has well

called the Day of Atonement the Good Friday of the Old

Testament. No more significant truths could possibly

engage the mind of the believer than those set forth in

this chapter of Leviticus (C. H. Mackintosh, Notes on

Leviticus, pp. 277-302). Mackintosh says: Notes on

rank the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus amongst the most

precious and important sections of inspiration. . . ." (ibid.,

p. 277). The Day of Atonement was the most important

in the Mosaic system, because on that day the removal of

sin was given its highest expression. The situation can

best be explained thus. In Israel many sins were com-

mitted wilfully and unwittingly. For the first kind there

was no sacrifice possible (Ps. 51:16); for the second type

trespass and sin offerings were specified according to

the nature of the offense, when the sinner was aware of

his sin. However, when the sinner remained unaware of

his guilt, no offering was brought and those sins remain-

ed in a sense unaccounted for. If this condition were to be

unrelieved, the sacrificial system would fall short of its

ultimate purpose. To meet this pressing and everpresent

need in Israel the Lord instituted the Day of Atonement

with its impressive ritual (cf. Keil and Delitzsch, The

Pentateuch in Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament,

II, 394-95). Kellogg has stated with clarity: "In it the

sacrificial law of Moses attains its supreme expression;

(320)



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     321

 

the holiness and the grace alike of Israel's God, their

fullest revelation. For the like of the great day of atone-

ment, we look in vain in any other people. If every sacri-

fice pointed to Christ, this most luminously of all. What

the fifty-third of Isaiah is to his Messianic prophecies,

that, we may truly say, is the sixteenth of Leviticus to

the whole system of Mosaic types,--the most consummate

flower of the Messianic symbolism. All the sin-offerings

pointed to Christ, the great High Priest and Victim of

the future; but this. . . with a distinctness found in no

other" (S. H. Kellogg, The Book of Leviticus, p. 272).

At the heart of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement

was the ritual of the sin offering of the two goats. This

ceremony, which is described with such fulness, is never

mentioned again in the Old Testament (E. Langton, Essen-

tials of Demonology, p. 44). As a matter of fact, it has

no parallel in the Mosaic legislation or in the heathen

world. It is unique, most singular, and impressive (Kel-

logg, op. cit., pp. 263, 265). But what the exact meaning

of this ritual was, continues to be one of the most vexing

questions in the exposition of the entire book. The answer

lies in the significance attached to the term" scapegoat"

(from escape goat) or the more accurate, azazel (ibid.,

p. 266. Apart from the etymological discussion later,

diacritical marks will be omitted in the spelling of the

word).

 

THE RITUAL

Only one person ministered in the priestly office on the

Day of Atonement, Aaron himself. Bathed and properly

attired (v. 4), he took the designated offerings. "And he

shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel

two he-goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-

offering. And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-

offering, which is for himself, and for his house. And he

shall take the two goats, and set them before Jehovah at

the door of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots

upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot



322                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat upon which

the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering.

But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall he set

alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send

him away for Azazel into the wilderness" (Lev. 16:5-10,

ASV, margin of which reads “removal" for "Azazel”).

The bullock of the sin offering Aaron offered for himself

and his house; in the incense-filled holy of holies he

sprinkled of the blood of the bullock on the mercy seat

seven times, an indication of complete atonement. The

goat for the Lord was then slain, and the same ritual

was carried out with its blood in the holiest of all, this

time for the sins of the children of Israel. After the

sacrifice of the first goat, Aaron laid both his hands on

the head of the live goat, confessing over him the sins

and transgressions of Israel. Then the goat was sent

away into the wilderness by a man ready for the occasion.

Aaron alone had witnessed atonement in the innermost

sanctuary; now he must set it forth in another manner.

In order to leave no doubt that sin had been taken away,

there must be a removal of it which all Israel could wit-

ness (Andrew A. Bonar, A Commentary on the Book of

Leviticus, p. 311). It is basic to our entire discussion to

realize that the two goats together constituted one sin-

offering. Verse 5 of our chapter leaves the matter beyond

dispute (R. Govett, The Scapegoat, p. 4). Analogous to

this ritual was the one with the two birds (Lev. 14:4 ff.)

in the purification of the leper. The Talmudic Tractate

Yoma (6:4) reveals the great popularity of the goat ritual.

The people cried, "Take (them) and get out" (according

to this Talmudic portion the goat was ultimately pushed

over the cliff).

Some scholars seek to find the origins of the ritual

among Israel's pagan neighbors. Albright feels that "In

order to obtain a clear perspective for Deutero-Isaiah's

concept of vicarious suffering, a brief survey of pertinent

germinal conceptions and of the development of belief

in theodicy is necessary. Among these germinal concepts

may be noted in the first place the wide-spread primitive

custom of charging some object, animal, or person with



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     323

 

the sin or suffering of a group, after which the object,

animal, or person is sacrificed or driven away in order

to carry the sin and suffering of men away with it . . .

The Hebrew ceremony of the 'scapegoat for Azazel'

may perhaps have had a Canaanite origin. Sumerians

and Babylonians also believed that man was created by

the sacrifice of a god or gods, who were killed that man

might live" (W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to

Christianity, p. 252; cf. J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough,

p. 540, for the transference of evil to goats and other

animals. On scapegoats in general--although he does not

treat the Biblical material--compare Frazer's work, pp.

574-77, and his extended material in The Scapegoat.). If

one finds the origin of the ritual in these sources, his

interpretation of the entire transaction and the parties

involved will inevitably be colored thereby. We may admit

outward similarities among other peoples, but the ob-

jective of Moses, and the Spirit of God behind him, was

entirely different. At the most, the practices of the

heathen can be explained as perversions of an objective

originating in the mind of God alone.

The manner in which the regulations for the scapegoat

were carried out in Israel, is of interest to the Bible

student. When the Second Temple was in existence, the

two goats chosen had to be alike in value, in size, and of

the same color. The lot which was to decide the goat for

the Lord and that for Azazel, consisted of two small

tablets of box or ebony wood, later of gold, kept in a

wooden chest. On one tablet were inscribed the words,

"For Yahweh" and on the other, "For Azazel." After

shaking the chest, the high priest put his hands into the

urn and drew out both tablets, one in each hand. The

tablet in his right hand was placed on the goat at his

right, while that in his left hand was laid on the goat at

his left (C. D. Ginsburg, Leviticus, pp.149-50). Josephus

makes mention of the ceremony in this statement: "And

besides these, they bring two kids of the goats; the one of

which is sent alive out of the limits of the camp into the

wilderness for the scape goat, and to be an expiation for

the sins of the whole multitude" (F. Josephus, Antiquities



324                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

 

 

of the Jews, Book 3,10,3; the statement is noncommittal

as to the problems involved in the ceremony). It must not

be overlooked that this is the only passage in the Bible

where the significance of the imposition of hands on the

head of an animal is clearly explained as the symbolical

transference of the people's sins to the victim (R.

Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and D. Brown, Commentary,

I, 480). As for the conclusion of the ritual Volck informs

us: "According to the Talmudic tractate, Yoma, the high

priest, knew by a sort of telegraphic communication be-

tween Jerusalem and the wilderness,--the waving of

cloths by set watchers, at regular distances,--whether

and when the goat arrived in the wilderness, as was

necessary, for the other sacrifices were not to be offer-

ed until it arrived there (Lev. 16:23-24)" (W. Volck,

"Azazel," in Schaff-Herzog, Encyclopedia of Religious

Knolwedge, I, 183). That the goat was accompanied by

someone and was led to a desert place was meant to show

that there was absolutely no possibility for its return.

Thus the guilt of the nation was symbolically forgiven and

carried away. All this was executed with a manifest

objectivity difficult to forget (W. Moeller, "Azazel," in

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I, 344).

Any explanation of the ritual must necessarily incor-

porate three basic facts. First, both of the goats, as

already stated, are called "a sin-offering," a term ap-

plicable to the one as well as to the other. Secondly, the

live goat was as much dedicated and set apart to the Lord

as the sacrificial goat. No interpretation of the facts

relative to the second goat dares to overlook that it is

meant for the use of the Lord. Most explanations ignore

this significant factor. Finally, the live goat was meant to

picture to Israel the complete removal of their transgres-

sions from the presence of the Lord (S. H. Kellogg, op.

cit., p. 266).

 

ETYMOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

This phase of our subject will not detain us long,

because all students of the Scripture readily admit that

 



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     325

 

the etymology of the word ‘az’azel is obscure (E. Langton,

op. cit., p. 44. F. W. Grant, Numerical Bible, I, 341,

states: "Azazel is mere adoption of the Hebrew word,

as to the meaning and application of which there have

been so many different thoughts, that some are content

to leave it as an insoluble enigma."). The French

translation is "pour Azazel" which is a transliteration of

the Hebrew term. Luther renders it "der ledige Bock"

(the free goat). The Aramaic Targum Onkelos on Levi-

ticus reproduces the Hebrew exactly. It has been sug-

gested that the word is probably for 'azalzel in the sense

of removal, to be related to the Arabic' azala, to remove.

The difficulty is increased, because the name occurs

nowhere else in Hebrew. In the Syriac version it is pro-

nounced 'azazail, and interpreted by the lexicographers

as a name for the archangel Michael (E. Nestle, "Azazel"

in J. Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, II,

283). In the discussion below other etymologies will be

given as they are related to various interpretations as to

the identity of Azazel.

 

A PLACE

 

The word" Azazel" has been variously interpreted,

both impersonally and personally. It has been explained,

as a place, a thing, a person, and an abstraction. If a

special spot was intended, that place would have served a

very limited purpose for a people constantly on the march,

as Israel was during the years of the wilderness wander-

ings (F. Meyrick, Pulpit Commentary, II, 239-40). The

Talmud explains, "Azazel means the hardest of the moun-

tains" (Yoma, 67 b; cf. M. Jastrow, A Dictionary of the

Targumim, II, 1060, col. 2, who explains the term as "a

rough and rocky mountain"). A solitary place in the

desert or a distinct locality in the wilderness has been

suggested, but this interpretation is not tenable, because

constant change in campings was surely taken into con-

sideration when the regulations of Leviticus 16 were given.

No specific place or locality has been offered by any advo-



326                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

 

cates of this view (Westminster Dictionary of the Bible

p. 52; cf. W. Moeller, op. cit., p. 343).

 

A THING

 

There are many who favor the position that Azazel

refers to a thing, specifically, the live goat or the escape

goat. According to some authorities, the Azazel of Levit-

icus 16 is to be classed with demonic animals. T. K.

Cheyne has come forward with an elaborate theory which

explains that the object of the ritual, partially at least, was

to do a way with the cultus of the impersonal and dangerous

se 'irim, mentioned in Leviticus 17:7; Isaiah 13:21; 34:14

(Encyclopedia Biblica, I, col. 394 ff.; with this S. R. Driver

agrees; cf. J. Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible I, 207;

E. Langton, op. cit., p. 46). The view is said to be sup-

ported by the form of the name, supposedly altered from

zz’ l ("God strengthens") to its Biblica1 form ‘z’ zl (goat

departs). The Vulgate renders the term caper emissarius,

and, as has been seen, Luther offers "der ledige Bock."

It is possible, however, that these renderings intend only

to give the sense of the context instead of a translation of

the word azazel (W. Moeller, op. cit., p. 343). The second

goat has on occasion been called hircus redivivus. Bonar,

after discussing objections to rendering azazel as scape-

goat (a translation which he favors), says: "If the clause,

'the one lot for the Lord,’ intimate that the goat is appro-

priated to a person, so should the next clause, 'the other

lot for . . . Azazel,' also signify appropriation to a

person. But the answer to this is, that the proper sense

is not appropriation to, or designation for, persons. The

proper sense is designation for use, viz., the one for the

purpose of being killed at the Lord’s altar; the other

the purpose of being sent away to the wilderness" (A.

Bonar, op. cit., p. 303; italics by Bonar). With the ex-

position of the LXX, the mediate Greek versions of

Symmachus, Aquila, and Theodotion, the Vulgate, Luther's

version, and the King James version, Meyrick favors the

interpretation that makes azazel the live goat.  Says he:



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     327

 

“The interpretation is founded on sound etymological

grounds, it suits the context wherever the word occurs, it

is consistent with the remaining ceremonial of the Day of

Atonement, and it accords with the otherwise known relig-

ious beliefs and symbolical practices of the Israelites. The

two goats were the single sin offering for the people; the

one that was offered in sacrifice symbolized atonement or

covering made by shedding of blood, the other symbolized

the utter removal of the sins of the people, which were

conveyed away and lost in the depths of the wilderness,

whence there was no return. . . . The eighth verse

should be translated as it stands in the Authorized Ver-

sion, or, if we ask for still greater exactness, And Aaron

shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord,

and one lot for the remover of sins” (F. Meyrick, op. cit.,

pp. 239-40; italics by Meyrick).

Is this interpretation tenable? Buxtorf in his Hebrew

Lexicon derived the word from 'ez a goat, and ‘azal, to

depart. Thus he referred it to the goat itself. This is

scarcely possible when the goat itself is sent to Azazel.

It is Ginsburg who has the sufficient answer to this posi-

tion. He states: "The rendering, scapegoat, is contrary

to the manifest antithesis of the verse. . . the translation

scapegoat cannot be admitted in the next verse but one,

where, if adopted, it would literally be 'to send the goat

to the scapegoat in the wilderness' (see v. 10), or in verse

26, where it is, 'and he who taketh away the goat to the

scapegoat' " (C. D. Ginsburg, op. cit., pp.150-51). This

rendering, too, is inadmissable.

 

A PERSON

 

The majority of the expositors, both orthodox and

liberal, prefer to understand Azazel as a person. How-

ever, there is no agreement as to what person is meant.

It has been said: "After Satan, for whom he was is some

degree a preparation, Azazel enjoys the distinction of

being the most mysterious extrahuman character in

sacred literature. Unlike other Hebrew proper names,

the name itself is obscure" (Jewish Encyclopedia, II, 365).



328                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

 

One view takes the goat as a personification of wickedness

in contrast with the righteousness of God. The rite is thus

said to resemble somewhat the vision of Zechariah (Zech.

5:6-11; Jewish Encyclopedia, II, 366). From the concept

of personified wickedness it was easy to move on to the

idea of a person generally feared, and even further, to

the thought of the head of the supernatural beings of the

desert (ibid., pp. 366-67). A number of lexicons define

the name as that of an evil spirit (Gesenius-Buhl, Lexi-

con; German, S.V.: "Wahrscheinlich bezeichnet er einen

in der Wueste hausenden boesen Geist." E. Koenig, Lexi-

con; German, S.V.: "boesen Geist, der als in der Wueste

hausend gedacht wurde. . . .").

In the apocryphal Book of I Enoch 6:7; 9:6; 10:4-6,

Azazel is portrayed as the leader of the fallen angels.

In the Apocalypse of Abraham he is an unclean bird,

which is the embodiment of ungodliness. He is supposed

to have been one of the sons of God mentioned in Genesis

6:1 ff. As the leader of the rebels in the time before the

flood, he taught men how to wage war, he instructed them

in the art of making swords, knives, shields, and coats of

mail, and he revealed to women the art of deception by

ornamenting the body, dyeing their hair, and painting the

face and eyebrows. He disclosed to the people the secrets

of witchcraft, leading them astray into wickedness and

immorality. Finally, at the command of God he was bound

hand and foot by the archangel Raphael, and chained to the

rough rocks where he awaits in darkness the day of judg-

ment (the place in the desert where he is cast is designat-

ed Dudael; on the day of judgment he will be cast into the

fire. Cf. Jewish Encyclopedia, II, 366. Also R. H. Charles,

ed., Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, II, 191, 193-194.).

Because Azazel occupied a place in Mandaean, Sabean,

and Arabian mythology, it has been maintained that it is

probable that Azazel was a degraded Babylonian deity

(Jewish Encyclopedia, II, 366). Too often students of the

Old Testament are satisfied to equate features of the

Old Testament with the religion and mythology of Israel's

pagan neighbors. The pages of the Old Testament are

strikingly free of any trace of pagan mythology (G. E.



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     329

 

Wright, Biblical Archaeology, pp. 102-3). In this di-

rection the meaning of the ritual of the live goat cannot

be gleaned.

A large number of Bible scholars feel that Azazel is

simply a demon whose habitat was in the desert and who

predated the Mosaic religion. He is to be classed with

the se ‘irim or satyrs, the worship of whom was express-

ly forbidden (Lev. 17:7). Those who favor the view argue

that the ritual does not contradict Leviticus 17:7, because

Azazel played only a passive part in the ceremony.

Cheyne, as already seen, supposed that the objective of

the ritual of the Day of Atonement was to give the people

a visible evidence of the removal of their sins, and to

abolish the cultus of the ‘irim (Encyclopedia Biblica,

I, col. 394 ff.; other relevant Scriptures are 2 Chron.

11:15; Isa. 13:21; 34:14). There is no instance in the

Old Testament where God abolished one unlawful practice

by the substitution for it of another unlawful ceremony.

This is contrary to the genius of the entire Old Testament.

Heinisch reasons for this position thus: "But since Azazel

was given a goat he must have been regarded as a personal

being; and since the sins of the people were consigned to

him, a demon. He stands opposed to Yahweh as Satan

does in Job 1 and 2 and the serpent in Genesis 3. Because

the people thought that demons dwelt in desert places, the

scape goat was driven out into the wilderness. And because

it was a goat that was given to Azazel, Azazel was be-

lieved to be goatlike in form similar to the Se 'irim.

Animal sacrifices necessarily required the sprinkling of

blood, a fact which would exclude the notion that the

scapegoat was a sacrifice to Azazel; besides the law had

condemned such practice" (P. Heinisch, Theology of the

Old Testament, p.137; this is the position of G. F. Oehler,

Theology of the Old Testament, p. 159, although he also

favors an identification with Satan, p. 450).

Many interpreters have followed Origen's identification

of Azazel with Satan (Contra Celsum, 6:43). Since the one

referred to as Azazel is an antagonist of the Lord, it is

claimed he must be the devil (R. Govett, op. cit., p. 7;

cf. Encyclopedia Biblica, I, 395-96; S. H. Kellogg, op.



330                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

 

cit., pp. 269-70--who explains the ritual as a sending

of the goat to Satan to announce symbolically that he

has no power over forgiven Israel; C. D. Ginsburg, op.

cit., pp. 150-51; Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit., p. 398;

Nestle, op. cit., p. 283, is sure that "if one reads Lev.

16 with an open mind, the impression is that Azazel

must be a being related to Jahweh in something of the

same way as Ahirman to Ormazd, or Satan--Beelzebub--

to God"). If one were to judge the case before us on

the basis of the number of eminent expositors favoring

this view, the position now under consideration would

carry the argument. But Biblical matters are not de-

cided by a counting of aye votes. Is this view consis-

tent with the general testimony of the Scriptures? There

are weighty arguments against taking Azazel as a name

for Satan. It cannot be shown that the name Azazel oc-

curs in the Old Testament as the name of Satan or any

evil spirit for that matter. There is proof that a Jewish

belief in the existence of a demon called Azazel reaches

back to the days of Moses. The rabbis themselves are

for from agreement in assigning the name to Satan,

many of them rejecting it on traditional grounds (S. H.

Kellogg, op. cit., p. 266; cf. Volck, op. cit., p. 183).

Another cogent argument against this interpretation is

that the goat can have nothing whatever to do with Satan,

for the Scriptures state clearly that the live goat, equally

with the sacrificial goat, was a sin offering to the Lord.

The first goat set forth the means of reconciliation with

God, whereas the second goat represented the effect of

the sacrifice in removing the sins from the presence of

the holy God, thus illustrating Psalm 103:12 and Micah

7:19 in a striking manner (Kellogg, loc. cit.). Meyrick

has marshalled pertinent evidence against the view that

Satan is referred to. He argues: "The objections to

the theory that azazel means an evil spirit are of over-

whelming force. It will be enough to name the following.

1. The name azazel is nowhere else mentioned. This

could not be, if he were so important a being as to divide

with Jehovah the sin offering of the congregation of Israel

on the great Day of Atonement. 2. No suitable etymology

 



The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     331

 

can be discerned. The nearest approach to it is very

forced--'the separated one.' 3. The notion of appeasing,

or bribing, or mocking the evil spirit by presenting to

him a goat, is altogether alien from the spirit of the rest

of the Mosaic institutions. Where else is there anything

like it? 4. The goat is presented and offered to Jehovah

equally with the goat which is slain. To take that which

has been offered (and therefore half sacrificed) to God

and give it to Satan, would be a daring impiety, which is

inconceivable" (E. Meyrick, op. cit., pp. 239-40). We

cannot but agree with the position that "it cannot appear

otherwise than strange that, in the most sacred rite of

the old covenant, Satan should be so formally recognised

as, according to this view, he must have been; that he

should there be recognised under a name which suggests

a quite different idea concerning him than that under

which he is elsewhere presented; and that, notwithstand-

ing he was so publicly and so regularly associated with

this name, it should never again be employed as a per-

sonal designation" (McClintock and Strong, IX, 398; for

this same position se O. T. Allis, "Leviticus," in New

Bible Commentary, p. 149).

Now, since the view that makes Azazel a place leaves

it ambiguous and indefinite as to location, and since the

position that it refers to the live goat itself confuses the

passage in Leviticus 16, and since the theory that inter-

prets it of a person--an evil spirit, a degraded deity, a

fallen angel, a demon, or Satan--dishonors the Scriptures

and degrades the Old Testament religious institutions,

it is imperative that we seek for a solution to the problem

in another direction.

 

AN ABSTRACTION

 

Could Azazel refer to an abstraction or an abstract

idea? Brown-Driver-Briggs gives this definition: “en

tire removal (redupl. intens.). From ‘zlAr. ‘zl

remove, n. pr. of spirit haunting desert, entire removal

of sin and guilt from sacred places into desert on back

of goat, symb. of entire forgiveness" (Lexicon, p. 736).

 



332                 Bibliotheca Sacra October, 1958

To regard this word as signifying dismissal or removal

(as in the ASV and ERV margins) would preserve the

concept of the escape goat, although it would avoid the

pitfall of equating Azazel with the live goat which is not

possible, as we have already seen above (Westminster

Dictionary of the Bible, p. 52). Moeller favors the con-

cept of removal on the basis of the wording of the LXX,

apopompaios, diestalmenos, and the renderings of the

Aquila and Symmachus (W. Moeller, op. cit., pp. 342 f.)

This view is splendidly expressed by Meyrick in these

words: "That la-azazel means 'for removal' is the

opinion of Baehr, Tholuck, Winer, and others. There is

nothing objectionable in this interpretation, but the form

of the word azazel points rather to an agent than to an

abstract act (the refutation of this statement follows in

the latter part of his own quotation). Azazel is a word

softened (according to a not unusual custom) from azalzel,

just as kokav is a softened form of kav-kav, and as Babel

is derived from Balbel (Gen. xi. 9). Azalzel is an active

participle or participial noun, derived ultimately from

azal (connected with the Arabic word azala, and meaning

removed), but immediately from the reduplicate form of

that verb, azazal. The reduplication of the consonants of

the root in Hebrew and Arabic gives the force of repeti-

tion, so that while azal means removed, azalzal means

removed by repetition of acts. Azalzel, or azazel, there-

fore, means one who removes by a series of acts. . . .

'It properly denotes one that removes or separates; yet

a remover in such sort that the removal is not effected

by a single act or at one moment, but by a series of minor

acts tending to and issuing in a complete removal. No

word could better express the movement of the goat before

the eyes of the people, as it passed on, removing at each

step, in a visible symbol, their sins further and further

from them, until, by continued repetition of the move-

ment, they were carried far away and removed utterly'

(Sir W. Martin, Semitic Languages)" (F. Meyrick, op.

cit., pp. 239-40). This position has more to commend

it by a process of elimination. Thus, the conclusion is

this: Both goats were a sin offering to the Lord; one


 


The Scapegoat of Leviticus 16                     333

 

was sacrificed, whereas the other was sent off into the

wilderness to convey visibly and strikingly the truth of

complete removal and dismissal. The escape goat does

not represent Christ any more than it stands for Satan.

That which was symbolized by both goats pointed to the

finished work of Christ on Calvary. Blessed be our

sufficient Sin Offering.

 

Los Angeles, California

 

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:

            Dallas Theological Seminary

            3909 Swiss Ave.

            Dallas, TX   75204

www.dts.edu

Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu